Want to become more effective in the difficult conversations in your life? Sometimes our conversations don’t play out that well, run off the rails, and people leave feeling demoralized or belittled. We know what it’s like to walk away from a conversation that we are still carrying hours, days, or even years later. That is why we’ve created this FREE resource entitled 15 Ways to Turn Hard Conversations into Win-Win Dialogue It will help you start to navigate even the most challenging discussions. Click here to download the guide now!
Human beings are hardwired for conflict.
We misunderstand. We are misunderstood. We look at things through different lenses and forget what our mothers told us about walking in someone else’s shoes.
You will be hard-pressed to find someone who has not had their fair share of conflict in life—and that is not a bad thing.
Healthy conflict often represents an opportunity for growth and greater understanding. It is not the conflict that presents the biggest challenge, it how we process through and react to the conflict that gets us into trouble.
Even more than being hardwired to have conflict—we are hardwired to avoid it when it comes.
Conflict usually means a difficult conversation is needed. And difficult conversations, by their very definition, are difficult.
We want to avoid the things that don’t feel good. But often, we are only perpetuating the problem by doing so.
There is a saying I heard a while back that applies to this principle.
My life is perfectly designed to get the results it is getting.
It is a simple statement, but a profound one.
Our lives are perfectly designed to bear the fruit that we produce. We are the architects of that design.
The reason that conflict is prone to repeat itself is because we continue to operate and treat conflict in the same way.
I often use the analogy of a fruit tree.
When we have “bad apples” growing on the tree, our tendency is to pick off the rotting fruit and focus on the more acceptable produce.
We prune the tree, hoping that will take care of the problem.
In reality, we need to treat the soil and look at the root system of the tree.
If you feel stuck in a cycle of fruit that you do not like—it is time to change the design.
Part of changing the design is accomplished by changing your behavior. Learn to lean into the conflict.
Good things are on the other side of the difficult conversation or problem, but you have to be willing to confront and lean into it.
You need to make a proactive approach to changing the design of your life. Until you do—unhealthy conflict will continue to repeat itself.
Avoidance is not resolution.
When conflict is not seen through to the other side, you will find yourself coming back around the mountain to the very same place you started. Another conflict, another strained relationship.
The ability to embrace difficulty and conflict is the road less traveled. We don’t accomplish change overnight. There are baby steps in between.
Change starts with a decision. If you don’t like the fruit you see in your life—make a commitment to do something differently.
Once you have made the decision to change, it is important to find the tools you need to work through the conflict you are facing.
So much of what we offer in our resources equips you to handle the difficult conversations in your life.
We can tell you how to be successful in difficult conversations, but it is up to you to apply those tools in a real-life setting.
After a season of leaning into the conflict, you may feel more uncomfortable than at peace. Facing our problems and strained relationships is not easy. It is normal to feel disjointed or even turned around.
Keeping that in mind—how do we know when we have started to break the cycle of repeated conflict?
Let’s revisit the picture of an apple tree.
When we haven’t taken care of the soil and root system of a tree producing unhealthy fruit, we will only get more of the same apples.
You know that you are experiencing growth in your ability to handle conflict when the fruit of that conflict changes.
For example, maybe you have a tendency to blow up in an argument. The fact that you have learned to keep your cool when people disagree with you is “new” fruit.
What if your knee-jerk reaction is to avoid the conflict? You don’t fight, you take flight. New fruit would look like speaking up and addressing the conflict with the other party in a respectful but confident way.
Success is when you and the other party are able to process what you need to process, and resolution is a mutual goal.
A person knows when they bite into a bad apple, just like they know when they bite into a good one.
You know when the quality of your relationship is waning, and you know when it is thriving.
Healthy process is possible. We may be hardwired for adversity, but we are not hardwired for failure.
Your life is what you make it.
Design it for success by choosing to lean into the struggle. You and your relationships are worth the effort.
These are just a few insights that will help you navigate those critical conversations in your life and career, but there’s so much more.
There are powerful tools that can really help you become more effective, and we at Ember Learning are here to help. With over 25 years of professional consulting in top businesses around the country, we want to share some of our top insights with you.
Download our FREE PDF “15 Ways to Turn Hard Conversations into Win-Win Dialogue” now!