Alphabet Soup

Finding Vision and Values Via the letter “C”

When I left my corporate job to start my own business, one of my first priorities was to select a name for this shiny new enterprise. It became quickly apparent that this is no easy task. I spent multiple brainstorming sessions scribbling ideas on big chart paper, awaiting that satisfying feeling of success. It remained elusive for quite some time.

Finally, a pattern emerged, interestingly comprised of words starting with the letter “C.” These were really good words, aligned with my values and my vision of what my work would entail. Happy with this new development, I dove deeper into these words, and finally, an epiphany occurred. C-Link, Inc. was born. More importantly, I also had C-words for HOW I would do my work.

The “what I do” words constantly morphed over the nearly 20 years I spent on my own. They started as Communication, Coaching, Counseling and Change Management. I was pretty tricky in those early days, adding the moniker: “Linking it all together: Do you ‘C’ the Possibilities?” Dorky taglines aside, I loved the idea of being able to use my learnings and tools from a variety of past efforts to offer a more robust product/solution to my clients. Over time, the words shifted to Coaching, Culture Change and Creativity. When I ended C-Link late last year, my focus was Coaching and Creativity, the latter representing my writing.

The second set of C words — my values if you will — have remained consistent over the years: Creativity, Catalyst, Caring, Courage.

The letter “C” truly offers amazing words; it must be the envy of the alphabet.

In transitioning to my new business, betsyhemming LLC, I find that I miss all of those lovely words. Yes, I understand that they are still there for me, jumping up and down behind the scenes, ready to serve. Creativity literally kicked me in the butt at the beginning of the year, urging me to get after all of that writing I had promised myself I would do. Thank you, Creativity!

It also made me wonder if I would make any changes in that second set of C words, given my shift in direction. So I sat down with blank paper once again and let the ideas emerge. Interestingly, the first one to show its little C head was Curiosity. I nodded appreciatively at this insight, as curiosity has been a life-long friend. As a young child, my grandfather called me “Why,” because of all the “why” questions I asked. As a newspaper reporter, curiosity was a huge part of the toolkit. To this day, I’ve always been highly curious about almost everything. It truly resonates.

Another word that showed up is Confidence. Now this is a dicey one, as sometimes confidence is viewed negatively, as overconfidence or ego. But that’s not the concept whatsoever. Interestingly, confidence emerged as a strength of mine when I went through a fascinating exercise at the University of Michigan called “Reflected Best Self.” It is a simple exercise, in that you ask a number of people who know you well for two to three stories about when you were at your best. Then you study the outcome and find themes. I was surprised to find many stories of how confident I had been in difficult situations. I was not aware of being perceived that way and it was truly a gift, one that deserves to be leveraged.

Finally, Crazy paid a visit. Not crazy in any negative way, but more playful, innovative, even eccentric. Somehow, it feels right.

More information on the Reflected Best Self exercise is available at It’s also very helpful to identify one’s values: Feel free to use all of the letters of the alphabet in your exploration.

My reflection was useful for two reasons. First, it confirmed the longevity of these words of great meaning and second, it reminded me of how important they are to me. In other words, it was a CREATIVE exercise that CATALYZED my approach to my new business, and I am CONFIDENT that it will pay off.

I COULD go on and on…CRAZY indeed.




Betsy Hayhow Hemming is an author and leadership coach. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction.

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Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming is an author and leadership coach. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction.

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