Now here’s a line I’m sure you’ve heard (or said) before: “If it weren’t for people, I’d get a lot more done.”
In our heads, that statement seems pretty sound, but how about how miserly, mischievous, and borderline-mean it actually is? Especially for us “enLIGHTened” folk.
As Head Coach of HG Life, as you can imagine, people are my people. I’ve not only coached thousands of them, but I manage a bunch of them, am married to one of them, and come home to a brood of them.
So, if just ONE of them decides to rile me, be rude, or request too much of me, etc. … my whole day could be shot.
In fact, a discord in any of your relationships can lead to a less focused, less effective, and less happy you. Wouldn’t it help if you trusted yourself enough to have the hard conversations with the people in your life whenever a situation arose, instead of ignoring it or pretending an issue didn’t happen? Or worse, grumbling to your most trusted coach (yourself) about it some more, rather than facing the issue head on? Think of the confidence and freedom you would feel if you knew you could resolve any problem you have with the people around you!
It would be life changing.
And, yes, I know it can be scary.
People constantly tell me about the things they are afraid to say, believe they SHOULD NOT say, or about the people to whom they believe they COULD NEVER tell the truth. Well, I am here to lay witness to countless success stories of people learning to speak up, and you would not believe the intimacy and benefits that followed. The results they experienced were far beyond what they ever expected.
Having tough conversations is a skill. And it’s the mastery of this skill that has helped me through so much in my life that I do not know what I would do without it. I’ve had difficult conversations with everyone in my life, from my boss to my best friend, and each time it elevated the level of intimacy between us.
Since I want the same for each of you, I will provide a few tips on how to make your relationships with your people much more effective … and delicious!
1. Go Public
Tell the people in your life that you want an honest relationship in which you both tell each other how you think and feel, even when it’s not pretty. Promise them, and ask in return for their promise to put the sanctity of the relationship above the momentary fear of what might happen if you talk about real things that may be uncomfortable to discuss.
This tactic works in business relationships, too — you just have to frame it a bit differently. Fact is, everything that isn’t being said still gets played out. If you’re angry or upset with a person in your head, they will feel it, even if what is coming out of your mouth is nice. They may hear sweet, but, trust me, they feel the upset.
You would have a lot more power, and a lot less drama, if you decided the policy is always to bring things up before they ever fester. At HG, we have something called the 3-grumble rule. If you grumble in your head about someone more than 3 times, you must go and talk to the person about it. It’s a good rule to have, it’ll keep you communicating and discussing the ‘unsaid’ with the people in your life.
2. Use Grace
This means giving people the choice of when, and how, they want to have the tough conversations. You ask permission, you set aside appropriate time, and you frame the conversation in a way that takes care of the other person. Remind the other person of the positive reasons for talking and make it clear that you are voicing your perspective and it is only a perspective, not the truth.
3. Practice Wisdom
Sometimes we are “too nice” when having a difficult conversation and don’t end up saying what’s really bothering us. Promise yourself that you will express exactly how you feel and what is going on in your head. Ensure that you share exactly what you need from the other person so that they know, rather than guess. Without this pledge, you won’t ever really get what you want. What you’re NOT saying is what is actually getting in the way of all the right lessons, growth opportunities, and successes for which you are waiting. How exciting!
Now, it may not always be pretty at first. You will definitely have to change how you communicate and it will potentially stir others up, but if you make expressing yourself and make truth telling your policy, then your life will start to align with your dreams very quickly!