Access Point: Courageous Conversations
"The most courageous conversation to have is the one you have been avoiding."
- James McPartland
Whether it is in your sincerest quest to make a good relationship even better, or inside of the intention to turn things around, scheduling a conversation into our lives seems like it should be easy to do. In reality, it's much easier not to do.
You got "here" – wherever "here" is – situation by situation… Or to put it another way – one conversation at a time. We build a great company, or we struggle to hang on to our business. We cultivate a powerful and loving relationship, or we become two ships passing in the night. We struggle, or we excel in school. We tap our creativity on the path to becoming the best version of ourselves, or we fail to prioritize ourselves and learn to live a life of mere survival.
Essentially, we succeed or fail based on the narrative developed from the predominant conversations we have stitched together throughout the days of our life. It is vital to pay attention to what you say, especially when you are speaking to yourself. From this point forward, you should listen to yourself like never before.
Taking responsibility for all the results of our life is a daunting proposition, and yet it is where resolution begins. Progress toward a better "here" in your professional or personal life requires that you identify the conversations out there to be had – the ones with your name on them – and make them happen with all the vulnerability and courage required.
Remember – if you don't have a conversation – you don't have a chance.
While it has been said that the truth will set you free, be aware that it also might make you grumpy. Know that most people want to hear the truth even if it proves to be a bit painful. There is something inside of us that responds wholeheartedly to the people who are straight with us.
Courageous conversations, like any skill to master, takes time and practice. While there never seems to be a perfect time to engage in a courageous conversation, NOW is always the ideal time to start.
Here are a few steps to take as you prepare for any courageous conversation:
Identify – Pick the person, the topic, and a time for the conversation.
Clarify – Describe the topic and provide time for the person to prepare.
Impact – Weigh the impact on you and the other person.
Implications – Consider what happens if nothing changes.
Ownership – Be clear on how you have contributed to the situation.
Goal – Define the ideal outcome.
Action – Co-create a plan to meet the agreed upon ideal result.
13th century Sufi poet Rumi once said: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field, I'll meet you there."
This field can allow us to reap the harvest of a courageous conversation, a space free of judgement, and a patch of land that gives rise to learning.
We all get to choose – we are either justifying or owning our results. If you know something must change, then know that it is YOU who must change it.
Who is responsible for providing the understanding we all seek in life?
Yes, it requires courage and yet you must extend to others what you want to receive. It always begins with you.