It’s a true privilege to offer the Art of Tough Conversations teleseminar. For my family, friends and me, it’s a regular practice of alchemizing misunderstandings into more closeness. The cultivation of this simple art is happening almost daily in my home.
Typically, misunderstandings, grudges or disagreements – whether they’ve been in place for a few minutes, hours, years, or decades – require one or two conversations to move the momentum in a new direction. And even when I’m saying I don’t care, if the thought keeps coming back to me, that means it has fuel; it has legs, it has energy behind it. And that energy is taking up precious space in my body and spirit.
The miracle of learning how to have a tough conversation is this: the connection to ourselves that we can make by engaging with others with integrity, care, grace, and wisdom.
BENEFITS OF PRACTICING THIS ART
– Clarity: We don’t actually know what the other person is thinking. One of the first practices in this art is simply asking what someone meant when they said or did what they did. It’s not fair to assume what people hear, or what they think. And, even worse, oftentimes we’ll act and re-act based on our assumptions. The first order of business is learning how to ask what was intended in a way that makes the other person feel safe, supported and ready to share.
– Intimacy/Love: We hide the truth– often in the name of protecting ourselves and others. When we share thoughts, fears, concerns, judgments, even past regrets in a way that helps everyone feel safe, we find that we have so much in common -particularly with the people you love the most, the ones with whom you’ve weathered the most turbulence. Telling the truth and consciously hearing their truth in return helps us be close, and it’s a great privilege of being human.
– Resolution: Tolerating relationships or incidents that feel un-resolved can cause us real physical and emotional discomfort. Consistent practice of the art of tough conversations makes the conversations feel more like helpful interactions, and we become experts at resolving issues efficiently, smoothly, and sweetly. And as you get good at it, those around you become trained in doing the same with you – and suddenly life is so much more relaxing. Also, you realize, gossip has subsided.
– Leadership: Perhaps even more importantly, we all have visions and dreams we wish to see realized. Practicing the art of tough conversations helps us ask the right questions and make the best requests in order to make things happen. If we don’t request, we cannot receive. Practicing asking for what we want builds confidence and personal power, but most of us are so afraid of rejection that we pave its way by avoiding the conversation entirely. True leaders know how to speak up elegantly and thoughtfully. Most of us are scared of being leaders; we’re afraid to fail AND afraid to succeed – we fear we cannot keep success going.
Try this theory: “When I gracefully tell the truth about how I feel and what I want, people relate to me with timely help and care.”
So many clients come back to me with startling success stories from conversations with friends, lovers and families. I’ll share one below from a client regarding her new boyfriend, but remember: difficult conversations aren’t meant to ensure you walk off into the sunset with the other person—their true power is to bring you home to yourself. The lovely byproduct of this interaction can be intimacy, freedom and depth with others.
One client writes:
“When my new boyfriend and I met, I’d just ended a long-term, emotionally chaotic relationship. Shortly after the break-up, I’d picked up my ‘old’ self destructive behaviors; smoking, eating in the middle of the night, picking my face, and not following my autoimmune protocol. I had the tools to transform them, but was way off track. With this new guy, I wanted to put on a perfect facade – even if it wasn’t true.
“After about a week of dating, I realized how amazing my new guy was, and decided to have a go at an honest conversation with him instead. So far he only knew me as the cute girl who works at his coffee shop – and whatever he’d picked up from my Instagram account – a lot of positivity and yoga and meditation. For the first time ever, I decided to tell a new man the real scoop on me: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I told him I’m in a monumental moment of transformation. But I also pointed out that this stirs up quite a bit of anxiety, and I didn’t want to add any more confusion by pretending to be perfect for him, versus being my true self, a girl trying to learn something about happiness.
“I was so afraid that he would run the other direction after hearing about my self-destructive behavior. It was the hardest conversation I’ve had, especially considering my already-strong feelings for him. His reaction was incredible; he thanked me. And then he thanked me again, and again. Turns out, honesty is the most important thing to him, and he was so grateful for my truth and my passion to heal, grow, and evolve, that it only deepened his feelings for me. He told me that he found me more attractive than ever, and wanted to help me however and wherever he could. Thank you for encouraging me to tell the truth and teaching me how to design such conversations.”
Click here to join me for an hour of solid, simple tools to design any conversation and be the person you know you are. We’ll talk about how to ask for what we want, and get better at hearing those around us – whether regarding work, money, a shift in responsibility, clarity in a relationship, or more ease in your home. We’ll learn how to address the world in ways that help us trust ourselves, and our future.