I have this quote framed. It sits in a spot where I see it all the time. Namely, above my kitchen sink. (When will dishes learn to wash themselves?!)
It’s my way of reminding myself to bring my A game. To always push myself to do my best. To not take anything for granted. I have loved this quote for a long time. And I’ve loved the word awesome for a long time.
So imagine how royally my bubble was burst when I got a nasty-gram from a reader of The Claxonette because of my use of the word ‘awesome’. I was momentarily demoralized. I share the deets in the podcast below–the good, the bad, and the sniffly email to my mum.
Awesome is now purposefully part of my personal lexicon. You can create your very own lexicon–with or without the word ‘awesome’–by downloading this freebie.
I got a note from a Claxonette reader this week who took umbrage with my use of the word ‘awesome’. She said:
A fine writer and storyteller would NOT use a word as insipid and tiresomely worn out as “awesome.”
Okay, well, don’t know if I’m a “fine writer and storyteller”, but I am gal who loves the word awesome. And here’s why.
Awesome means causing feelings of wonder and awe. Given the world we live in, couldn’t we all use a little more wonder and awe? I believe so. Thus, I use the word awesome. A lot.
I thought long and hard about whether I’d include awesome in my Personal Lexicon. People tend to love it or hate it. (Maybe it should be listed under the ‘Use with Caution’ category of the 2014 List of Words that Wow as a way of acknowledging that it has its foibles?)
People’s reactions to awesome are, in fact, so strong, that when I teach people how to create their Personal Lexicon, I use awesome as an example of a word that will either define their lexicon or not. I had a student who said: “I’d rather be caught dead than use that word!” at the same time as another exclaimed, “I use awesome all the time!”
There isn’t a lot of neutral ground with awesome. And that’s okay. When it comes to using language to increase your impact, you don’t want neutral. You want to use words to differentiate yourself, your cause, your organization.
Awesome isn’t for everyone. And I respect that. But I, for one, think awesome is awesome.
How many thank you letters have you received after making a donation that you remember? Go ahead. Count. It won’t take long. Most are totally and utterly un-memorable.
What a waste of paper and people-power.
Sure, you *have* to send an acknowledgement letter to everyone who donates to your organization. But acknowledging is not thanking. An acknowledgement doesn’t make the recipient feel all warm and fuzzy and good about what they’ve done. It makes them remember that soon they’ll have to file taxes. That’s stressful, not joyful.
Do your organization and everyone else a favor–turn your standard acknowledgement letter into a “thank you, you are awesome and we couldn’t do this without you because you ROCK” letter (or an equivalent that is appropriate for your organization’s brand).