Someone recently asked me a great question. One of those great questions that I don’t have a swift or easy answer to. One I suspect I’ll be unraveling for a while.
The question was something to the effect of “How does someone step into Potent Expression when they have suffered? When they’ve had trauma? When they feel lost or broken?”
In our sometimes glossy, cardboard cutout business culture, we are much more accustomed to confident communication: “You have a problem and I know the answer!”
We are trained to imbue our communication with unwavering certainty.
We are told our strength, mastery, conviction will translate into more sales.
And yet, as humans, we are unfathomably complex. We are messy and vulnerable. We are learning and evolving, equal parts unknowing, uncertain, and clear. We are as often broken open or tumbled apart as we are together, able, and wise.
So it makes sense to me that our communication, our most potent communication, needs to be big enough, broad enough, expansive enough to make room for all of those places within us. For our Book of Language to call us equally into strength and certainty as it does into vulnerability and questioning.
What we tell the world that is real and true needs must reflect the depth and diversity of who we are or it won’t be real and true.
Potent Expression, to me, by its definition, is the expression, including the use of language, to convey what life has taught us. Of the hard-won insight we’ve gained by living and risking and hurting and trying. And so, by definition, Potent Expression should arise not just from our victories but from our suffering as well. It should express our learning edges as well as the wisdom we’ve acquired. It should reveal the bigger questions we are seeking to answer for ourselves as well as for the people we serve.
The Potency, the power, of our Expression is not in its ability to deliver a confident, “feel good” message. The potency lies is our willingness to tell a bold, unvarnished truth. To make the reality of what we’ve lived visible and tangible to the humans we want to touch with our presence and efforts.
So if we have suffered, the story of that suffering, and any bitter gifts they brought is part of the expression. If we’ve had trauma, the dark lesson of that trauma is part of our story. If we feel lost and broken, our Potent Expression comes from knowing that we are not alone in that and welcoming others into that knowing through the words we share.