A few days ago, I threw out a question to anyone who would answer.

What two words would you use to describe me?
When I get your answer, I’ll respond with two words for you.

The words I received were extremely insightful and, full disclosure here, helped me reply to an assignment my co-host had given me for our weekly podcast. What I didn’t take into account was how receiving and sharing two simple words would impact me and each contributor.

The first person to respond was one my (30) Danish cousins who’s hilarious. I easily came up with two words to describe him: lighthearted and consistent. But as more and more responses arrived, I realized I needed a better approach than thinking about this person, scratching my head and/or reaching for the thesaurus.

Letting my imagination take over I decided to think of myself sitting with this person at our kitchen table. It’s a cozy place, filled with lots of light. Once I ‘sat at the table,’ the words flowed.

Intelligent and caring.

Creative and clever.

Discerning and lively.

Whimsical and inquisitive. That’s when the first question came, “thank you, but how did you come up with that?”

As this ‘friend’ has never been anywhere near my kitchen table, I could see his point. I told him that I’d gone to his social media sites and what I read made me laugh and think. “Now that’s a compliment. Thank you,” he wrote.

Who would have thought that receiving two words from people I love, folks I know or others with whom I share only a passing acquaintance would mean so much. But when someone paused and took the time to describe me, it stopped me in my tracks. Their words breathed life into my core,

Inspired, determined, compassionate, substantive, enthusiastic.

They reached me below the face you see or the voice you hear.

Reading these descriptions was like getting a present wrapped in language that I can open and reopen whenever I choose. And as I strung the words together, the exercise did exactly as designed, offering a very clear sense of who I am, not what I do.

The reciprocating part was eye opening, too. Thinking of each person at my table enjoying an imaginary cup of coffee with conversation reminded me of how much I enjoy being with people, and how that connection produces an energy all its own. Those of you who were so gracious had no idea the communion we just shared in my mind.

Words are powerful and on their own can injure, affirm, tear down, build up. We get to choose what we say, and choose what to receive.

Here’s the podcast that brought this all to the surface.

So in light of my assignment I challenge you to check in with someone in your life and share two words you think describe them and ask for the same in return. Enjoy.