The Power of Language

            As the Self-Expression and Leadership Program I coached completed early this month, I was deeply aware of the power of language. The kinds of things people achieve in the program are incredible, and it all happens through words.
            The design of the program is such that each participant creates a community project. One of my participants conceptualized and executed a marketing seminar, the proceeds of which went to tsunami relief for Japan. Another participant is saving a theatre in Venice. Another is writing a T.V. pilot with the intention of creating jobs in the film industry and ultimately affecting young girls’ body image. Another is putting together a concert to benefit a food bank in his area. And that’s just my -extremely incredible- group. Other participants’ projects range from sending a thousand pairs of new shoes to people in Mexico who may never have owned shoes (Mil Zapatos) to throwing a surprise party for a grandmother in her nineties. No, she didn’t have a heart attack. She was thoroughly honored and could hardly believe everyone had gone to so much trouble and showed up for her.
            The ultimate dream behind my project is that artists everywhere are doing what they love and making a living that way. Out of coaching the program, my Los Angeles writers’ group has expanded by eight members. Last week we had a great meeting with new members and a few people we hadn’t seen in a while. At least two members of my groups have submitted to at least 10 literary journals. I’ve completed the rough draft of my novel and begun revising – I had a productive critique of the chapter one revision at the meeting last week.
            All of this happens with the power of words. We affect each other, and our own lives, by what we create in our language. I can only hope my writing will affect my readers so powerfully.

Pictured are cards I made for my participants, fellow coaches, and program leaders. For each person I chose a word or two describing who they are for me. It is truly their taking on and fully being those things that exemplifies the power of words.

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