Change Your World with Your Words

This is  me at three.  Big teeth.  Big smile.  Bad hair. . . .some things never change!

One thing that did change, however, was my perception of the world.   I was only three or four when I first learned that my words can have a powerful effect.

My mother had brought me to work to meet her boss and coworkers.  One look at her boss and I was in awe.  She was just about the ugliest woman I had ever seen—long pointy chin, hooked nose, dark, bushy eyebrows over beady eyes.

I blurted out, “Mommy!  She looks like the Wicked Witch of the West!”   Suddenly, there was complete silence.  Wow.  I had made quite an impression!

My mother turned to me, with a pleading look, and said,  “Diane, don’t you mean, Glenda the Good Witch?”

Hello?  Did my mother just lose her mind?

“No. Glenda was pretty!”

Fortunately, my mother’s boss started laughing and all was well.

Over the years, I learned that words—my words—other people’s words—can be incredibly powerful.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt, at the height of the Great Depression

“We shall fight them on the beaches.”–Winston Churchill, when Great Britain stood alone against the tyranny of the Nazi onslaught

“I have a dream.” –Martin Luther King, Jr., laying the building blocks for civil rights legislation

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” –Jesus Christ, The Sermon on the Mount

These are powerful words that changed the world!

Your words may not change the world on such a large scale, but your words can change your world and have a lasting impact on those around you.

For example, when we adopted our youngest child, Yuri at age 12 from Russia,  almost 6 years ago, words were especially important as both my husband and I had to prepare 10-minute speeches to deliver in front of the judge—speeches that had to be translated as we spoke–speeches that would determine if the judge would allow us to adopt Yuri.  I even had to convince the judge that we weren’t adopting Yuri just to be slave labor. Those words were indeed powerful, life-changing words.

Maybe I didn’t change the world with those words, but I did change Yuri’s world.  I changed my world.

Are you changing your world with your words?

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About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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