Words are Liz Hernandez’s business. As a former radio host and entertainment reporter for Access Hollywood, E! News and MTV, she has made a career of speaking to audiences. But a few years ago, she found the weight of her words had become less impactful over the years. “I found myself yearning for the days when I connected on a deeper level in radio,” she said. “With radio you can communicate your thoughts – your feelings – and with television, you’re just reading a script about other people’s lives.”
Then, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and soon started losing her speech. “I missed her saying certain loving things, like ‘I love you’ [and] ‘I’m so proud of you.’ I thought, wow, language is such a gift. Our ability to communicate is such a gift.”
Now, Hernandez runs Wordaful- a communications platform to showcase the power of words and the importance of how they’re used. Via a web series, live events, and a newly launched podcast, she’s created a new form of storytelling that encourages people to think about the words they use in their lives, from the way they describe themselves to how they communicate with others.
Herewith, she discusses a few choice words with major impact, and how we can shift or amplify their meaning within our own lives:
The First Word: The first word I chose was ‘connect’ because that’s what Wordaful is all about. The most powerful way we connect as individuals is through stories. If I look at how a word affected me or changed something in my life, then that’s the easiest way to digest it.
The First Word Chosen for Wordaful’s Podcast: Our first episode is about WORD. On the podcast, we take a word, and make it an acronym. Our first one is ‘when our reality disappears’. And then I story-tell based on that. It was easy for me, because it was about leaving my TV career to launch Wordaful. It’s also the story of my reality with my parents. As a child you have the idea that your parents are around forever and you’ll watch them grow old. When that changes, it completely [turns] reality on its head.
The Words Liz Wants to Eradicate: It’s more a practice of getting rid of crutch words. For example It dilutes the message. And the word but; When we shoot out ideas, we safeguard them by using ‘but’. ‘I’d like to present this to you, but in case you don’t like it, I also have this.’ As women, we are so apologetic in our language. We say ‘I just want to ask really quick’ or ‘Sorry to bother you’. We don’t allow ourselves room or space to shine, or just be unapologetic with who we are. We should not need an excuse to ask a question or get information.
The Problem with the Word Should: Should is a word I consider shameful…we’re so tough on ourselves, I should workout, I should have kids, I should be married. We continuously shame ourselves with should. What if we switched that out for ‘I can’ or ‘I will’? That little shift in thinking or awareness does a lot for being kind to ourselves. It’s like being an internal motivational speaker.
The Word to Describe Your State Right Now: The word I always try to sit with is love. That is the foundation for everything we are, everything we do, and what we truly want whether we realize it or not. When we say, ‘I want the dream car’ or ‘dream house’ or ‘dream job,’ what that comes down to is us saying, ‘I want to be loved.’
The Most Powerful Words for an Entrepreneur: The two most powerful words in our vocabulary are “I am.” Anything that follows is a mantra for yourself and the world. ‘I am strong.’ ‘I am healthy.’ ‘I am positive.’ ‘I am lovable.’ ‘I am worthy.’ That should be your internal dialogue. You summon life to whatever follows those words. What we speak, the universe is listening.