Change Your Language Change Your Life

Every time I hear the word, “crisis”, my skin crawls. I know that this is technically a crisis, but do we have to keep using that word for everything that is happening around us during this Corona Virus stay-at-home time?

How do you feel when people describe what is happening to all of us as a crisis? Does it change your mental state? Physiologically, does it change how you physically feel?

You might think that I am looking through rose-colored glasses. Actually, what I am doing is protecting how, where and when I move. You see, I move in the direction that my mind takes me. If I think in terms of crisis, then I will stop or make moves based out of fear. Conversely, if I think of this environment as a “crazy time” or a “wild ride”, then I see myself controlling some part of it all. If I am in control, then I can change some parts of it and how it impacts me and those I care for.

They allowed the outside world to drive their emotional state and their daily actions.

I had a time in my childhood when I was quite literally all by myself. I sat there watching as the adults around me failed to be responsible for their actions. After years of watching this happen, I realized that their thinking was flawed and their focus was off. Without sharing too many details to protect their privacy, they were wrapped up in a belief that external things determined their direction. They allowed the outside world to drive their emotional state and their daily actions. Thus, they demonstrated how losing control of our thoughts will most likely determine our behaviors and our results. Since then, I fight every day to protect my thoughts and the words I use. I am intentional.

During this COVID-19 pandemic (Really dislike this very real word too!), I am not ignoring that we are facing very tough times. We have a long road ahead. Nonetheless, in many ways, I have been through much harder times than these. This might be true for you too. I am still here. You are too. Let’s commit to changing our language around this time in our history.

As a leader in my home, I am choosing to help my children see that I choose how I think and behave despite what is happening around us. I pray that they will not live in fear or remember me as a mother who focused on the wrong things, or used my emotions as an excuse to make bad choices. Hopefully, they will recall how I changed my language around this time to create a new reality for us all. Maybe, we can make history together and stop the insanity our language creates.

We are on this wild ride together!


Heather Younger
Heather Younger
Heather Younger gets it. As a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator, and Forbes Coaches Council coach, she has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies – large and small - tick. Heather has facilitated more than 150 workshops, reaching +100 employers and their employees. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Companies have charted their future course based on her leading more than 100 focus groups. In addition, she has helped companies see double-digit employee engagement score increases through the implementation of her laws and philosophies. She has driven results in a multitude of industries, including banking, oil & gas, construction, energy, and federal and local government. Heather brings a tenacious and inspirational outlook to issues plaguing the workforces of today. Her book “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” hit the Forbes Must-Read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organization's dynamics. Heather’s writing can also be found on her blog at EmployeFanatix, as well as articles in Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, American Express Open Forum, and more. Coupled with her Leadership with Heart podcast, weekly videos, and employer newsletters, Heather stays connected to organizations long after she leaves the stage or conference roomWhen all the emails are returned and the mic is turned off, and Heather acts as co-manager of her busy household in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, where they oversee their four children.

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  1. David Marquet (Turn the Ship Around) has just published a new book, LEADERSHIP IS LANGUAGE. It is a deep dive – he is a former Navy submarine captain – into what and how we say it as leaders. And how we say it is not just verbally, it’s also through our behaviors. If we say “crisis” and demonstrate fear to our children, partners and colleagues, we communicate one thing. If we say “crisis,” but demonstrate bravery, curiosity (looking for COVID-19’s silver lining), even humor, we communicate something entirely different.

    Thank you for raising this important issue, Heather.

  2. Heather, thank you for sharing your article. Yes, the word crises is a scary word. It’s been used in a variety of situations. This is a time like none other that many of us have known. However, people care to communicate in terms of words is something we cannot control. I have chosen despite health issues that put me in the “high risk” category (I have not used this term since I left the insurance business when people were judged on their “risk” factor) to be grateful for each day of life and health G-d gives me. Stay safe and well.

  3. Heather, when Confucius was asked how he’d restore order to the world, he said: “First, I’d straighten out the language.” And it’s no coincidence that John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word.” Words, language, are the precipitants and determinants of order. We can only bring order to chaos with words and our adherence to them.

    In that context, this completely grabbed me: “They were wrapped up in a belief that external things determined their direction. They allowed the outside world to drive their emotional state and their daily actions.” They did that because they believed everything was out of control, beyond their ability to control anything, in a state of chaos; consequently, they lived in fear.

    You, on the other hand, through mindfulness of your thoughts, words, and actions, live in hope. Thank you for sharing your hope with all of us. Your timing couldn’t be better.

  4. This is so important, Heather, thank you for sharing. Yesterday I read a letter from a teacher to the parents of her 5th grade students. The context was that when parents say things in front of their children about how hard this time is, how stressed they are, they are likely contributing to a dangerous narrative for their children – that the child has some role to play in the difficulty, that they are somehow responsible for the parent’s stress, anger, and frustration.

    While it’s important for kids to see vulnerability in their parents, we have to be intentional about how we share it with them.

    • We really do. My son has been coming down in the basement to workout now that he sees me doing it consistently. Being intentional is the key!

  5. I agree Heather.
    However, I don’t like to hear: ‘long road ahead’ either… 😉
    A friend used the Crisis word one time with me, and I actually thought it was greatly out of proportion to what was really going on. I get what you’re saying.
    In comparison, I can think of being in a far worse condition, so that’s where I keep my head too.
    So far, so good.
    Great article. To the point!

    • Love it and get it, Laurie! There is no way around the reality, but in our minds, it can be what we make of it.