“The Title Whisperer.”

That’s the name someone gave me at a recent meeting of our WOW group, after I came up with book titles for three of the members who were there.

WOW stands for Women of Words, and it’s a monthly writers group I belong to. We don’t meet to get feedback on our writing, but to share publishing and marketing advice and resources, and to support and celebrate each other’s work. Many of the women in the group are already published authors and accomplished speakers, and I get enlightened and inspired at every meeting.

It’s not entirely accurate, by the way, to say that I came up with the three book titles, because they were all direct quotes from the writers themselves. As I listened to them describe their current projects and report on their progress, a phrase or sentence from each of them struck me as something that would make a great title – either for their current writing project or for a later, related one. One of the titles was poignant and poetic, another was descriptive of women at a certain stage in life, and one was cute and clever and had to do with portable toilets.

The following week, the same type of thing happened, except that this time I was the one on the receiving end. I was on a phone call with a writing coach who’s one of the 14 women in a business program I’m currently enrolled in. In this program, I’m focusing on my coaching business, and in addition to our group training and coaching calls, we’re encouraged to connect with each other on our own to brainstorm ideas or discuss issues and concerns we have in common.

I received invaluable advice and ideas on the call, and was extremely grateful to be talking with someone who was so wise and insightful. She was quick to point out, however, that some of the things she told me were simply things she had heard me say as I was describing the work I do. She was calling attention to what she saw as my greatest strengths and talents, drawing out of me things that were there all along. And she put them into words in a way I hadn’t been able to do.

I’ve always appreciated the advice given to new mothers by author and pediatrician Benjamin Spock, who said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” This really applies to all of us, doesn’t it? Quite often, we already have inside of us the answers and solutions we’re looking for. We just don’t know it. That’s why it’s such a treasure to have people in our lives who can recognize and identify them. Who take the time to listen to us, and really pay attention to what we’re saying. Who filter out the debris and distractions, and find the nuggets that were there all along.

If you don’t already do so, I hope you’ll start taking the time to notice and acknowledge the wisdom and insights that you find in others, whether from their words, their actions, or anything you see in them that they may not recognize in themselves. When you do, you’ll give them a gift more valuable than you can imagine. You’ll inspire them to start doing the same for others. And you’ll shine a light on them in a way that reflects as brightly on you as it does on them.

That’s how the title whisperer sees it.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on March 20, 2014.
©Betty Liedtke, 2014

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