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.
I realise that happiness means very different things to different people, however when I recently read a blog about the path to happiness I was quite shocked.
The writer suggested that in order to be happy we need to build a picture of our perfect life and list the things we need to be happy. They could be an Aston Martin, a high-flying career, weight loss or children.
Now I’m all in favour of setting goals and having a vision or direction in life, but as I’m sure you’re aware, happiness doesn’t come from a relationship, a job or a car, but from inside us.
You may be thinking, that’s easy for me to say, but how do I actually achieve it?
The answer is to focus on 3 things – thoughts, feelings and your attitude to life.
Thoughts – We have tens of thousands of thoughts a day, that pop into our heads. some are positive, some are negative and some are “what shall I have for tea’. We don’t have control over those, but we can choose not to engage in the negative ones
Feelings – Our feelings are the result of our thoughts. In the same way as thoughts, they will pass and be replaced by a different feeling. So if at anytime you are feeling uncomfortable, sit with it and remember this will pass and you are still okay.
Attitude to life – This is about having the courage and confidence to go for life and take risks even when you feel insecure
When you work on all of these, you’ll find a greater contentment and happiness. Then you can still aim for that Aston Martin!
I am a Facebook user, although not it’s greatest fan. I do however often flick through my newsfeed when I’m relaxing in front of the telly at night. It’s through this experience and what my clients tell me, that I’ve realised how damaging it can be to your confidence.
The problem is that social media activates your subconscious to compare and judge. A certain amount of this is natural, but when you are constantly seeing pictures of others having fun and looking good, it triggers your insecurities.
Seeing photos and posts about friends on nights out when you had a quiet weekend can send you into FOMO (fear of missing out).
Or updates about peoples latest gadget or holiday can cause you to want ‘more bigger, better’. These thoughts don’t always go away immediately and can lead to you questioning if you are ‘good enough’.
Recent research from Albright College in Pennsylvania has shown that people with less confidence are more likely to boast on Facebook, especially about their relationships. By showing others that their relationship is okay, they get the external validation that they are okay too.
My advice to clients is to always remember that you aren’t making a fair comparison. What you see on Facebook is generally the window dressing of someones life, whereas you have the full, behind the scenes picture of your own.
I’d love to know whether Facebook is affecting your confidence or what tips you have to ensure it’s just a fun hobby? Do leave me a comment please.
Even the word rejection feels hard and hurtful and it triggers in me thoughts about “not being good enough”.
Not being clever enough, pretty enough, thin enough, kind enough or funny enough, they all feel painful.
Being rejected can be a bad experience whether it’s personally or professionally as no one wants to be snubbed or told No.
These rejections are often part of our learning process and lead to a more suitable future opportunity. But when you’re suffering the hurt of a recent rejection, how can you cope and overcome your not good enough thoughts?
ONE – Don’t Overthink It
By reliving the experience and the uncomfortable feelings constantly you are keeping the memory alive in reality and will be unable to let it go. Analyse it to find any lessons you can learn then change your focus to more positive events.
TWO – Forgive Yourself
Blaming yourself and listening to your inner critic will only make you feel worse. So accept responsibility for anything you may have done wrong and then let it go
Three – Forgive The Other Person
This may sound very tricky but rejection is a natural process and you will have rejected people in your time. think back to those experiences and try to empathise with the other person. Remember that forgiving someone allows you to let go of your pain it doesn’t mean you always condone another’s behaviour
Four – It’s Not Always About You
You may never know the reason for your rejection however it is often not to do with you personally but about circumstances or the other person. So accept this and be comfortable with not knowing
Five – Have The Confidence To Try Again
You may think that there’s no point in trying again as you’ll only get the same outcome. However the quickest way to rebuild your confidence is to step out of your comfort zone again and show everyone that you trust and value yourself
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If you find it hard to accept compliments and praise, are over sensitive to comments or like to please people and can’t say no, then it is likely that you have low self esteem.
Self esteem is defined as what you think your ‘personal value or worth is’. So to determine your level of self esteem you need to honestly answer the question “How do I feel about who I am?”
Self esteem isn’t something that you are born with and no one can give it to you, it is something we learn. The good news is that it can be learned at any stage of life with the right tools and a positive mindset.
The key to improving self-esteem is to understand the negative beliefs you have about yourself and to challenge and then change them. As your coach I would help you through this process using exercises and techniques to replace your negative beliefs with more positive ones.
Low self esteem affects all aspects of your life, including work, relationships and social life. When you don’t value yourself you tend to avoid situations where you may feel uncomfortable or lack confidence. As a result you are not enjoying life to it’s full or reaching your potential. With support you can change your negative beliefs, really value yourself and become the ‘best you can be’
To find out more about my self esteem and confidence coaching programme please contact me.
How to improve Self Esteem