Last week, my team got together for Crucial Conversations training. I recently experienced conflict with my neighbor, and since then, haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been complaining that allergies must really be bothering me or going back to school prep is stressful because I feel tired. I was falling behind on blogging and blamed it on simple writer’s block. This training came at the perfect time to help me see what the true root cause was. I am stuck because I need to have a crucial conversation.
Do you also feel stuck? Feel like a hamster in the wheel, but the wheel is getting slower because you have lost your mojo? How do you know if you too need to have a crucial conversation?
You know you have a Crucial Conversation in your life if what you need to discuss meets these criteria:
- The stakes are high
- There are opposing opinions
- There are strong emotions
Can you think of a conversation you need to have in your personal or professional life? Are you ready to have a discussion?
The first step is to “Start with the Heart”, and think about what you want out of this conversation. This makes so much sense as we are always saying “begin with the end in mind.” You must first get real as to:
- What do I really want for myself?
- What do I really want for others?
- What do I really want for the relationship?
This all speaks to intent. Before we go head first into a crucial conversation, what is our intent? By identifying this and being crystal clear in our end game, we can better prepare for the conversation and potentially get out of our bad habits of playing the victim or the villain.
As Jimmy Carter recently said on relationship advice:
“Just be able to admit you MIGHT be mistaken and that the other person MIGHT be right”
I tend to play the victim in conflict. I hide and lick my wounds. I patiently wait for it all to blow over, but there’s a real impending danger that the neighbor may cross the street the wrong way and I will lurch into a panting, drooling, unladylike villain. Yes, there’s a chance.
I had to really think through my intent.
What is the relationship I want in the end? For me? For my children? What part did I play? Was I mistaken?
In our two days, we learned how to have a crucial conversation by focusing on facts vs. the stories we tell ourselves in our head. How to draw facts and stories out of the other person as well, to gain clarity. We learned how to look for signs that we should draw another tool out of our tool belt.
Was my neighbor right? I have my story in my head, but what are the facts?
I feel ready to face my neighbor, in person, and have a crucial conversation. I already feel the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders and woke up this morning before the alarm and am mentally armed for the week. I shall play the victim no more and get my crucial conversation on.
I’ll let you know how it goes...or I’ll move.