Category Archives: Words Create Worlds®

Enjoy our monthly newsletter full of industry news, articles, resources, upcoming events, and more…

Words Create Worlds ® – April 2017 Newsletter

There is so much good happening in the World. Often we read stories of positive change that is taking place at home, work, within teams and communities, etc. In these stories, I began to notice was that the authors were utilizing the word ‘courage’ to describe the people within the story; but what do we really mean when we talk about courage? What images appear in your mind when you see/hear the word COURAGE?

The dictionary describes courage as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.” The root of the word courage is cor – latin word for heart. Some have said courage takes “strength of heart”.

Individuals, who may be new to Appreciative Inquiry, often ask: How do I introduce Appreciative Inquiry? How do you handle the negatives? How do I convince others? Where do I even start?

As we know, change is not easy and can be scary concept – requiring us to look within ourselves for strength to move forward. Yet, everyone has the skill and the capacity to be courageous. How can we nurture this strength (courageousness) within ourselves and others? How might courage complement and/or add value to the field of Appreciative Inquiry?
‘Changing the world is not easy, but its pursuit will change you profoundly.” ~ Leroy Hood

May you all have a wonderful and bountiful week.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – August 2016 Newsletter

Today I choose to be happy…

We are all capable of charting our own happiness and contributing to the happiness of those around us. Why is it that some people seem to be more “happy” than others? Are they truly happier?

Happiness, just like any emotion, involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological reaction, and a behavioral or expressive response. How we respond to an experience is unique. Have you ever noticed how a group of individuals might react differently to the same experience? Making the decision to remain happy, grateful and positive is a mindful practice that should be exercised daily.

Of course, we cannot be happy all of the time, but we also do not need to be angry, sad, or unhappy everyday either. In life we will encounter negative emotions, engage in difficult conversations, etc. – however, practicing to see the good in every situation is a great way to increase your resiliency to get through tough times.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a global leader in the study of Positive Emotion, discovered that experiencing positive emotions broadens people’s minds and builds their resourcefulness in ways that help them become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine.

As an AI Facilitator, Designer and Trainer I marvel at my good fortune to meet people who practice the pursuit of happiness every day. Appreciation Inquiry has given me the foundation to frame how I look at each day, what is here that I can celebrate? Building our happiness muscles takes time and practice – just like an Olympic Athlete – but the outcome is so worth it.

I hope many of you would be willing to share your stories of what happiness means to you; how you create happiness in your life; how you support happiness in others?

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® AUGUST 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – July 2016 Newsletter

Do you find it hard to be appreciative during this time? Economy, politics, war, climate change, education, poverty – there is a lot of “stuff” in the way. And it is all serious “stuff”. Staying open to see the possibilities is so important to our happiness, health and general well-being. What helps me is to spend time reflecting on what gave me joy during the day, and equally fulfilling is to give others joy. And that is so easy. Be open to those moments when someone helps you, goes out of their way – like the cashier at the grocery store, the receptionist at the Department of Motor Vehicles or the secretary at your child’s school – and show their your appreciation. Ask them what was the best thing that happened today; what excites them most about their job, etc. You may hear something like “no one has ever asked me that question before”, be genuine in your interest, listen with your heart and you may just find this one of those joyful moments.

Staying Appreciative, Even When it’s Hard…

Always remember, the seeds of change are implicit in the questions we ask. Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, an Ai Practitioner and friend, demonstrates the power of questions in this great TedTalk video. Robyn shares how a “simple, intentionally appreciative inquiry can result in a playful state that fosters creativity, openness and togetherness. Grounded in the science of positive psychology, this interactive talk demonstrates how appreciative inquiry opens us up to experience even greater positivity. The result: less fear and strong heartfelt connections and understanding between people, even strangers.”

We invite each of you to join in the high energy and well-being that gratitude, compassion, and generosity brings to each of us. As always, we thank each of you for sharing your stories of success – seeking the high points to learn, adapt, and thrive – your stories always bring such light into our office and to our work.

Lastly, we are scheduling our 2017 event calendar. We seek out new training locations and opportunities – any thoughts, ideas and suggestions from you are always welcome. As always we appreciate the good work all of you do. May you all have a wonderful week.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® JULY 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – June 2016 Newsletter

On my short drive to work each morning, I enjoy listening to my local non-profit radio program on NPR (National Public Radio). What I appreciate about NPR, is that I can count on them to search for the story behind the headlines. For those that are unfamiliar, NPR shares the news of the World (even negative news) and its impact on people, on culture, on politics, etc. in a story filled with metaphors – often including the voices of those who are impacted by or involved in the story. Through the stories shared, a connection is made and I find myself looking for, and uncovering, hope in the most unlikely stories.

Creating Shared Meaning through Our Stories…

Stories have a way of connecting us to one another. We all want, essentially, the same things: Love, Respect, Freedom, Peace, Acceptance, Hope, Inspiration, Health, Family, and Friendship. It is this shared humanness that connects us.

When sharing our stories, not only are we are building connections, but we are also constructing a shared reality the listener. The Constructionist Principle, derived from ‘Social Constructionist’ theory, states that the language we use shapes our social reality. As a result, meaning is made in our conversations, and what emerges as ‘knowledge’ is actually a broad social agreement created among people through communication.

So, what does this mean in practice? It means that every conversation we engage in is important and to always remain mindful of the words we use and the questions we ask. When engaging in conversations, you might ask yourself these questions:

  • How will I contribute to the discussion?
  • What questions will I ask?
  • What stories will I share?
  • What reality is being created by the stories we are sharing?
  • What meaning are we making in our conversation and what social agreements are emerging?

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® JUNE 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – May 2016 Newsletter

There is so much good happening in the World. Often we read stories of positive change that is taking place at home, work, within teams and communities, etc. In these stories, I began to notice was that the authors were utilizing the word ‘courage’ to describe the people within the story; but what do we really mean when we talk about courage? What images appear in your mind when you see/hear the word COURAGE?

Nurturing Strength to Ignite Change…

The dictionary describes courage as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.” The root of the word courage is cor – latin word for heart. Some have said courage takes “strength of heart”.

Individuals, who may be new to Appreciative Inquiry, often ask: How do I introduce Appreciative Inquiry? How do you handle the negatives? How do I convince others? Where do I even start?

As we know, change is not easy and can be scary concept – requiring us to look within ourselves for strength to move forward. Yet, everyone has the skill and the capacity to be courageous. How can we nurture this strength (courageousness) within ourselves and others? How might courage complement and/or add value to the field of Appreciative Inquiry?

‘Changing the world is not easy, but its pursuit will change you profoundly.” ~ Leroy Hood

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® MAY 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – April 2016 Newsletter

Spring has arrived in Southern Nevada. The rays of light seem to be penetrating giving us the warmth that a ” being” finds refreshing, invigorating and energizing. Mother Earth is giving us the entrée to be out and about creating and imagining, “what if “?

What does “What if ” mean for you, a friend, family member or those you work with on a daily basis? In reading a quote from Henry Ford, his “what if” might have been, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” To me, it means working with others – using ones imagination to be able to feel a change, see it, sense it, feel it and best of all redirect my focus to possibilities. No matter the descriptor or definition it is working and communicating with others. It is about us, all of us.

This past week I have had the opportunity to read and review the fine work, Practicum’s, of many of those that have joined us at Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainings somewhere throughout the world. The stories are touching, encouraging and most of all speak of individuals coming together with a common purpose and outcome, as Henry Ford stated, “…working together is success.”

Individually, how can we create a difference for others thus changing ourselves?

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® APRIL 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – March 2016 Newsletter

What first attracted me to Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) in 2001 was the concept of inviting and bringing all of the voices into the conversation. It was a significant shift in our daily practices and operations, especially for an educational institution, yet I knew Ai would work – and it did.

As I continued on my Ai journey, more opportunities would arise that would allow me to facilitate and practice Ai. Over the years, I have learned that the complexity of bringing all voices (stakeholders) into the room begins with the planning. The best Ai facilitation or consulting projects that I have been involved with directly resulted from incorporating a core team in the process – from beginning to end.

Core Teams: A Slice Of The Whole…

Core Teams are magical and reflect a ‘slice of the whole’. Picture, for example, a chocolate cake consisting of several layers. Each layer comprise of various stakeholders (executive, management, sales, customers, vendors, partners, community leaders, etc.). When cutting a slice from this beautiful cake, all layers (stakeholders) are represented, no matter how big or small the slice. In other words, this slice represents a cross section of the organization, team or group drawn from different programs, groups, teams, work shifts, nationalities, languages, gender, and job roles.

It’s important to remember that no two Core Teams are identical. Instead, we should celebrate the diversity of the group and the richness it can bring to the inquiry process. I have found that each Core Team has a different approach and is as unique and complex as the organization. The creativity and energy that is unleashed when a Core Team is given the opportunity to fly inspires greatness in everyone.

One Core Team, whom I have been working with for several consecutive years, was so moved by the Ai process that they named their Core Team to show their spirit and passion for this process with themselves and others. This group named themselves the Core Team Bridge (CTB) – bridging all voices into one – and are celebrating 3 years of their Ai journey together. The poem, found below, was penned by a new CTB member who joined the group February 2016.

Core Team Bridge (CTB) Poem
By: Swagat Raj Pandey, CTB member
Slice of a whole,
A bunch of spirited soul;
A joyful staff retreat,
Our primary goal;
We foster tension,
Provide undivided attention;
Together we work,
Don’t forget the fun to mention;
We bring our thoughts,
We bring our energy;
Different ways to work;
Builds a strong synergy;
We love sharing stories,
Creating new memories;
On to the year three,
CTB is here to be

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® MARCH 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – February 2016 Newsletter

Last week, Jim Pulliam and I worked with an amazing team of dedicated employees who help incarcerated people to overcome societal stigmas, reduce recidivism, and thrive in the communities in which they live.

As we worked with this group, we heard inspiring stories from individuals who had reached out to community colleges and other services for their ‘second chance’. The underlying themes that surfaced in the stories shared included being heard, understood and valued. Jim and I always enjoy hearing stories of successes, and these were no exception – as they further fan the passion for our work.

The need for individuals who work to serve the greater good is in greater demand. Many of the conversations Jim and I have turn to the topics of Hope and Resilience. If Jim and I could take what we experienced last week on a larger scale – giving away the voice – allowing the opportunity for others to be heard. How would this improve our relationships and understandings with one another?

How does Appreciative Inquiry sharpen our focus on ‘wholeness’ and spark hope in negative, hope-striven environments? How can we, collectively, reframe the conversations in these environments to ones of love, compassion, and resilience?

Many of you are doing amazing work changing the conversations in schools, companies, industries and communities around the World. On the flight home, as I reflected on the past few days and imagined what might be the next steps, I listened to a podcast that I had previously downloaded and as it turns out it is about resilience, hope and building a better World. To listen to this podcast, please click here. It reminds me, that we are doing this great work at just the right time.

As always, we thank each of you for sharing your stories of success – seeking the high points to learn, adapt, and thrive – your stories always bring such light into our office and to our work. Please keep sending us your personal stories of success via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® FEBRUARY 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – January 2016 Newsletter

Exciting things are in the works…

When we put the call out offering the opportunity to work with us to expand our training programs, we had no idea how many amazing people who have been certified by the Center for Appreciative Inquiry would respond. An invitation is special to us and we look for others who recognize the importance of this work, and of supporting each person in their journey. To impact each person in a generative and positive way.

We now have a waiting list that we reach out to as we begin our next cohort. As we grow, we are embracing our differences, adding value to our work and our communities. First, we are beginning our growth geographically in pairs (teams), to meet the needs of individuals and organizations where they are.

Expanding the Center for Appreciative Inquiry Brand is more about reaching out to the extraordinary richness of ideas, thoughts, believes and values while adding to our rich diversity and legacy. Each new trainer brings a genuine interest in and passion for teaching Appreciative Inquiry and we are appreciative of the opportunity to learn and work with each of them.

We would like to welcome our current cohort of Ai Trainees:

 Lynora Bowen (AIFT Trainee)  Evodia Iswandi (AIFT Trainee)
 Kristen Crusoe (AIFT Trainee)  Corrie Melanson (AIFT Trainee)
Angela Greenwald (AIFT Trainee)  Carol Vickers (AICT Trainee)

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® JANUARY 2016 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

Words Create Worlds ® – December 2015 Newsletter

As we reflect on all that has happened over this past year, we are so appreciative of the opportunity to work with each of you. The challenges have ignited in us the fuel to inquire, reflect and focus on outcomes drawing upon our strengths. In this New Year, we will continue to work with organizations and individuals to “change the way we think about change” and to “facilitate a sustainable future regardless of the challenges”. We won’t ignore the challenges or deny the problems; however, by initially adapting to change we create dreams of opportunity.

This year we had the pleasure of meeting many new and memorable individuals. Our experience with each of you made this year one to remember. We were also blessed with the opportunity to meet people and to participate in many fun and fulfilling projects around the World. We have been honored by the hospitality and warmth of people from Australia, Cayman Islands, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nairobi, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States (Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington D.C.) and all Canadian provinces.

We invite each of you to join in the high energy and well-being that gratitude, compassion, and generosity brings to each of us. As always, we thank each of you for sharing your stories of success – seeking the high points to learn, adapt, and thrive – your stories always bring such light into our office and to our work. Please keep sending us your personal stories of success via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

TO READ THE WORDS CREATE WORDS ® DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER ONLINE, PLEASE CLICK HERE>>