There’s a Whole Lot in a Word

Good communication inspires, encourages, challenges, entertains…
or at the very least, gets a point across.

Great communication makes you wrestle.

Wrestle with an idea, your thoughts, an emotion… it matters not the topic: great communicators get under your skin & inside your head, and cause you to wrestle with something, leaving you changed.

Last week I wrote the post What’s in a Word? and no sooner had the “publish” button been pressed, than I started wrestling with my own words now floating through the interwebs. Not in disagreement with what I had written, I simply felt that a piece of the puzzle wasn’t sitting in its place. The picture was incomplete. So I wrestled – all week – to flesh out what I loved, what I had gotten wrong, what had gone amiss.

Black & white?

We love black & white – it makes us feel safe & secure. Clean lines. Boundaries. Fence lines to keep out & protect. But life is all kinds of grey, and the beauty of nuance colours our lives with far more than 50 shades of grey.


Nuance. The missing piece of the puzzle. Ashamedly so.

Indulge me, will you, as I add a nuanced post script – a few shades of grey to colour in the lines of black & white.

Let’s be brave enough to commit to being ruthless with ideas, and kind with people.
Let’s be big enough to know the difference.

So what does that actually look like?
It sounds simple & even has a good go at being clever, but perhaps some more language might be helpful.
Not in the form of answers, but questions:

If I am going to be ruthless with ideas and kind with people, have I first started with the ideas residing within myself? To which of my ideas won’t I invite scrutiny?

Am I contending FOR an idea, or just against one – an idea which others may still have their identity tied to?

What is my motivation for contending for this particular idea? Am I motivated by fear, or by love? For the good of humanity, or by my ego?

If I decide to contend for this idea, can I do it without damaging the heart of another person or breaking relationship with them?

Will I be able to articulate my idea without disparaging someone’s identity?

How am I going to present this idea so that the delivery builds up everyone in the conversation?

What have I placed at the centre of the conversation: the idea or the person? Am I more committed to the person, or to the idea?

Am I committed to peace, or to being right? Do my words reflect that?

What else would you add? What shade of grey would you like to see in the arena?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments – let’s have a conversation!



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