I was sitting at the outdoor lobby of Pioneer Plaza when a man approached me and introduced himself. He said, “You may not remember me, but more than twenty years ago, I attended one of your classes at the Chamber of Commerce. You told me, in front of everyone, that I seemed ‘leader-like.’ No one had ever told me that before. I treasured those words and wanted to live up to that image. I started out small, leading a short-term work project. Over the years I gained confidence and took on bigger leadership roles. I eventually became the president of my Rotary Club and now I run my own printing company with several employees. So, if you ever wonder if you make a difference, know that you do.”
He warmly shook my hand and departed.
I share this story, not to praise myself, but to affirm that our words have incredible power. The adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is simply not true. Words can hurt. Words can help. Words matter.