Two months ago I decided to bring back The Lingo-ist to support, encourage, and empower those navigating the global pandemic known as COVID 19. So many lost jobs, so much despair, and so much chaos. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their words and use them wisely – in all sorts of situations. As we worked to complete this mailing, the protests began. As I write this now, they continue. At least 21 states have called out the National Guard and what was a frequently confusing and frustrating America became exponentially more so.
We’ve pivoted to offer up a few communication tools for you – the individuals who understand the power of their words, who want to increase understanding, and believe in the value of a healthy, positive, public discourse.
In the pre-COVID times, you likely knew where you fit in to your world. You had some kind of defined purpose: copy writer, parent, sister, volunteer, best friend, excellent cocktail creator. Then along came a global pandemic that immediately transformed the way you engage with the world. For many, the in-person social experience of work and school was eliminated. For others, a job ended. Some continue to work in essential businesses but with the added stress and strain and trying to be safe, run a financially sound business, and still cope with the massive transition. Our centers shifted and many of us haven’t taken the time to re-center ourselves. Take that time. Figure out what your new mission or purpose is and how that changes your goals and priorities.
Separate Your Feelings from the Facts
All that fear, stress, and guilt might be coupled with relief to be out of a difficult work situation, joy at having the time to read and relax, or newfound cooking adventures that light you up. Name those feelings and then look at the new reality of your world. Are you employed? Are you and your family healthy? What do you need to do to stay or get healthy? Stay or get employed? Stay or get relatively happy? You can’t erase your feelings but you can work to keep them from negatively impacting your reality. (i.e. just because you feel helpless doesn’t mean you are helpless.)
Channel Stephen Covey
In his perennially wise book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey list Habit 5 as “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In our rapidly changing world, we try – sometimes desperately – to be understood. We want others to see our struggle and recognize our efforts. Rather than raising our voices to be seen, listening to the voices of others may be a better place to start. Put in the effort to understand what you can about those behaviors and beliefs that currently puzzle you. Dig deep for the empathy that will help you begin conversations that matter not only to you but to your community and the wider world.
Your words matter. What you say every day builds the culture in which you live. When you discount someone else, when you take the space that could be better used by more diverse voices, when you hold on to the way things used to be, you aren’t serving yourself or your community as well as you could be. If you’re finding the new world tough to manage, reach out to a friend or a therapist. If you’re looking for ways to be more inclusive, expansive or more aware of the ways in which your words can change the world, we’re here to help.
Talk to you next month,
P.S. I’ve pulled together a few blogs from the past that may provide comfort and actionable ideas as you try to figure out what to say and how to conduct yourself in the most authentic and true way you can.