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Words That Lift

Have you ever had a fight with someone and the words they left you with stayed as an unwelcome guest the rest of your life?

I can think of a lot of moments and a lot of words that this story runs truer than I wished it did. I am going to give you those examples below. I want you to know that, these words may offend you and that is not the intent. It is just part of the self talk that was taught to me over the course of my formative years and some as an adult; with the wrong people in my corner.

I remember an art teacher that said I was uncreative and didn’t have a creative bone in my body. That I should give up on anything creative because I would never be able to do it.

I remember being called dumb by my 4th grade teacher because I didn’t understand the question. I quietly asked for help with it. He said the question super slow and super loud, followed by "you must be dumb if you don’t understand a simple question like that."

I remember being called a quitter by people who were suppose to champion me. I also remember believing it. Accepting it and even coining the phrase “recovering quitter”. I am many things….I am not a quitter.

I remember being called seizure boy when I struggled with epilepsy as child. Not just one time…All the time…."Don’t touch him, you’ll be seizure boy too."

I remember being called fat.

I remember being called retarded.

I remember being told I would amount to nothing by not one but multiple high school teachers.

I remember being told I must be stupid or retarded by the above teachers on multiple occasions.

I remember being left out and told I wasn’t good enough for my friend by his mom. I was in 2nd grade.

I remember being told I wasn’t good enough by more people than I can count. Many of whom were suppose to champion me, guide, correct, ask questions.

I remember being told No. Just NO. No to my personality, no to my humor, no to my dreams, no to my work, no to my failure, no to my being, no to my face for just being me.

Rejection sucks.

IT sucks.

It hurts.

It is painful.

It leaves you feeling less than with little to no evidence of the contrary.

The words above in different seasons, shaped my life and my mindsets. I allowed these words to settle into my heart. Some for seasons. Some for years. Some until the past few years. Some try to come back but the older wiser self says no to them…mostly.

The truth is words are powerful. Our brains are wired around negativity. We are built to survive. Our brains tell us NO there is DANGER. Don’t do this! Its uncomfortable. It’s not safe. It is not the most conservative route!

Our brains are also repetitious. 80% of our daily thoughts are negative and 95% are repeating.

So not only are words powerful in the moment, they are powerful at scale.

I made a decision in my 20’s to start speaking life into people. It made an encouraging human that had a lot of fluff to give but never receive. Sometimes that left people feeling rubbed wrong because I missed moments of mourning.

Overtime that refined and now I find myself in this space where I am not old and I am not young but I am very selective with how I communicate. I learned to hold my tongue for fear of rejection most of my life. I held my tongue because I was scared of being stupid. I held my tongue because I was terrified of being disqualified from life. Being told no, you are stupid, you do not understand and you are in fact dumb.


What I found was as I refined my communication and understanding of words. I also refined my ability to read moments. I listened more, spoke less and began to become a person who can speak positively of himself even though it is supremely uncomfortable.

It is uncomfortable to be positive to me, yet I find it so easy to lift others up.

It is so funny to me, that this business is built on the handcrafted model of lessons with values of Laved. Valued. Cared For. Because it is the antithesis of what I experienced in most of my life. Nothing was crafted for me inside of education. I was told no. “You are no good.” “You could be good if you do it Our way.” “Your brain is wrong.”

To look back I know I have missed out on positive moments of my life because of the negative thought patterns I let take me hostage. I see all the people I served so poorly because my thoughts were so much about me, I couldn’t see the need in front of me, for the fear I had was too great.

We all have those things, those moments, those words, those phrases that cause our hearts to wall up.

It is a choice, one that involves lots of repetition to build an immunity to give yourself just enough room to pivot the thought into something useful. Eventually, when you do it enough, most of the time you can take those thoughts and send them straight to the trash can.

I am a human.

I have failed.

I have failed this week.

I will fail today.

I will fail tomorrow.

I will fail next year.

Failure is the best option because it gives birth to opportunity. To learn a new behavior in the same circumstance that yields a different outcome.

Same Experience + New Outcome = Learning.

I speak to you from a place of vulnerability because it is my hope that you see it is possible to use the words and phrases you have on repeat to lift you and others up around you.

Words that lift = peace instead of chaos.

Words that lift = clear thoughts in a mess

Words that lift = usefulness to self and others

Words that lift = new behavior in the same circumstance

You stack enough of those wins together….

You just might find that you are the type of person who….

Is good enough.

Is smart.

Is funny.

Is useful.

Is capable.

Is creative.

Is odd.

Is full life.

Is fulll of love.

Is full of hope.

Is engaging.

Can communicate.

Can overcome.

Quits on purpose with a purpose.

Gives more than they take.

Honors their word.

Shows up for themselves, so they can show up for others.

You. You who read this. You have hold the power of choice. That choice is made moment to moment. Small victories lead to, small territories, lead to won battles, to lost battles to more territories and a won war.

Words that lift. Change your life and those around you.

Pro Tip: It’ll also remove people that shouldn’t be there in the first place.


Zack Schuyler

VP of Student Experience

Former believer of lies.

Current discerner of truth.

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