Having a difficult conversation is something that we all have the opportunity to face at some point, whether in the workplace or at home. There is a choice, either have the conversation or don’t!!
Sometimes, it seems too difficult and so whatever the problem is, gets swept under the carpet… to be left to fester forever. In reality, these conversations are often manufactured in our minds as being tougher than they actually are in reality.
If you end up avoiding it, within about 5 seconds, the following thoughts are might flash through your mind:
“I’m really annoyed at x person, I should say something. If I say something, it will affect my relationship with them, or worse still they might say something that I don’t like or don’t want to hear, what do I say? How do I say it… pah… it’s easier just to leave it”.
Of course, this mind-talk is riddled with assumptions and limiting beliefs that you place on yourself. Limiting beliefs are things that you believe to be true, and which hold you back. It’s easy for someone on the outside to give suggestions and ”should haves, but when you are in the grip of discomfort or even panic, even the most common of sense isn’t always palatable.
If you already confront these conversations head on, then you may have already stopped reading, but just in case… you might find the following tips thought provoking too.
1. First thing to do is to recognise your initial response when faced with having one of these make or break conversations. Do you just go in, all guns blazing, avoid it, or take a deep breath and say what you need to despite it feeling uncomfortable or do you have a different response?
2. Establish your trigger point, what are you most fearful of, or most uncomfortable about?
3. Decide what you want to be different, or what will help you have a more successful outcome – you could define success as being that you have the talk, rather than avoiding it, or perhaps to have the conversation in an adult way, or something different.
4. Work out a strategy. This sounds fancy, but it doesn’t have to be, in simple terms it’s about making a commitment to a more successful outcome next time. Define your own success and consider you might approach your next conversation (or to go back and have the one which you’ve avoided!!
5. Take a deep breath and make it happen. It’s so easy for me to write those words and it’s less easy to take action if it’s something which feels stretching to you. However, from personal experience I can honestly say that it does get easier, it is a healthier way of living and also promotes more honest and transparent relationships.
This is a really common theme that comes up for my clients so if it’s something you need to work on, start today.