What’s in a Name

whatsinaname“ What’s in a Name?”

A few months ago we put out a survey to see whether or not we should change the name of the Miracles workshop or not. The reason we felt it might be necessary was that when Sounds True took over the publication of the Radical Forgiveness book, they changed the subtitle.

It used to be “Making Room for the Miracle.” Our Miracles workshop connected with that subtitle, so it had meaning. But they changed it to, “A Revolutionary 5-Stage Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame and Find Peace in Any Situation.”

This is, in fact, much more descriptive of the actual process and indeed the workshop itself, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue as well. It’s not as memorable, either. But it does communicate what the person might expect to achieve either by reading the book or doing the workshop.

Anyway, we asked you all whether, having lost the connection with the original subtitle, we should change the name of the workshop. Well, we had lots of suggestions but nothing really decisive emerged.  

There was a clear split between those who had done the workshop and, having experienced a whole series of miracles in their lives since doing the workshop, very much wanted to keep the name the same, and those who felt it needed to change so people would instantly get what it was about.

Quite honestly, we are still in debate about it ourselves. We are, in fact, in the middle of a complicated process right now looking at what we need to update about our brand and positioning, so this question is one among many that we will be looking at. For now though, it stays as “The Miracles Workshop.”

Those of you that have your own business, will know that names count and that you have to keep adjusting things to make sure you are still communicating with the people you wish to be in touch with, in the right way. You will also realize that titles, banners, logos, and pictures matter a great deal.

So, that’s the process we are in at this time. Don’t be surprised, therefore, if you see some changes in our website in the near future, for example. Or, that I might be offering some new services and products. It is an exciting process.

Another thing that has changed over the last few years is how the word Radical has become much more ubiquitous, to the extent that it has started to become meaningless. Not that I am going to give up using it for Radical Forgiveness, since that is my brand and it remains strong, but I do have to be watchful that it does not simply get lumped in with all the other subjects to which the word radical is now being attached for no other reason that the word has become rather fashionable.

It’s interesting how we take a word that means something extraordinary and then use it repeatedly to describe what is ordinary and commonplace. Take the word awesome, for example. It used to mean that we would be awe-struck by something if we came across it. Now, today, even an ice cream is awesome.

The word Radical is heading in that direction now as well, so I want to make sure that Radical Forgiveness continues to be seen as extraordinary and radically different to anything else out there, with the possible exception of A Course in Miracles with which it has some similarity. That, too, is about forgiveness but not the kind we’ve all been conditioned to believe is little more than letting bygones be bygones.

It’s worth looking at the dictionary definition of the word radical. It gives two. First, it adds gravitas to the subject to which it refers in that it implies having got to the very root or essential core of that subject. Second, it also makes the subject, if not exactly revolutionary, certainly is cutting edge and very much out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately, it has also become associated with extremist politics and even terrorism. This has caused some foreign publishers to avoid the word altogether. Nevertheless, I think I can still get away with using it to qualify a word like forgiveness, at least in the U.S. and UK. But I still need to keep my eye on it.

Brad Blanton wrote a book in the early 90s called Radical Honesty, and I am not ashamed to say I followed his lead and called my first book, Radical Forgiveness. But at that time the word radical still carried its true meaning and, with my book anyway, led people to ask themselves, in what sense is this form of forgiveness cutting edge or phenomenon in a way that is radically different to ordinary forgiveness. It was more than just a cute label. Same with Brad Blanton. His approach to being honest was truly radical too.

But that has changed. If you look in Amazon, you will even see now, two or three books with the title, Radical Forgiveness as well as other books with Radical in the title. That word is now over-used and degraded. Without the word Radical to qualify forgiveness, people will default back to how it was seen when the word radical was not attached to it. These changes could easily blunt my message and my brand.

That’s why it is important that I keep finding ways to explain just how different Radical Forgiveness is from traditional forgiveness and the extent to which when we embrace the worldview on which it rests, we are changed by it. I mean, fundamentally changed. Jolted out of our slumber, if you will. Awakened to a wholly new reality. When we embrace the underlying assumptions of Radical Forgiveness, we see everything through different eyes.

Neither is it just about healing some terrible trauma or grievance that occurred in the past and is therefore only applicable to a few people who need it. Radical Forgiveness can do that really well, of course, and do it very quickly, but it is so much more than this.

It is a way for anyone and everyone to deal with everyday problems and challenges as they occur so as to move through them with ease and grace. It is a way of living consciously and with awareness of how everything is connected and meaningful, so we don’t become trapped in fear and wallow forever in victim consciousness.

It’s about finding peace and happiness in our lives and being responsible for what happens instead of blaming everyone else or beating ourselves up for making mistakes or not being good enough.

6 thoughts on “What’s in a Name

  1. Marilyn mileham

    How about keep both ?
    Maybe use quotes around “Miracles”!
    Or ️Add AKA “The Miracles Workshop”
    I like the added descriptive info of what you can expect
    From the workshop and if people are having Miracles! This needs
    To be shared!
    I see your dilemma
    I muscle test on just about everything
    It is important to be hydrated when muscle testing

  2. Alex Beliakou

    Frankly speaking, the current name/title “The Miracle Workshop” is not informative at all. Some people may even think that it is some kind of entertainment like part of the circus performance (magicians) or whatever. It is recognized only by people who already know what it means. If you want to attract new people to the workshop then you need to have a more informative and descriptive name/title. You also can still keep the old name in brackets at the end of the new name/title for transition purposes, like for example ““A Revolutionary 5-Stage Process to Heal Your Wounds and Change Your Life (The Miracle Workshop)”.

  3. Debbie Unterman

    Colin, I appreciate your historical background around your thought process. It’s interesting to see how the world embraces new concepts and words such as “radical” rendering them ubiquitous. But is that good, bad or indifferent? In your case I understand the Google analytics that may pop up in certain countries today around the word which can mean something completely antithetical to your definition, can be a problem. But I think it’s still a good word.

    I’ve told you many times that I can mention you and/or Radical Forgiveness to almost anyone anywhere and almost everyone has heard of one or both. That means you have become ubiquitous, too, so I wouldn’t worry too much about people not understanding your meaning of the word.

    I’m not going to chime in on the discussion of the Miracles Workshop because you will figure that out and make a final decision that is best for you. But I wanted to continue the discussion of words. My first encounter with the word “radical” was in the early 70’s when my favorite Sociology Professor made us read his favorite book that he based his classes on, called “Radical Man,” by Charles Hampden-Turner, an Englishman.

    I still have my textbook from 1970 which claims on the cover that he was “radicalized by the culture shock of attending the Harvard Business School’s MBA program.” He has quotes from Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow on the back cover endorsing it. The book compares the virtues of being “Radical” to those deficits in the opposite traits he calls “Anomic” (rooted in fear and mistrust). I’m sure Hampden-Turner has been watching the evolution of the term “radical” over the last 55 years; although “anomic” is still a word barely heard.

    It reminds me of the work I do called “Alchemical Hypnotherapy” that was given its name in 1983. I was trying to persuade the creator of it to change the name from such an obscure term that I was afraid no one would understand, but he said it was channeled to him from his guides. I’ve watched over the last three decades how that term, (especially in the form of “Alchemy”) has emerged and become ubiquitous as well. I never would have believed it back then, that the world would catch up to the word.

    I remember when we were trying to come up for a name for your game, and when you said “Satori” I was worried people wouldn’t understand that. I’m glad you linked “The Game of Radical Forgiveness” to it. I wonder if you have any second thoughts about that, or what the feedback has been about that brand?

  4. Carmela

    I think the name can include the part about “5 steps to heal relationships, blame and find peace.” Maybe shorten it a little so it says the same thing just stating it more briefly. People have short attention spans.

  5. Stephanie Pharo-Hanson

    Hi Colin,
    I agree that the title of the workshop gives little away about the nature of it.
    What about ‘Radical Expansion Workshop’? I know it’s similar to ‘Expanding into Love’ but it has some power to it that may draw people in, they are radically expanding their perception or views taking on this work. I like the continuity of using the word Radical as it gives those who know you a familiarity and all the newbies a sense of joining something. Particularly here in the UK, when I talk to people about our work it seems to be reassuring to them that Radical Forgiveness and Radical Living are already well established.

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