How to Have a Courageous Conversation - Part 3

I had completely intended to write and publish this article weeks ago, but life has gotten in the way.  My professional life and being a single parent of 2 daughters had me going in many different directions, both figuratively and literally as I have had more business travel than usual.  I didn’t want to rush this final article because it is a topic that is so dear to my heart.  I wanted to be in the right head and heart space.

This final courageous conversation article has a few tips and tricks on how to plan the talk, and how it may unfold.  I want to emphasize there are no rights and wrongs in this.  Once the conversation starts, it can go in many different directions.  None of us have this "life" thing figured out; we are all students.  These are some helpful ideas I have learned through having many of these such conversations in the past few years.

You’ve now arranged a time and place to have a courageous conversation with someone in your life.  Spend some time deciding how you wish this conversation to go.  What is your ideal outcome?  Visualize how you would feel if the ideal outcome transpired.  Sit and truly feel how that would feel.  The more you can place yourself in that moment, the more likely you are to achieve that result.  Our brains love repeated patterns, so if it can take us to a place we've been once before, it will choose that short cut.  Once you are in the “desired outcome” state, start to plan the conversation.

In terms of your speaking points, it’s important to address three specific areas:

  • What has brought you to this point.

  • What you are needing/looking for (your boundaries).

  • The most desirable outcome.

I would recommend being as detailed as possible, and you can even plan specific phrases and things to say to that person.  The more you practice and plan, the easier it will be to stay on course if things start to get emotional.  That’s not to say that it is sometimes necessary to be flexible once the conversation starts, it’s more about being clear in your own mind of your thoughts and feelings.

I would also like to mention boundaries.  Boundaries aren’t the sexiest topic, but they are so important.  Be completely clear on what you are willing and not willing to accept.  Chances are that you are feeling the need to have this conversation because of some boundary issues.  I am continually amazed at how often breaches of boundaries can cause tension and issues in relationships.

Boundaries are something that each and every one of us has to determine and to uphold.  It is up to you to be clear on your boundaries and respond accordingly when someone breaches them.  Any behavior you accept, will continue.

Take ownership of your part in anything.  Own your feelings.  Nobody can make you feel something, but someone’s actions can certainly cause you to feel a certain way.  Blaming someone else doesn’t ever resolve issues, it creates defensiveness and hostility. 

The other person will likely also want to express how they feel and their perspective on what you are discussing.  Create the space that allows them to do this.  Relationships are two sided and there aren’t two people anywhere on this earth who see things the exact same way.  Be respectful of their feelings and thoughts. 

If the person with whom you are having this conversation becomes in any way hostile or insulting, etc., it is likely best to end the conversation.  You can be kind about it, but engaging at that level won’t get you what you want to achieve.  Nor should anyone endure being mistreated. 

You may not get to where you wanted to be in one conversation, this may be the beginning of a few conversations, and that is perfectly fine.  If this has been an ongoing issue for quite some time, it will likely take some time to resolve. 

It is also possible that the conversation goes completely opposite of how you want it go to.  Odds are this will happen at some point if you continue having brave conversations.  Obviously one isn’t happy when this occurs, but there is a very important lesson I have learned through my experiences.  I can’t stress this importance enough.  If you have entered a conversation with an open heart, an open mind, been clear on your boundaries, and are speaking your truth with integrity, the outcome becomes less important.  Let me be clear, a negative outcome can be quite devastating, I don’t want to diminish anyone’s feelings, or how the results may affect your life.  But I have learned that there is a deep inner peace I experience when I have been true to myself and tried my best.  My self-esteem and self-love kicks up a giant notch.

You will likely have clarity on an issue that has been on your mind.  Now you can move forward and make decisions with a full understanding of where the other person stands.  As I mentioned in my first article, it is so prevalent in our society that people make assumptions about others.  We make decisions based on those assumptions.  That is a scary thing.

You have been brave enough to seek truth, to seek understanding and to create more authentic relationships in your life.  You are one of the brave souls who is willing to show up and be vulnerable and open in their relations with others.  Be kind and loving to yourself.  I also firmly believe that when one door closes, another door opens.  Be willing to accept a closed door if that is what happens.  Then be open to what the universe has in store for you.

Lastly, I want to thank you.  Thank you for showing up.  Thank you for being one of those brave souls who is willing to create change and be more honest in relationships.  I believe the world will start to heal more and more as people show up authentically in life, and in their relationships.  You have the power to model this to others, so that they may show up and model it for someone else.  We can all make a difference, one person and one conversation at a time.

One final point – if you are wanting to have a courageous conversation and are needing some support, please feel free to contact me through my contact page.  This truly is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and I am offering a free hour of coaching, to assist you through this process.  Much love to you.