Having a difficult conversation is an issue that came up with a couple of my clients this week and got me thinking about how I deal with them.
Do I get angry and release my frustrations by shouting or do I say nothing and bottle my feelings up, suppressing them with resentment?
In all honesty, I probably do a bit of both and in some situations, I’m able to follow my own advice and be assertive.
I recognised that the way I react depends on who I want to have the conversation with and my thinking in that moment.
For example, I will tackle an issue with my husband or kids head on. But with people I don’t know as well I might avoid any confrontation and instead swallow down my feelings. That gives me the message that I don’t value myself enough to speak up. Then the hurt I’m feeling often comes out non-verbally in my body language.
Does this sound like you?
Whether it’s your boss and colleagues at work or a family member who’s upset you. It’s important to voice how you feel and be heard.
How do I approach having a difficult conversation?
Before you start the conversation ensure the initial wave of emotion has passed so you can have a calm and confident interaction.
Then check whether the environment is suitable for your conversation. A busy open-plan office with others earwigging may not be ideal.
Once you’re ready to speak use my 4 steps to avoid conflict and get the outcome you’d like:
Be curious and compassionate – start by asking questions to understand their perspective and any facts that might explain their comments or behaviour. Most people are only trying to do their best in any situation. So before you offload, check their view of things.
Acknowledge – listening to the other person is essential to show respect but isn’t enough to help them feel heard. You also need to acknowledge you’ve understood what they’ve said even if you don’t agree with them. For example;
I understand that you were giving me important feedback…
3. Self-Respect – this is the part where you get to talk about your feelings and to show respect for yourself by speaking up. Stick to ‘I’ statements rather than blaming the other person as they’re less confrontational. For example:
I understand that you were giving me important feedback, however I felt embarrassed that it was in front of others and upset as I didn’t have a chance to explain.
4. Options – you might not always need to include this when you’re having a difficult conversation, but if you do keep it positive and concise. For example;
I understand that you were giving me importnant feedback, however I felt embarrassed that it was in front of others and upset as I didn’t have a chance to explain. I’d appreciate it if in future we could discuss this seperately.
Do you have any difficult conversations coming up or have you avoided any recently?
If you’d like some advice, do tell me about your situation by replying to this email or booking a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com. I’d love to hear from you.
Be honest we’ve all had a grudge or resentment that we cling onto, analyse and allow to spiral out of control.
Whether it’s the party you weren’t invited to, the friend who owed you money and didn’t pay it back or the family member who criticises you to others.
An outsider may think some of these hurts are trivial, but they’ve built up to be a real issue for you. That means you’re going to hold onto the grudge and poke it every so often to check it’s still painful.
The problem with hanging onto your grievances is that the only person their hurting is you.
When you can forgive the perpetrator, it’s not them who benefits but you.
Research has shown that when you harbour a grudge, your brain thinks it’s under threat and releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The job of these hormones is for fight or flight, so you go into an anxious and stressed state.
However, if you can forgive the grudge, you stop feeling like a victim and become more optimistic, confident and compassionate.
Does it matter who is right or wrong if you’re the only one in pain?
How do I let my grudges go?
Do you find yourself playing little films in your mind of a painful situation and reinforcing your resentments?
To change your perspective on the scenario, imagine yourself connected to the other person by strings. Then visualise yourself cutting those strings and floating away with compassion.
It’s also true that when we find it hard to forgive others. It’s because we also need to forgive ourselves for our part of the experience.
Finally, remember that everyone is trying to do their best with the resources and experiences they have (including you). If you assume there is another reason you don’t know about for the other person’s behaviour. It becomes easier to put down your load of resentment. Then you’ll feel lighter, happier and self-assured.
How would you answer the question: “Are you a success in life?”
I know many people who would say that they are not successful; at least they have not reached success in the areas that feel important to them. I have been one of those people.
So, I asked myself “What keeps me from being successful?” It took me a while to come up with the answer but I realised that I was holding myself back.
Why? Well, maybe I was afraid that when I started something I would fail. Maybe I was afraid that I was not “one of those people” who get everything they go after. Maybe I felt that I didn’t deserve success in life.
The truth is that I didn’t believe that I was able. I was not able to be successful, able to be happy, or able to fully enjoy my life. Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
If you want to be truly successful in life (and who doesn’t?) then, first of all, you have to learn to believe in yourself. If you don’t think that you can be successful, then who will?
Life success does not mean that you will not fail but it means that your mistakes will teach you something and show you a better way to get what you want.
These are the tips that have helped me get over the fear of being successful and finally believe in myself:
The truth about thought. Not all thoughts are true, but we can have a habit of engaging in and believing negative thoughts. We have thousands of thoughts a day and if left alone those thoughts will pass through just like clouds in the sky, with a new one popping up soon. Once you understand this, negative thoughts can lose their power
Continually remind yourself that you are part of something larger than you. Fear often has to do with worrying about uncertainty, feeling out of control, and wondering what your life’s purpose is. When you realize you are part of a bigger picture, even if you don’t fully understand what that is, it’s easier to ascertain that you both deserve and need to be successful and happy.
Do you take time to reflect on your life and figure out your purpose in this world? Unfortunately, most of us get so caught up in responsibilities and goals that we forget to enjoy our lives.No matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself. It can be just 10 minutes a day, but this time must belong to you. If you give yourself the luxury of free time then you will notice that the rest of your responsibilities will get easier.You will be a better parent. You will be able to come up with creative ideas at work (and finally get that promotion.) AndYou will be able to take better care of your health. You will reduce your stress and experience the joy of living.
Learn. People are always scared of what they don’t know. On my first appearance on Sky News, I was scared to death because I didn’t know anything about live television and not much about the subject of overweight people being paid less! I was forced to learn about everything and now I feel absolutely at ease with the media.If you have a fear of something you just have to educate yourself about it. It is like walking into a dark room. At first, you feel scared and don’t know what to expect but once you turn the light on, everything gets clear and simple.
Live in balance. No matter how important success might seem to you, it is still important to follow it with balance. Otherwise, your journey towards success will turn into an obsession that will ruin everything that you truly love in life.
Success is not a destination.
It’s a journey, and it’s important that we take each step feeling grounded and balanced. Spend time with your loved ones, enjoy your hobby or follow your passion, take care of your health and grow spiritually. This is the meaning of true success, the one that you can achieve only in balance.
I believe that you are able to be successful. It is your right and purpose in life to be successful in whatever you are doing. If you believe in that then nothing will ever stop you from living a balanced and joyous life.
If you know that you sometimes put the handbrake on your own success, but are READY to breakthrough your blocks and step up in your career & life, why not book a Success Breakthrough call with me using my online calendar at www.speakwithjo.com
How much of your time do you spend judging others? I’m ashamed to say, that as much as I think of myself as a kind and thoughtful person, I do judge and sometimes quite harshly.
When I really thought about this behaviour, I realised it was ingrained in me and had become a habit.
If I saw someone wearing something inappropriate or outdated, I’d think “Wow she need’s some fashion advice!” or if the customer service in a restaurant is slow or offhand “What’s his problem? No tip for the grumpy man”
Even with friends if they cancel at the last minute or aren’t supportive, I automatically assume they don’t care enough and aren’t good friends.
Does this behaviour make me feel better? Absolutely not, now I have guilt for my thoughts as well as anger at the person or situation.
Then I think, if I’m judging others they’re judging me too, how scary! Because, I’ve let friends down, worn odd outfits and been so up in my head to come across as grumpy. It would be awful to think of others talking about me for that.
Worst of all, when we judge others it reinforces our judgement of ourselves and when we judge internally it’s usually far harsher.
This behaviour is often how we bond with others, especially other women. Moaning about someone else can create a shared warmth and a temporary connection. But there are better ways of creating a more permanent connection.
The main reasons we judge others are because:
We maybe insecure and unhappy and think putting others down will make us feel better
We may feel lonely or isolated and want to bond with others,
We can feel scared of or intimidated by others and judge them to feel better ourselves
As you can imagine none of this is beneficial to us, instead it can damage relationships, affect our self-esteem and hurt other people.
Which, means it’s time for us to break the habit of judging and then we can be kinder not only to others but also to ourselves.
I’ll be using these tips to change my judging habit:
Be aware of your thoughts. When a behaviour is a habit we can be unaware that we’re doing it. So start by noticing when you judge and who you judge (including yourself!)
Look for the positives. If your mindset naturally looks for the negative in people, challenge yourself to start with looking for the positive
Be curious about stereotypes. Stereotyping can be a negative thing, so when you recognise yourself doing it, be curious about what is really true about the person. What is unique about them?
Can you put yourself in their shoes? What might this person be going through?
Focus on the present and your life. If you get distracted by your own problems and drift into judging someone, pull the focus back to your own life, what you want and the good things in your life. But don’t turn the judgement on you either!
Do let me know how you get on and if you’d like to read more there are some great blogs and quotes on the internet about judging others, such as:
When we see other people’s successes, it can be tempting to believe that it came easily to them. Or that it was our bad luck that meant we weren’t successful too.
But the truth is that at the heart of almost every successful business, career or relationship there has been some form of failure.
You’ve probably heard the stories of famous people who talk about all the failures that they had before their fabulous successes. For example, the author J.K Rowling says:
“Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I suspected.”
As uncomfortable as it feels, failure is essential to our self-development and to build our confidence.
I have had my own experience of failures. Such as; when I’ve developed new coaching programmes or tried new marketing methods, which came to nothing.
However, from these setbacks, I have become confident about what I do and resilient if things don’t go well.
If you feel like a fear of failure is holding you back then here’re 5 reasons not to:
You learn more from failure than success. A study at the University Of Colorado has shown that knowledge picked up from successes is easily forgotten. Whereas knowledge from failures tends to stick with us for years
It teaches you how to get up again and be resilient. The more you fail the more your resilience builds and although you may not want to fail, you’ll lose that fear of failure
You get better at taking risks. Those people who are the most confident and successful have a history of taking risks. Learning to step out of your comfort zone and taking even a small risk is essential to building confidence
It reminds you that every phase of life is temporary. What was a big issue at the time when you failed, often becomes less significant as time passes
You can use it to review what is important to you. If you fail to get a promotion or to achieve your goals it can remind you of what is more important in your life
If there’s a goal you want to achieve or an opportunity you’d like to take, but you’re scared you might fail. Then remember that whatever the outcome is, it doesn’t affect who you are or your value to the world.
If you’d like to talk about your goals, your fear of failure or the confidence challenges you have then you can book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Do you have great expectations of Christmas? Do you see the warm and snuggly adverts of happy families and believe your Christmas will be just like that?
It’s very unlikely that many of us will achieve our idea of a perfect Christmas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a fabulous time.
If you want to avoid that feeling of stress and disappointment, which can lead to frustration and the festive blues, then have a think about what is actually realistic to hope for at Christmas and what are just great expectations.
You can then put your personal boundaries in place to ensure it happens.
For example, if you don’t want to be trapped in the kitchen all morning, ensure you delegate jobs and be okay with not being able to control everything!
Or, if you know that long periods of time close up with your family stresses you, then plan in some private time; take a short walk or lock yourself away for a quick snooze.
If like me you love the food and alcohol at Christmas, remember that although they both reduce stress at the time, feeling bloated, hungover or guilty leaves you in a worse place.
Why not have a device free Christmas day? Flicking through photos of other people’s supposedly ‘perfect’ days will only make you feel bad and like you’re missing out. Instead stay present in your day and acknowledge the things about the day that you enjoy.
Are you a people pleaser?
Then you’ll probably be putting everyone’s needs above your own. “We better watch the Queen as Granny loves her”, “I’ll clear up so the others can play games”, “I haven’t got time to sit down, there’s too much to do”.
If that sounds like you then remember you’re equally entitled to enjoy the day and that means having some of your great expectations met.
And if none of that works, it’s just one day!
Wishing all my readers a very happy and confident Christmas and New Year
P.S. If you’d like help to start off 2018 as your best year yet, and to talk about your goals and challenges and how to move forward. Then book yourself a FREE call with me at www.speakwithjo.com