The power of words is unbelievable, isn’t it? As a parent, I strive every day to teach my children the power of their words; as a friend, I have learned that the right words at the right time can be life-altering; and as a creative writer, I know that a company’s entire image, brand and promise can often delicately hinge on the words we choose.
The saying, “choose your words wisely” obviously rings true to me and I think my dear friend, the late Gus Whalen, understood that as much as anyone I have ever known. He was an amazing communicator with the power of words that could keep you on the edge of your seat waiting and wanting to hear what he would say next. From commonplace advice to spot-on analogies and quotation references, when you spoke with Gus, you could tell that each and every word was carefully thought through and wisely predetermined before ever spoken.
One of my favorite “Gusisms” is in his book, “Hooked at the Roots,” where he poetically and masterfully crafts an analogy between the strength of a community and the mighty Sequoia trees in California. Did you know these giant trees have roots no larger than three feet long, but they live in colonies (communities) of other Sequoias and hook together at the roots to grow and thrive to more than 310 feet tall and have lived to be 3,200 years old? Yes, please take a pause to ponder those facts.
And all of a sudden, being rooted in a community takes on an entirely different meaning. You see, words can make you think, can make you feel, can change the course of a life.
WOW, at the power of words and what an honor and responsibility the team at Forum takes on each and every day for our clients, a responsibility we do not take lightly. As I pause to remember the life of a great friend, I think it would please him to know that his legacy lives on, he is still inspiring thought and his words will carry on and not be forgotten.
I will leave you with one of Gus’s favorite thoughts from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
This is something we strive to do each and every day at Forum; may I challenge you today to do the same! As Gus asked enthusiastically, “what’s next in your life?”