Turning Words Into Meanings

Imagine yourself standing in an art gallery conversing about the paintings on the wall.

What does your discussion look like if you use only the word “paint”? Envision the same discussions when you know about acrylics, watercolour, oil, and tempera.

Or maybe you’re speaking with a craftsman about the custom furniture you have long dreamed of being built. He’s using words like pine, maple, walnut and teak and all you know is “wood”.


A single word has as many nuances in meaning as there are people using the word. We can argue sharing the same opinion and agree holding different points of view.

When we dig deeper we lay the foundation to see the world, ourselves and each other in a different way. We open ourselves to new ways of being together. We become aware of what we couldn’t see before and find clarity where we were once confused.


Fear is one word to start digging into first because of the power it wields over us.

Once upon a time fear would stop us in our tracks as a sign of imminent danger. In recent years, the opposite became true -fear is now something to forge full steam ahead through.


Is one right and the other wrong? What if there was more to the picture than either or?

When we step back to dive more deeply into the fear we were feeling, we begin to see fear isn’t so black and white after all.

Here’s one possible scenario:

Paths Into Fear

Fear can mean

Danger: Standing at the edge of a cliff summoning up the courage to the next step, fear is clearly a warning of self-preservation. The message is clear: fear = danger.

A Signal: Less obvious is fear as a signal. If limited means exist to grab your attention, fear works extremely well. You are sending yourself a message to step back and evaluate the situation – is this the direction you really want to head? There’s no imminent danger, but a longer path may be ahead or things to unwind by continuing on. Remembering what you already know or exploring further is in order.

Pushing Boundaries: Boundaries are even trickier because they come in all shapes and sizes.  A clearer understanding of the edge being stretched helps to hone in on the source rather than addressing a symptom not causing the problem.


What appeared so simple on the surface reveals many more facets to consider with just a bit of poking around. The richness of clarity lies above and beneath. Face value is only that.

When you feel unsure or apt to say “I don’t know”, consider having received an invitation to start asking questions and dis cover what is there.

Next is a list of questions followed by tips to help you explore.



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Lorraine Watson - on rustic porch

chief nudging officer


Crazy for cats and potatoes, Lorraine's insatiable curiosity of Life leads her to question, explore and push beyond the box. A self-professed "left-brained creative big picture" type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing beyond and beneath first appearances while at the same time nerding out on the details. Most of all she sees and holds others in their highest until they can see it for themselves.

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