Words have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom, a real estate paralegal, was the mistress of words. I wrote a ton of poetry as a kid. I won spelling bees in grade school.  I grew up to be lucky to have a job that often requires me to use the right word at just the right time. I know that I’ll be a happy girl if I can spend the rest of my life wrangling and shaping words into just the right message.

I love a perfectly worded sentence. Reading something that’s well-written makes me so happy. And, I consider myself very fortunate to have been on the receiving end of words that have taken my breath away and swept me off my feet.

Words have amazing power. They bring together. They divide. They beg. They sell. They scream for your attention. One word can change your life. Words can hurt. But the right ones can heal. String a couple together – like “I love you,” “you’re hired,” or “it’s over” – and someone’s world is forever shifted.

As a mom, I’ve become a decorated member of the Word Police. Never did I think I’d have to so closely monitor what words another person heard and what words they said. In fact, I’ve had many conversations with my sons about words that they should never use (like “stupid” and “shut up,” among others) and words that they must use as much as possible (like “please,” “thank you” and “how can I help you?”).

My son had a point when he asked me recently who decided that certain words are curses. Even at age 8, he can see that words only have power when you give them power. “What if someone decided that ‘apple’ was a bad word or that ‘baseball’ meant something else?” Well, then mom would give you a hard time when you used them. Ah, another question to which I had a meager response.

I’m constantly conflicted about slang words. I would never advocate for the regular use of words like “ain’t” but other words have become so ubiquitous that they should just be officially added to the lexicon.  The editors at publishing giant Merriam-Webster seem to be happy to jump on the bandwagon when slang words become a fad.  In fact, in 2011, “buttload” and “bromance” were added to the dictionary. It makes me chuckle, but I can’t help but wonder if we’re just dumbing down our language.

As I type these last few words, I wonder — what’s your favorite word?

In my quest for enrichment, growth and all things inspirational, I keep coming across this idea of “leaning into” life.

Life coaches are talking about it. Professional recruiters are urging job seekers to lean in to their dream career. Tara Brach, psychotherapist and Buddhist meditation teacher talks about it in her book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. Heck, even Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, told this year’s graduating class at Barnard College to lean in.

So, what’s all the fuss about leaning in? It’s a pretty simple concept. Leaning in is the practice of accepting what you have tried to avoid, resist, or struggle against. Forget about leaning back and letting the world control your destiny; have faith and follow your gut. It’s part decision-making, part trust and sometimes a giant leap off a scary cliff. It’s putting your wishes, dreams and energy out there and letting things flow back to you in whatever form they take.

When I think about leaning in of course I reflect on my own life but, as a marketer I also can’t resist thinking about how companies can lean in to what they desire as well.

Can you lean into your brand? Absolutely. It’s all about getting outside your own head or as a client of mine once famously said, “stop sucking our own exhaust.” It’s defining your brand in simple terms. Boiling it down to its essence. It’s back to basics. Forget where you’ve been and just be in the present. Probably not the easiest thing for most companies to do. But, if you rely on experts who don’t live with your brand day after day and add in a dash of research with your customers, you can gain perspective. You can lean in to what it truly means to experience your brand – in the process, you’ll learn why your raving fans love you and what’s been holding you back.

So lean in. Take the leap. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what flows back.