Do Our Words Really Matter?

As a motivational speaker, I often wonder if my words really matter. If I really do make a difference. Are they forgetting what I said by lunch, or are they taking some nugget with them that will last forever? Motivational speakers sometimes get a bad rap – defined as cheesy – considered fluff – thought to be unnecessary. And that stings. Because I take this job seriously. In fact – I see it as a calling – not just as a job. And I see the ability to  motivate oneself and others as one of THE MOST VALUABLE assets we can cultivate in life and in the workplace. So while you may consider the word “motivational speaker” tired – I see it as holding as much worth as it ever did – if not more so.

So back to the question – do our words really matter?

And the answer for today is YES.

Please read the email I received this morning:

Kelly: I was one of the librarians in your morning session today…and Wow – did I ever need to hear you speak this morning. I was standing in the shower before work thinking about my confidence and wondering where it had gone… What difference does a part time librarian make? And if I don’t make a difference, what is my purpose? Your conversation with yourself into your mirror this morning was very much what I say to myself every day. Other people are far more suited to change lives than I, and of course they’re more successful, better looking, and probably thinner too. I do ignore my problems, but I know I can do better, I’ve seen myself do better. I let fear invade. And sometimes putting on the confident face in the publicness of my job is exhausting. I felt like you were describing my life – you were talking directly to me…and i heard you. I long to be authentic. I long to be comfortable in my skin. I long to be purposeful and valued. Thank you for the challenge to rethink how i approach the daily tasks in my job that had become “just one more thing I do”. Perhaps that one thing is the ONE THING that someone really needs me to do and perhaps they’ll take away more from it than I’ll ever know. I guess i’m not really sure in my purpose in writing you this email except to say that I heard you – and that I’m still thinking about what you said. And I think i will for awhile. Thank You – …and I also wanted you to know – sometimes I dance…in my kitchen…and I don’t care if anyone is watching.

I am not sharing this email to brag, as I am sure that if you (no matter what your path in life) have affected others in just the same way. You just don’t have the luxury of getting an email when you do.

I am sharing this to remind you that your words matter. That there are people all around you, feeling less than – feeling unappreciated – feeling lost and alone. And a simple word from you can change their lives, in ways you may never ever see. And THAT is important. More important than the number on your tax return – or how nice your house is – or whether you were able to afford to send your kids to private school. Those random acts of kindness carry far greater weight in the economy of life than dollars or awards. At least in my humble opinion.

And it was my heavenly Father who once told me to pay close attention to how I treat those around me – for I never know when I am entertaining angels unaware.

May my words always bring you hope and encouragement – and if they don’t, please let them roll off of you like water off a duck. And may you always know the power of your words – and how they reach out like ripples on a pond – and touch lives in ways you will never see.

With much love,


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. Well then.  I’ve already shared this on FB  and Twitter.  I would share it with the New York Times if they would print it.  As a fellow motivational speaker,  I have received some of those emails and am reminded just how powerful our words can be.  And I so appreciate the fact that you point out how EVERYONE has the ability to impact people like that – but they just might not get the email.  Thank you Kelly, this was phenomenal.

  2. Thank you Linda. Sometimes as motivational speakers, we tend to measure ourselves in dollars, hw many people know us, or time spent on a stage – when if we measured ourselves by the lives affected – well, I’m afraid we wouldn’t be able to count. Let’s remember that when the going gets tough.

  3. Thank you Kelly – we motivational speakers plan, at least I hope we plan, to make a difference in people’s lives.  We really never know how much of an impact we have on the lives of people so when an e-mail like this comes in, it’s priceless.  This is the motivational speakers’ motivator – letters from people who take the time to let us know that what we do make a difference.  Awesomeness Kelly – thanks for sharing this and congrats to the librarian who was open minded enough to hear your words.  

  4. What a heartfelt e-mail to receive. How wonderful your words and stories connected so deeply. You are an incredible motivational speaker, and I’ll sit in your audience any day of the week!


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