The Power of Words

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012

This is a copy of my June 2012 newsletter. If you would like to sign up please add your name to the sign-up box over in the right hand column.


Fun fact: I have moved over 40 times in the past six years.
Truth: I am still not very good at it.

Some people believe that the key to life is learning to embrace change. I have found this approach works great up until the very moment something is about to, or has just, changed. Then, I’m not always so embrace-ful.


As a writer, I have always been fascinated by the subtle and powerful effect that words have. For example, the word “change” usually elicits more fear than excitement in most people. Here is a test to find out if this is true for you. Imagine your boss or a loved one came up to you right now and said, “Things are about to change.” Would you feel more excited, or apprehensive? For most of us, it is the latter. Yet the interesting thing is that words are neutral. Somewhere along the way WE have placed them in categories and created associations such as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ for example. The same thing often happens with food.


Now consider the word trade. For most people, the word trade has less emotion associated with it. It is not as likely to elicit the same fear-based response.


More importantly, when we focus on a trade, we usually focus on what we have NOW. It’s about what we are receiving. When we focus on a change we often focus on what we had THEN. It’s usually about what we have lost.


Is it just semantics? Perhaps. But it works.


For example when I focus on everything that has changed in the past month it can be overwhelming. I moved across the country, had a birthday, and began preparing for a new job. However when I look for the trades that have transpired, I realize I simply traded the west coast for the east coast, sunsets on the beach for sunrises, being 32 for being 33, and one great source of employment for another. In this light, it’s not so bad. In fact, it is actually exciting.


What trades are you making right now? What are you gaining as a result of these recent shifts? Can you see the gift that lies inside? Feel free to drop a line and let me know.


With love,


  1. I love this! “Change” is simply trade in disguise :). Thanks for this Pam!

  2. Yes- what a great way to put it, Ariane! Love it.

  3. Love it. Amazing stuff Pam ! You are expanding my thinking 🙂
    TG (Playing big)

  4. Agree with Ariane! Change is trade is a very useful reframe.

    • I’m glad you find it helpful, Jennifer!

  5. Love this, Pam! What a difference a single word can make. Powerful!

    • Thank you, Juli. Sometimes the small things can have such a big impact!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *