We all have things that irritate us when it comes to relationships. They can be minor, like dishes left in the sink or waiting on someone who is perpetually late. Or it can be something bigger, like being passed over for an opportunity at work or having friction with a co-worker.
And sometimes taking action is the key, as long as it’s not a Gravity Problem. Gravity Problems are when you are dealing with someone who accepts change about as easily as changing gravity within the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s probably best to not engage in the conversation since you’re sure the outcome will not change. And from there, that’s a topic for another blog post.
Today we’re going to talk about when it’s not a Gravity Problem. When you want the outcome and the change. You want things to be different and want it badly enough to go through the discomfort of a courageous conversation in the hopes that it will lead to that change.
And lucky for you, I have a super straightforward template for this conversation. And it involves five easy pieces:
- Headline. You want to set the stage and be super clear about what you are there to talk about. You might start by saying “hey, I wanted to talk about the dishes in the sink” or “I want to talk about this project and understand why I wasn’t chosen.” This will help the person drop into the right headspace and set the stage for the conversation.
- Context. It’s important to then communicate why this is important to you and the impact that this situation is having on you. “I want to talk about this because today when I came home from work, there was a pile of dishes in the sink and I felt really frustrated” or “I want to talk about this project because I really felt I had the most qualifications to lead this among everyone on our team and I feel disappointed.”
- Listen. Now, you need to close your mouth and open your ears. You need to hear the other person’s facts and feelings about the situation. And then it’s important to acknowledge or mirror back what they’ve said.
- Brainstorm. Once both parties have had a chance to voice their perspectives, it’s time to generate some ideas about how to move forward. What are our options? What could we do here? Could we try this going forward? Continue the brainstorm until you find options and a plan forward that both of you can agree to and feel good about.
- Revisit. At the end of the conversation, it’s important to agree to revisit the topic at some point in the future. Because if you decide in advance to see how it’s going, the next conversation doesn’t require quite as much courage.
Ultimately, this is all about you having more of what you want. Sometimes you have to fight for it just a little bit and or sometimes a lot. Get comfortable(ish) with initiating courageous conversations and you’ll be amazed at the path you can create for yourself.