Episode 79 – It’s About Language: It’s About YOU

Episode 79 It's About Language: Its About You
It's About Language, with Norah Jones
It's About Language, with Norah Jones
Episode 79 - It's About Language: It's About YOU

“This year It’s About Language it’s going to be it’s about you. I’m going to connect all of us to opportunities to make a difference in the world, stories and opportunities that may resonate with you.”

The season is changing here on the east coast of the United States. I’ve been standing in the midst of the passing seasons and pondering about the changes that come about in our lives and work, too. And that “seasonal change,” that invitation to, as it were, look out over the world and embrace its shifts, is what Episode 79 of It’s About Language is all about.

As you will hear in the podcast, I remind myself – and my dear listeners world-wide – how I started this podcast in September 2020 to stay in touch with friends. (I am so blessed to have the most amazing language-loving, language-professional friends, who are such generous and talented people.)

Thus began the “tender spring season” of IAL in the winter of our calamity.

These friends are so amazing, I wanted the world – you – to know and hear from them, too. And in a hurting, scared, separated world, I knew you would recognize in them the voices of those whose lives are spent in using language as a vehicle for inclusion, joy, healing, opportunity, and acknowledgement of the unique and amazing spirit found in each person. That you would find in them the sound of hope.

As their stories unfolded, so did my realization, which I’ve been striving to share with you: that only through language, the unique miracle in the abstraction and complexity in which it is found in humanity, can we know our own identity and that of others, where we belong, and the power of what we can do to bring hope to the world.

So several months ago, I invited you to go back and listen to previous guests’ podcasts, taking a look at the titles to see what appeals to you based on your life and experiences. And without knowing exactly where the new “season’s growth” would go, I invited you to go forward with me to launch on some new ways of considering how language brings hope into the world.

So I’ll be bringing to you — to all of us — language-centered initiatives, organizations, causes, resources, opportunities, and much more, all of which are interesting in themselves and an invitation to YOU.

The invitation is to consider if, in this time of challenges and needs for all, if the focus of that which is presented is something that speaks to your heart, resonates with who you are, calls you into community, and provides a glimpse of the positive change that you, personally, can make in the world because of your unique experiences and skills.

This season, my commitment to you is to connect YOU with wonderful people and organizations I know. The stories are powerful. Perhaps one of those stories points you exactly where you know you can share your best.

Here’s what I ask in return.

First, listen also with an ear open for what might resonate with others you know, with family, colleagues, friends, organizational leaders, etc. Perhaps what you hear and see on It’s About Language and on this website is not for you to pursue, but might be of interest to another person you know. Share the podcast or the post.

Second, let me know of initiatives, groups, and opportunities that YOU know and you think I should, too, with an eye to sharing them through my channels.

On the podcast you’ll hear me share a story about a woman who, when bombs starting falling in her neighborhood, got in her car not to escape, but to go to a neighbor’s home in the same town, to warn and to say, “Let’s do something.” And they did. Not paralysis. Not “What can one person do?” She found her voice, she connected with another, and together they identified and used their unique skills.

Find your voice. Enter the conversation. Name your superpower. And invite others in.

I look forward to our work together.

Enjoy the podcast.

Scroll down for full transcript.

Thank you for always focusing on the possibilities, opportunities and the power of language and what it can do for us individually - and collectively!

Elizabeth Mack

If you've never done #cliftonstrengths, yourself or with your team, don't wait any longer.  Norah Jones of FLUENCY CONSULTING is the one and only to do it! It's all about your super powers: finding & using them to affect positive change in the world. What's not to love?!

Elizabeth Mack
Founder and CEO / Freestyle Languages


Yes, @NorahLulicJones definitely has the talent of "bringing out" the best in others or allowing them to showcase themselves in the best light! Thank you for directing the spotlight on others who have great stories and talents to share with others. 

Lisa Fore


Your podcasts are exceptionally relevant and applicable, thought-provoking and insightful, easy-to-follow and enjoyable!  

Paul Sandrock
Senior Advisor for Language Learning Initiatives / ACTFL


You have an immense talent to draw the best from your participants. 

Richard Brecht


Norah knows how to LISTEN - she really "hears" the message - and the interview is richer because of it.  New questions come from the hearing. 

Terri Marlow

Want to hear more? Access previous episodes, and get to know the wonderful people I talk with through the It’s About Language page, or by clicking on the Podcast tab above. You can also find this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

As a certified Gallup Strengths coach, I can provide you or your organization personalized coaching to discover and build on your strengths.

I provide workshops, presentations, and talks that inspire and engage through powerful language insights, and I pair those insights with practical applications for the lives of educators, learners, businesses, and faith-centered organizations. I’d love to share ideas with your organization or group, and develop an event tailored to your objectives.

Click here to start a conversation.


0:00:01.6 Norah Jones: Welcome to this podcast where I am standing on an unfolding farm scene at the beginning of the season of fall. Harvests have come in, baby cows are being born. So many changes that are part of the cycle of seasons, and it reminds me of the kind of seasonal change that I’m looking for here and want to invite you specifically into for It’s About Language.

I started this podcast in September of 2020 because with the pandemic, I didn’t want to lose contact with amazing friends, amazing professional colleagues that I had been blessed to have in my life over decades of world language education, world language publishing, and just being out and about and the wonderful conferences and meetings and organizations that just invite us to be participants in the world.

I just didn’t want to be lonely, and I suspect that was true of many of you listening today or others that you know. It was amazing because the conversations with these friends reminded me indeed why I wanted to stay in contact with them.

0:01:40.3 Norah Jones: And then as that season unfolded, I began to realize something, that these conversations kept coming back to the same three basic items. First, that through language, they had discovered their identity. Sometimes they discovered their identity as it were by accident, recognizing it to have come from language. Other times they found it because they purposefully knew that language would help them to discover themselves. I, myself, re-discovered my identity as a first-generation daughter of a refugee immigrant from Eastern Europe.

It began to make so much sense to me to be able to focus on what is identity, how do we express it about ourselves without language? And as we discovered through the podcast season, we also identify others through language. And sometimes this identification is very positive, very inclusive, very welcoming, and sometimes this identity is very exclusive and could be damaging, labeling and not go in the direction of freedom and welcome for the other.

0:03:19.4 Norah Jones: So identity was the first thing that began to be experienced as the season of It’s About Language unfolded. The next thing that these conversations kept bringing up over the various episodes was the idea of where we then belong once we have our identity, or where we have belonged that helps to continue to define and grow that identity, because there are cultures where the belonging comes as it were first.

And the identity comes through that belonging, but that relationship of identity and then the need for the celebration of belonging definitely unfolded in the various episodes. There again, there were conversations about those that feel that they do not belong, they feel that they are being excluded, they feel like they have lost their way. All of these things also became part of the very important poignant and powerful conversations that we’ve had, that It’s About Language podcast series.

0:04:35.5 Norah Jones: And last but not least, certainly, is that individuals began sometimes to define where their specific impact could be, had been, what their power was, or as we enjoy saying in these times of superheroes, where their superpower lies. And if you had a chance to listen to any of the podcasts that I broadcast from various World Language conferences, you recognize that for some people being able to name that superpower, they got it. For others, they felt that they couldn’t name it, or that they even didn’t have one.

And as I commented in one of those podcasts, that if people that live, breathe, work, and enjoy language every single day, have trouble recognizing and naming and labeling and entering into their own superpower, what does that mean for those that are out and about in the world, especially our young people, when they feel that potentially they don’t have any impact, anything to offer? Now, we can connect that with the desire to help youth and adults to regain hope.

0:06:02.4 Norah Jones: We can connect that within the healing of the world that we are searching for, we can connect that with pathways to creating possibilities and making sure that we all live together, grow together, at least put up with each other, preferably celebrate each other over the years coming up, because there’s so much in the whole world to lose.

On my website for the second full year of the It’s About Language podcast, I had the following three tag lines, I guess we’ll call them. Find your voice was the first, that’s that identity. Enter the conversation, that’s that belonging. Name your superpower, that’s that impact statement I’m looking for.

But what I recognized in the second season of It’s About Language was that I had those tag lines there, I believe in those tag lines, the identity, belonging, and impact aspects were part of everything that I did with not only the podcast, but also with my workshops and with my sessions and various conferences and talks that I give.

0:07:36.1 Norah Jones: But I realize that in It’s About Language podcast itself, that I had not actually provided that opportunity for you to find your voice and to enter any conversation or to name your superpower outside of the time that I might have asked you if you happen to come across a conference with me.

So this year I’m gonna change it up. This year It’s About Language it’s going to be it’s about you. It’s gonna be it’s about all of us. So I’m gonna be taking a look, still be releasing wonderful conversations, but changing up also with I’m going to go back and going to connect all of us to opportunities, to make a difference in the world that may resonate with you. You see, one of the things that I realized is that my strengths, and I am a Gallup-Certified Coach, so the strength statement has been my story about my own life experiences and my own life impact, and among the main two that I have of the top five strengths are Connectedness. I believe everything has a purpose and a connection, I want to bring that to you.

0:09:09.0 Norah Jones: Another one of my strength is Maximizer, which basically usually means I overwork, but it also can mean that when I see something good, I want it to be excellent. I hear about amazing experiences, now I want to connect it to you as an amazing individual.

So this year, what I’m going to be doing is going and taking us back to one item at a time, as one of the aspects of It’s About Language for this upcoming season. When I do that, I’ll be taking a look at what is the bigger picture into which this action, this activity, this organization, this possibility, this movement, this resource: where does it fit? And I’m going to invite you to think, “Is this where I can put my voice? Is this something that I can speak about or that I want to speak about, or that invites me in a way to speak that I’ve never thought of?

Is this the place that I can find where I belong, at least one other place to be? Is this a new community and new place to communicate, to enter the conversation?” And finally, “Is this the place that I can help to make an impact to change the world?”

0:10:45.0 Norah Jones: You know, one of the things that… Well, it stopped me, but I suspect I’m not alone. There are so many needs in the world, there have always been many needs in the world, but most of us had experienced it up until the fairly recent history here in the world, as something that we might have come across our threshold, we were absorbed in those challenges needs right close to us.

Now, my friends, the whole world is right close to us. We pick up our phones, we go on to social media, we connect in ways we’ve never connected before, and we are inundated by the challenges and needs of the world. And I have found that my story about that, if I’m not careful, is that it paralyzes me. I can’t do a lot, so I feel like I can’t do anything. George Packer of the Atlantic recently shared an article that he wrote when he went to Ukraine.

0:12:02.8 Norah Jones: He writes it more beautifully than I will recite it to you here, but a woman that he met woke up on the day that the invasion began, in her home, recognizing that the explosions came from war that had started right down the street from her, basically. She got in her car, she drove to a friend’s house in the same city, she got out, she woke up the friend and she said, “We are going to do something.” Now, there are several elements in that that I want to reflect back to you as I reflected on it. It was deeply moving to me, it came at a point where I needed to hear that kind of a story.

She recognized there was danger. She got up and she went to connect with another person that she could trust, and it wasn’t in cry of despair, “What are we going to do?” But rather, “We are going to do something.” And they decided right then and there what they were good at, their superpower. They knew that they had a voice, that they could belong to a community, even it was just starting out as a community of two, and they knew they had power.

0:13:32.2 Norah Jones: Some of you that are listening may be aware of a story that circulates on a fairly regular basis about starfish ending up on a beach, being washed up by the hundreds, and about a child, different figures from different versions of the story, going through the beach and picking up one starfish at a time and tossing the starfish back in the sea.

What can one person do when there are not now tens or hundreds, but millions of starfish on the beach? Pick up one. That’s what It’s About Language is going to be about par excellence for this season of change that’s come here now. It’s going to be a way for me to say, “I’ve heard of this. I believe this is something that can through language change the world.” And we know that language is the human enterprise, so this language connection will be in some cases, extremely overt and in others, it will be the nature of the language that you use for yourself. It’ll be the nature of language that’s just out there in the world. We have to use language to be able to communicate what we are doing to ourselves as well as to others.

0:15:00.5 Norah Jones: And I want to bring that connectedness, that Gallup skill of mine and maximize the impact in your life if it’s the kind of community in which you feel you have a voice or can develop your voice, that which you can belong and begin to communicate and to have impact and find your superpower. It might not be for you but the other aspect of this season of It’s About Language is I want you to think to yourself, “If this isn’t in my heart, if this isn’t my starfish, if this isn’t my friend, when the bombs start falling, whose might it be?”

Spread the invitation around, help those around you, potentially those that are paralyzed, losing hope, depressed, or just searching, help those around you to hear there’s a something right here that you can think about. And if it turns out that that particular one doesn’t impact you or anyone else, that’s fine because you know what? Either the next week or the week after that, I’m gonna have another one for you to consider.

We’re going to consider again, each time, the big picture, and why this might be something that’s important for us, why this might be a starfish to pick up. 0:16:30.2 Norah Jones: You have an identity that’s unique and powerful in the world. I hope you know that. If you don’t know it, let’s find it for you. You are worth it. Let’s find it for the friend that may be down or giving up. You have to communicate, you’re a human being. All humans have been working to communicate for the millennia that we have been humans. Let’s find out where you belong. Let’s find out that community. Let’s find out where your word contributes and where others can contribute to you and lift you up. And let’s find that superpower of yours, you have it. Sometimes the most important powers we have are the ones that are invisible to us.

Part of the reason why I am a Gallup coach is to be able to help people to articulate what it is they’re amazing at that they have never noticed before, and that’s part of this, too. So we’ll have interesting conversations again. We’ll have amazing people, they’re just out there. And then we’ll have these opportunities to read about and to listen to, via the podcast, approaches to finding your voice, entering the conversation and finding your superpower and helping others to do the very same thing.

Welcome to It’s About Language. Welcome to It’s About You.

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