Speaker, Author, Consultant, Fraud Examiner

“Come up with a word or two that encapsulates who you are as a person.”

We were given a seemingly simple task, but the processes turned out to be surprisingly difficult.

Paper Napkin Marketing has created a unique, thought-provoking campaign that reaches out and unites social groups into a collective whole. Sponsored by RevenueWell at the 2018 AADOM conference, the I Am campaign encouraged its 250 participants to pick one or two words they felt described themselves and then to boldly proclaim those words by writing them on their bodies. Some chose to write their words on their arms, others on their hands, head, chest, or legs, all declaring their words and themselves to the world.

There were giggles, there was outright boisterous belly laughing, and there were even tears as the attendees shared the meanings behind their I Am statements to those writing the words on their bodies. As a speaker, I was given the opportunity and honor to help the attendees if they were struggling to find their word, and then write their words where they so chose.

Healed.  Blessed.  Courageous.  Honest.  Bold.  Thankful.  Kind.

Some participants were truly perplexed by the experiment and could not think of their word(s). I asked them what their friends would say about them. What is it about them that their friends love and respect? What makes them unique? What thread is constant in their life? The most rewarding part of the encounters was to see their eyes lift from a thinking level and transform to a smile as their hearts grabbed and owned their word.

Loyal.  Survivor.  Dedicated.  Reliable.  Authentic.  Capable.

After their writings, they were photographed and recorded themselves explaining the meanings behind their words. Each attendee was given an I Am button to write their word and wear for the remainder of the convention. It was a point of connection throughout the days, with lots of hugs, happy smiles, and heartfelt bonding.

We had time to contemplate our words ahead of the conference, and it became one of the conversations had over lunch before the conference. It is a soul-searching contemplation to define who you are in a word or two. The challenge, however, is 100% worth it.

Colorful.  Inspired.  Fearless.  Integrity.  Balanced.  Caring.  Inquisitive.

We know our shortcomings, most often by our failures or by having them pointed out to us.

I’ll be honest, I have heard myself called many words throughout my life, many of the words not encouraging. Too many words were negative definitions that squashed future potential.

On top of already navigating other complicated factors, such as ADD, those ingrained negative I Ams tainted the possibilities. I think that is why it was so hard to choose my own words.

I know who I am but to broadcast it in such a public forum? To say it out loud? That thought alone was daunting.

Unique.  Healed.  Transformed.  Fierce.  Brave.  Listener.  Purpose Driven.

At my National Speaker’s Association Convention the week prior, one speaker emphasized being an authentic speaker, to be natural, and to not put anything “on” that does not feel right. Those words resounded in my head as I was contemplating “my word.”

What one word truly and positively defines me?

These words have power. Once said out loud, the bearer of the word empowers themselves to fearlessly own whatever it is that makes them unique, standing with this word.

Complete.  Direct.  Grateful.  Truthful.  Sweet (LOL).  Passionate.

Those were some of the words that came to mind or were said of me, but still, none met my heart’s thoughts.

A long time ago, I heard a word that resonated with me: heterotelic. Spell check tells me it is not a word, but I am here to tell you it is.

Proclaiming heterotelic as my word lead to different reactions ranging from conversation starter to head-tilter and eye roller.

Heterotelic means having the purpose of existence or occurrence apart from itself. My loose interpretation means I exist for a purpose beyond my own selfishness. Heterotelic means life is not about me but about everyone I encounter in my life. Not many knew what I meant, and there were quite a few questions, but as soon as it popped into my head, I knew it was MY word.

The I Am experience was truly a moment in time to remember, as we watched 250 people in the dental industry not only connect, but form lasting bonds. It was a fantastic way to own who we are and create a visual reminder.

Is the campaign changing the world?  It just may be….one word at a time.  Click here to watch AADOM’s video.

I Am Heterotelic!  What can I do for you?

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