No one says no to conversations that they find enriching but how much of life is like that? Have you ever consciously looked at the communication that you have in your day and categorised it? It is a vital key in building a flourishing life. Too often you settle for the mundane. In this blog Kate Griffiths explores why your communication may not be flourishing and what it takes to have a big conversation as well as giving you some tips on how to go about it.
You want to be happy. One of the ways to greater fulfilment comes from having more sparkly conversations. Have you ever audited your daily communication? I like to think that there are layers of conversation. Some are chore based – Have you done your homework? Did you put the bins out?
The next level up is the safe conversations. Did you have a great holiday? Nice weather we are having for this time of year. You probably conduct these ones on auto-pilot. How often when someone asks you how you are feeling do you give them all the facts? I bet that most of the time you say I am fine or great even if that it is far from the truth!
To have a conversation where there is deep connection, takes time. You need to find the right space that is conducive for this kind of communication. You need to check in with yourself. How centred are you? In other words if you are going to have a big conversation, one in which you might be broaching tricky subjects, you need to feel into yourself, deeply connect with your essence. You also need to consider the timing and the place where you going to have it.
I hear you say what do you mean prepare myself? And plan for a conversation, are you mad? No you can say pretty much anything and create whatever you want in this life, with a little prep! If it’s that easy then why don’t you do it? Here are a couple of reasons:
- You wear your I am so busy badge with pride that you fill up every moment of the day
Wrong! Did you know that Gandhi used to build in extra meditation time when he had a busy day so that he would be prepared mentally for whatever showed up. Meditation or quiet, reflective time is vital to being successful. When you tie up your identity with being busy then of course you will not make time to stop. That could be scary, what would you find? The thing is when you are running around like a blue arsed fly, you have no idea what you want or really even what impression you want to create. It is just next! Next! Like a production line.
2. What’s the pay off?
Nobody likes to change and many find themselves resisting any change. Put another way, there is always some benefit to the way that you are conducting your life even when you are not getting what you want. Do you get a kick from people pitying you – the martyr complex? Another addictive pattern is the victim, an archetype which is present if one bad thing after another is happening in your life.
Hopefully that has given you some insight into your own patterns. When you operate from this space, you are in a place of disconnection from self, the Universe and others. You are numb to your own feelings. The first step to moving forward is owning it and then I urge you to spend some more time just being.
You may have already realised this but still dread having those big conversations. If you don’t recognise the patterns above, here is another lens through which to examine this reluctance to discuss the undiscussables. If you are really sharing how you feel, putting yourself out on a limb that is all about being vulnerable and taking off the mask for a moment or two. That is very challenging. What if you get rejected when you are in this space? It feels risky to reveal so much of yourself when you first do this. Yes it does. All I can say is that the rewards are worth it. Let me share an example of where I was tested on that myself recently.
I was in a collaboration that was going swimmingly. For the first three months everything was easy. We decided we wanted to run a programme in this amazing venue and within three months we had designed and delivered it. Everything flowed. We delighted in each other’s company and deliver great value to the participants on our programme. What could go wrong? It was at that moment we hit a rock.
It seemed impossible to surmount. We sensed each other closing down. I agonised for ages about what to do. We worked so well together. I did not want to lose what we had created. It felt like it was the first step on the way to something much greater. In the end I poured out what I felt in detail in writing initially including the fears that I had. This led the way for an exchange of ideas and a follow up conversation. Within a week, our relationship was on an even firmer footing. I felt blessed.
I have never been one to write the six steps to (fill in the blank with whatever you want) guide. That said I believe in providing good content and that means giving you some tips on how to do this for yourself:
- Before you even pick up the phone/ write/ speak to the other person, check out with yourself what is really going on? What has triggered your sense of disconnection with the other person?
- If you find yourself blaming them then you are probably not being entirely honest. Remember it takes two to create a misunderstanding.
- Be transparent about where you want to get to at the end of the conversation.
- Start the conversation by acknowledging all the good in the relationship/ venture as well as what you appreciate about them.
- If you can be honest about how scared you are feeling and share your fears. This means that they can see your humanity and that you are taking a risk.
- Always go into any conversation with a learner mindset. For me that means being open to learning new things and not being wedded to a specific outcome.
- It is always vital to offer the other person options and to explore how they feel and where they are coming from so you can jointly decide on the best course of action going forward.
- Recognise it may take more than one conversation to find a resolution and having an inner knowing that if you come from a place of good intention, a way forward will emerge.
The reason that big conversations are so difficult is that we like to feel safe. Every time we communicate with another, we have an opportunity to build rapport. Relationships are also based on trust so when something goes wrong, you may either doubt yourself, the other person or the relationship. When there is limited or no trust, it is much harder to feel safe as more difficult to build rapport. That is why when this happens in a business context, organisations often bring in a trained facilitator like me to help teams and leaders have those kinds of conversations.
I would love to hear how you get on with these techniques. Go on be brave and take that first step and let me know your thoughts about it all.
Kate Griffiths has worked as a change consultant and coach in a range of organisations for over twenty years. She now works primarily with conscious business owners and leaders that recognise the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and are trying to work out what the new ways of doing business look like. She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation. She also leads mindfulness workshops and leadership programmes for soulpreneurs. If you want to get a flavour of her work then do sign up for the morning taster session she is running on 8 November – http://bit.ly/1a5ANay