The Words You Leave Behind

Does it resemble the person you wish to be?

After you leave. They linger.

What impression in the minds of others?

Where they swirl about turning into stories.

Informing decisions.


If we could follow your words,

Where would they lead us?

If words are energy,

Do yours empower?

Or consume.

If words are influence,

Do yours unite?

Or divide.

When you make your words,

Are you intentional?

Or careless.


Words go out.

Words come back.

Searching for meaning.

Seeking a response.

What happens to the words you leave behind?

We create our world with words.

It’s made of words.

Words are alive.

Yet, we forget their power; take them for granted.

Or abuse their power; turning words into weapons.

Sometimes we spew more words than are necessary.

And sometimes we withhold the necessary words.

Words can serve.

Words can heal.

Words can inspire.

And they can destroy.

They can be our friend.

Or an adversary.

What’s your relationship with words?

Every day our work is filled with words.

They can work for us; paving the way to progress.

Or they can become a point of friction; stealing energy.

Words hold tremendous potential.

They are a valuable resource.

Are you a good steward of your words?

Final Thoughts:

Words are the oxygen of an organization.

Relationships are built on words and confirmed through actions.

Strong relationships are at the heart of organizational effectiveness.

Organizations that teach and encourage the wise use of words have an advantage over those that do not.

Organizations that align words and actions build trust and courage.

Leaders set the bar for communication through the values they transmit in every email, every meeting, every discussion.

Every word.

“Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel


  1. So glad I opened up this blog! Very inspirational and thought evoking.


    1. Thank you, Renee. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the blog.


  2. Wow! So true. If we recognize the power of the words we choose and take them at face value rather tha allow the sender to interpret or translate what they really meant, the passive agressive people, the manipulative people would lose their power and have to find a new, healthier way to do business.


    1. Good point Kristine, it is up to us to decide how to interpret the words we hear and decide our response. Thanks for your comment.


  3. Scott, I agree with you that words are powerful. They can inspire us or tear us down. But let’s not get too attached to words—just like not attached to people. We all may have different interpretation to the same word, for example the word “rain”. Some people think it is a nuisance, but I think “rain” is good for the farmers. Sometimes, when people say nasty things to us, we should not be so attached to those words and take it personally. Just my thoughts. Thank you Scott!


    1. Thank you, Dee. I concur that words are just one part of the puzzle in how we interpret the world and while important should not be our only means of understanding or communication. The message I hoped to communicate is that they are worthy of our attention and should reflect our intention.


  4. Minor Correction: Abraham Joshua Heschel not Herschel. Thank you.


  5. Ancient words of wisdom: “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18)


  6. I am a social worker at an Adult Day Care program. I am always searching for interesting, thought provoking topics to bring and discuss in my Community Meetings. “The Words You Leave Behind” really moved me and it is so worthy of reading and discussing with my registrants. These individuals spend a certain amount of hours together everyday. And although they get along for the most part, they can be very mean to one another with their words. I look forward to sharing this in my next meeting. Thank you.


    1. Thank you SG! Very encouraging to read about your desire to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. I hope these simple words prove useful to your endeavor. Really appreciate your stopping by and sharing with us.


  7. I don’t remember how I stumbled to your site some time ago, but I am grateful that I did. Always inspiring and thought-provoking words from you. A reminder to all of us to not only use our words carefully but also to stay close to those who do the same, they are the ones who will teach us.


    1. Gail, Appreciate the added wisdom of learning from others. So grateful you found this site and that you took time to share your thoughts.


  8. I am reading your blog today for the first time and in light of the weekend’s violence in Charlottesburg. So many sit here on Monday morning, quarterbacking what was said and what was meant, by protesters, counter-protesters, our President and politicians. The quote from Heschel is particularly meaningful today: “What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.”

    I’ve always been a big believer in the First Amendment and the rights of free speech and free press. However, I also believe that these “inalienable rights” come with huge responsibility to our fellow citizens. And the spoken word has so much power to harm, threaten, and incite; or, in other cases, to fall far short of what needs to be said to heal, lead, or inspire more of our people to live with respect.

    We cannot tolerate speech that, while “free,” seeks to incite violence or harm. This was clearly illustrated over the weekend, and is experienced daily in the microcosms of work and society.

    When will we ever learn that some speech is so harmful that it cannot and should not be tolerated? We fought and won a war in the 1040s that brought humanity together to fight against fascism and Nazi uprising. If we had listened sooner to what was being said, there might have been much less bloodshed and persecution.

    Thank you for offering this to us and I am grateful to have found it.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective, Sandy.The timing for this post was coincidental but it does seem relevant in light of the recent events in Virginia. Words are a big part of the story in so many aspects. I know the whole topic of free speech is complicated and subject to passionate debate. A good reminder that words have the power to hurt and to heal to lead to more understanding or deeper divisions. Lately, in this country, and in other parts of the world, it feels like they are primarily used as weapons intended to hurt and escalate tensions already at the boiling point. It is worrisome to consider where this ongoing war of words may lead. We’re already seeing the consequences of words escalating into acts of violence. I wonder how others feel and what, if any, options we have to affect or change the discussion when both sides or so deeply entrenched and trapped by the words, (threats, accusations, labeling, etc.), that are already in play and have been now for some time. Words create momentum that can be difficult to reverse.


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