Hard Conversations

We live in a broken, fallen world full of strife, difficulty and disagreement. We don't always get along with or agree with those around us. Maybe someone has done something that has hurt you financially, emotionally, or otherwise. You might feel bitter and you might be wounded, but things don't have to stay that way. 

Often the conversations you most dread are the ones you most need to have. There is something deep down inside us that knows exactly what we need to do. That feeling of dread or fear may not mean what you have always thought. Those knots in your stomach might not be telling you to run, but just might be confirming what you need to do. Whatever conversation has you scared, run towards it. Sure things could blow up in your face and go badly, but being willing to lean in and engage in tough conversations just might lead to outcomes you've only dreamed of.   

Tough conversations don't have to be negative or destructive. It can actually serve as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships and help you grow as an individual. If for no other reason, lean in and engage those you most fear. It has the potential to completely change everything. If you think about it in these terms, those tough conversations all of a sudden get a whole lot easier. 

Ok, you know you need to have a tough conversation but you aren't sure how. Here are a few quick hits that can help you master the art of the difficult conversation. 

Prepare your heart. This is the most challenging part of any difficult interchange. Before going to the other person pause and take a look at yourself. Search your own attitudes, words and actions. Many times you'll find that you've contributed far more to the relational strife your experiencing than you previously realized. Taking a swim in your own stuff will better prepare you to talk to someone else about theirs.

Be humble. humility looks good on you..jpg

Plan out what you will say. Scripting your conversation may be impractical however, it is extremely helpful to spend some time processing not only what you will say but how you will say it. While the content of your message is important, method and tone are even more so. A helpful way to address tone and method is by how you would like to be confronted. One golden rule that won't steer you wrong is to be humble. A humble attitude smooths over a lot more than you realize. 

Lead With Your Weaknesses

You're not perfect. Whether it's sarcasam, responding out of anger or not delivering on your commitments, you make dozens of mistakes each and every day. The temptation to hide and minimize your mistakes is overwhelming because the first thing you want to do is run as far from them as possible. 

While this is your natural tendency it might not always be the best strategy for responding to failure. Our failures provide us with an opportunity to take giant steps forward and helps us connect with others. Today, I want to encourage you not to run from or hide your failures but to embrace and share them openly. 

Display your authentic self. Openly discussing your short comings and failures knocks down the dividing wall and allows others to connect with you. Whether you are aware of it or not there is a dividing wall between you and those you impact and lead. Often times that wall of division is the gap between who you truly are and others perception of you. The quickest way to shrink this gap is to authentically share your struggles and failures. The fear in doing so is that it will change how people see you. The funny thing is that this fear is 100% true. They will see you differently, just not in the way you fear they will. 

Part of the reason people lean in and see you more positively when you share your struggles is that they can relate. People aren't perfect and they know it. They already know you aren't perfect either and that you make mistakes because you're human. Opening up and leading with your weakness displays confidence not the lack there of. People will follow a leader who doesn't run from his short comings. 

Be known for owning your stuff. The next time you drop the ball or just blow it, seize it for the opportunity that it is and own it. Do far more than acknowledge that you messed up, ask those impacted by your failure to forgive you. Trust me, this is a trait you want to be known for. It displays a humble heart, empowers others and will transform your relationships.     

People Matter

Do you want to succeed in life? Do you want to leave a legacy behind you? Do you want to build a successful business or career? These and almost anything else you desire to find in life can be achomplisehd if you will do just one simple thing, value people.   

That's it. It really is that simple. 

If you will shift your focus away from trying to chase down and acheive what you want, and instead focus on how you can help others, it changes everything.

People's greatest need is to be valued.

People want someone to take notice of them. To look them in the eye and ask them about their day. To listen to them. To treat them with kindness, decency and love. People know when you value them and they can tell when you don't. 

"The path to being a better leader is paved with the asphalt of the habits we develop" - Brad Lomenick.

Developing a few intentional habits can help you grow in how you value other people and completely change everything for you.  

Pray for people. It is hard to dislike those you prayer for. One of the quickest ways to change how you feel about someone is to pray for them. Ask the Lord to work in their life, to give you a love for them, to use them to reveal to you where you need to grow, and to draw them closer to Himself. 

Talk to people. The fastest way to get to know someone is a conversation. Sadly, people are having real face to face conversations less and less. Don't give in to the pressure to hide behind your key board. Go talk to people. Invite them to meet you for coffee, join you for lunch or the big game. Listen to what they tell you, laugh often and have fun. 

Be an encourager. There is so much power in your words. Power to wound and power to heal. There are far too many people using their words to wound and hurt. Be a person who uses their words to lovingly encourage and uplift others. Compliment and celebrate others as often as you can. 

Look people in the eye, stick out your hand & smile. Statistics say that the average person will meet 80,000 people in their life time. That's a staggering amount of people. With so many opportunities to meet new people, one of the best habits you can develop is the habit of warmly greeting everyone you meet. Never underestimate the power of a genuine smile. 
 
Walk slow. Instead of rushing from place to place and task to task. Slow down life's pace a little. Chances are you don't have to move at a break neck pace all the time. Slow it down a little and allow yourself to connect with those around you. Be open and invite other people in. 

The quickest path to finding the success you want in life or business can be found in loving and valuing people.