Three Applications to Shift from Avoiding Difficult Conversations to Embracing Heart Conversations
Most of us want to avoid the three C's of difficult conversations -
For many of us, avoidance is often preferred over engaging in a battle of words that destroys confidence, bruises tender egos, and demolishes trust.
But often difficult conversations are necessary and unavoidable.
So how do we engage in difficult conversations?
Before we even begin, we pause and transform the way we view these conversations. We shift from seeing the conversations as hard, difficult, and aggressive to seeing the conversation as an opportunity for growth, progress, and unity.
We embrace these difficult conversations as heart conversations that are led with love.
Once we are in the mindset of having a heart conversation rather than a difficult conversation, we are ready to apply these three applications:
1. Discernment. It is critical to FIRST take time to pause and reflect. It is vital to discern what it is that is really in question. What needs to be solved? What is at the heart of the conversation? Is it a misalignment in how the project should be carried out? Is it simply a difference in the who, what, where, why, and/or how of the mission? Are your ideas or contributions not being heard or considered? Pause. In order to objectively discern the root of the conversation, it's important to take the time to process your feelings first. You do have control over your feelings. You decide how you handle them and how you chose to move forward. You can hold on to them and remain hurt, angry, disappointed or you can acknowledge them, process them, and move forward.
2. Empathy. It is also important to empathize with the other person. Empathy is experiencing an honest and heart-felt identification with the other person. In order to empathize with another person, we need to take time to get to know them. The people we work with are more than their work title. Take time to invest in getting to know the entire person – their family, their health, their personal vision, … Maybe they let the ball drop on a detail because they spent the night caring for a sick parent? Maybe they snapped because they had a horrible fight with their partner that morning? Your co-workers, like you, are complex individuals. They might have been hired to be a "project manager", an "administrative assistant", a "marketing director", etc..., but they are so much more than that. Putting on the mindset of empathy allows you to have compassion and understanding.
3. Forgiveness. The end goal of a heart conversation is unity. Division is often the outcome after a difficult conversation. In order to achieve unity, we need to adopt a spirit of forgiveness. Forgiveness comes after discernment and empathy and moves the conversation forward. Forgiveness is NOT a feeling. Forgiveness is a CHOICE. We choose to forgive and let go. We choose to understand. We chose compassion. We chose to move forward. We choose unity over division. Before you have a heart conversation, embrace the spirit of unity.
The next time you are dreading having a difficult conversation, take a pause... or two... and change your perspective. Make the choice to see the difficult conversation as an opportunity to have a heart conversation.