You know that feeling that bubbles under the surface when you know you need to talk about something but don’t?
Yea… that’s adding to your stress.
Every conversation you avoid adds more stress to your mind, body and life. Whether it’s addressing something that someone has done, talking about something you’re struggling with, or asking for something you need – every time you avoid it, it adds another serving of stress to your plate.
Over the last week, I’ve had a number of chats with the incredible women in Confidently Thriving about the importance of communicating and the relief it brings when you address something important to you, in a productive healthy way – not a ranting, blaming, and attacking (FYI).
These conversations are no doubt the answer to SO MANY issues, yet they are the very conversations we really love to avoid.
We can’t control the outcome. Brene Brown refers to any conversations that include vulnerability as Rumbles, where we are emotionally exposed and the outcome is uncertain.
As humans, we LOVE to control. We try and control as much as possible. We even create false assumptions and stories in order to create some sense of control – yet the irony is, we control very little when something involves another person.
All we can control is our thoughts, feelings, and actions. We can’t control theirs, which we would love to if we could, because then the outcome of these conversations may feel a little more certain.
Here’s the thing, the longer you avoid the conversations you most need, the more you become either frustrated, resentful, angry, or disappointed (possibly all of them).
So, how do you start a conversation you want to avoid? The key question.
Here are the steps I go through when I’m preparing for any courageous or uncomfortable conversations:
✨ Get clear on what you need to say and WHY
The clearer YOU are about what you’ve seen, heard and/or felt, the easier the conversation can feel and the higher likelihood the other person will fully engage with you. If you aren’t certain about why you want to talk about this issue, ask yourself whether the issue is something that needs addressing or whether you might be making something small into something big.
✨ Check your ego
There is no place for ego in productive conversations – you can’t be open to a win/win with the ego present and be open to truly listen. Your ego likes to be right where it can and often will become defensive if it starts hearing things it doesn’t want to hear.
Check your ego before stepping in and if your ego is too loud or the emotions are too raw, sit with it a little longer, process it yourself and then bring up the conversation. The more present you can be, the more powerful the conversation.
✨ Don’t make assumptions!!
Make note of any assumptions you’re making about the other person and then toss them away. We know what happens when we assume? I make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.
Assuming helps no one and it doesn’t create the space for you to fully LISTEN to the other person and be open to having your mind changed.
Leave your assumptions at the door with your ego.
✨ Invite them to have a chat and share your story
Now, HAVE the conversation. Yup, the thing you want to avoid. Have it it. Invite them to a chat and open up. PLEASE use “I” statements. This minimises any attacking “you made me…” “you always…”. When we blame and attack, these conversations never go well.
Using “I” statements takes responsibility for what YOU feel, what YOU saw, and what YOU heard. No two people has the same experience or perception of the world, so we can’t ‘assume’ 🙃 that we we took from a situation is what they intended.
✨ Ask for their story and give them space to talk
Don’t interject and interrupt. This is their time to share their perspective and side based on what you shared with them. This is why your ego needs to be left behind, so you can genuinely listen and be open to have your mind changed (Oscar Tromboli defines this as true deep listening).
Let them explain FULLY before asking questions or before sharing more of your perspective. If you want to be respected in these situations, be sure to show respect first.
✨ Get curious to understand and learn more
Once they’ve shared their story, if you want to understand more or don’t feel like they have fully heard you, get curious and ask more questions. Be open and explain what you’re hearing so they again can share their perspectives.
Remember, you want them to hear you, so you need to make sure you hear them too. It always works both ways.
✨ Ask for what you need and/or what you both can do to move forward
These conversations are two way and need to be respected both ways. So ask for what you need and ask they are willing to agree or create a compromise that works for both of you.
If you can’t find a common ground or agreement, decide what you want to do next. Is it a conversation that needs more exploring and working through or is there a boundary that needs to be placed firmly?
It may not always be easy to find the common ground, however, if you can walk into these conversations with a win/win mindset of making this work for both parties (even if it means that there is disagreement yet mutual understanding).
If the conversation doesn’t go well and emotions are heightened, take a pause and come back. ALWAYS come back! We all process differently. The important part is, that you’re present and stay open and curious.
This outline can help in ANY situation! At work, with family, friends, partners. The important part is to be clear about what you need to say and give space to the other person to have their say.
It may not always go the way you want, that’s life. The important part is that you’ve shared what’s on your mind and heart. Always do so without ego! That is the biggest stress buster there is!
⚡ What conversation are you avoiding at the moment? Drop it in the comments below, I would love to hear and provide insight where I can👇🏼
How did you find these tips? Helpful? Let me know!
I help busy ambitious professionals who feel paralysed, tired and stuck in their life. They instead want to be in control so they have the time and energy to focus on what’s important to them and feel inspired.
Through the proven Tired to Inspired Method, my clients take back control of their life with clarity and direction. They focus on themselves by slowing down, stripping away the mess and stress, and changing the way they see themselves and their life.
They now have the time, energy, and direction to create the life they want and have built the confidence and assertiveness to make it happen.
Find out more about Confidently Thriving, my 8-week transformational group coaching programme that guides you to freedom, direction, high energy using my Tired to Inspired Method. The waitlist for January 2021 is currently open.
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