How To Successfully Prepare For A Hard Conversation

hard conversation

Life is full of times we need to have a hard conversation.

Having to fire an employee
Telling your parents you want to follow your own dream instead of theirs
Setting boundaries
Giving someone feedback
Saying no
Telling someone you no longer love them

As different as these examples are, they are similar in that, they are considered by most to be “hard conversations.”

What makes these types of conversations, hard?

Fear of the other person’s reaction.
Worry about their emotional response.
Concern for hurting someone’s feelings.
Anxiety about the other person no longer “liking us”.

Before we have to have one of these conversations, we often play it out in our minds over and over again.
We rehearse it.
We worry.
We prepare for the worst-case scenario.
We anticipate the pain and the hurt feelings.

Sometimes we become so afraid of the conversation that we procrastinate having it.

This future conversation just becomes bigger and scarier in our minds.

A huge obstacle.
A massive distraction.
Sometimes the worry and the dread about having the conversation just eat us alive.

Let me tell you the truth about something that will bring you some relief if you need to have a difficult conversation and it’s making you crazy with worry and dread.

Here is what you need to know…

You can never actually hurt another person’s feelings.

Seriously. Nothing you can say or do can actually hurt a person’s feelings.

I know that you might be thinking – this doesn’t make any sense – because, if you are like me, then you were told your entire life to be careful of other people’s feelings and try to never hurt them.

That’s what most people believe and I am here to tell you that it is not true and why this is such good news.

Words and actions do not create feelings.
Thoughts create feelings.
Each person creates their own thoughts.
And they get to think whatever they want about what the hear, see or experience in the world.
They may choose to think that I hurt their feelings by saying or doing what I did, but that does not make it true.
The thought ‘She hurt my feelings’ is what is actually hurting their feelings, not what actually I said or did.

See the difference?

It’s subtle and it’s extremely important.

Of course, we want people in our lives to be happy and listen to us and like us and not judge us…but at the end of the day, we have absolutely no control over any of that.

But the craziest part is that we go around believing that we can control what other people think and feel and so we try really hard to make sure that we control their thoughts and emotions for our benefit so that we always feel good.

And when we are always pursuing making other people happy so that we can always feel good, then we are basically deciding to lie – to avoid having hard conversations and telling the truth.

And that is when we get ourselves into so much trouble.

That type of avoidance (of hard conversations) and speaking our truths, setting boundaries, being honest, ending or beginning new things is exactly what keeps us stuck and trapped in situations or lifestyles that we don’t want to be in.

So here is what you can do, if you recognize that you avoiding having hard conversations.

Know what you do control (and it’s way more than you think!)

How we deliver our message
Being truthful and honest
Speaking from my heart and with integrity
Being kind and compassionate
Allowing others to experience whatever they want to, based on their thoughts and feelings
Managing our own minds
Noticing and responding appropriately to our own emotions
When in doubt, pouring more love into the situation for our benefit

And one final thing that you can control is how you prepare for a hard conversation – because worrying and dreading and procrastinating doesn’t get you anything.

It only delays and postpones what you want or need to do and makes the conversation seem 10x worse than it really is.

Focus on all the things you can control and check out my step by step guide on how to prep for a hard conversation.

  1. What is the hard conversation that you need to have?
  2. Why do you need to have it?
  3. Why do you think it will be hard?
  4. What will your life be like if you never have this conversation?
  5. What is it costing you to postpone this conversation?
  6. What do you want the outcome of this conversation to be?
  7. What part of that outcome do you control?
  8. How can you have the conversation from a place of truth and integrity?
  9. How can you be loving towards yourself, even if you don’t get the response that you would like?
  10. Have the conversation.Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings before, during and after the conversation. Be kind and loving towards yourself. Celebrate your compassionate side. Allow the other person to have their own experience.

If you prefer, we can do this work together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how to shift your thinking about hard conversations so you can feel more empowered. Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!

Investment.

www.katiepulsifercoaching.comask yourself this question life coaching confidence self care

Our time. Our money. Our attention.
These are all ways that we make investments.

If you are trying to figure out what matters most in your life, then all you have to do is look at where you spend your time, money and attention. You invest in what is really important, right? Yes, most of the time this true. We spend time, money and give our attention to our home, job, education, family and volunteering. We devote hours, dollars and focus to these things. In doing so, we tell ourselves and those around us, that these things are important. They matter. These are investments that we are willing to make and they are worth it.

On the flip side, there are other investments that we make that I would consider to be indulgent investments – the giving of our time, money and attention, more out of habit, obligation or fear. We throw our time, our money and our attention at things for the wrong reasons – because we are disconnected from what we really want. We allow ourselves to be externally influenced, to follow a trend, to stick with tradition, afraid to say no or to disappoint – whatever the reason, we often end up squandering our investment for experiences and things that ultimately do not serve us.

So how can you tell the difference between indulging and investing?

Indulging
Here are some examples of what indulging looks and feels like.
Closets filled with clothes we never wear
Eating more food than we need to fuel our bodies
Eating to feel something or to suppress emotion
Not getting enough sleep because we over-commit our evenings
Debt or lack of money in the bank account
General daily overwhelm
Not enough time or money to do what we really want to do
Clutter
Saying “I don’t know” a lot

Investing
Here are some examples of what investing can look and feel like.
Organized and clutter-free spaces
Eating to satisfy the sensation of hunger
Getting consistent sleep
Knowing your money – what you have and how you invest
Alone time to re-charge
Daily routine that includes favorite exercise or activities
More than enough time and money to spend on what matters most
Knowing what you want
Having a future plan
Here’s how shift from indulging your time, money and attention towards investing your time, money and attention.

Ask yourself WHY? This is the most powerful question you can possibly ask yourself to begin to understand the patterns, habits and behaviors that you have developed. “Why” helps you uncover the thoughts that trigger all the results that you have in your life. “Why” will reveal your back-story, your reasons and show you what you think. This is the place to get to, in order to be able to make a shift towards investment. It can take some time and patience to uncover the deepest thoughts, but I promise that this investment will be very worth it!

Be compassionate. Once you are able to understand why you think what you think and therefore, indulge instead of invest, it’s time to be as compassionate with yourself as possible. Guilt, shame and rejecting yourself, will never inspire change towards investment. Compassion and self-love will always inspire change. If you want to move from indulging towards investing, then treat yourself like you would treat your best friend, with kindness, understanding and compassion for past decisions. Patience, support and love will move into a new way of thinking and acting – from indulging to investing.

Avoidance.

ask yourself this question life coaching confidence self care

 

Not wanting to do something that we have to do.
Keeping away.
An escape from consequences.

We love to create all kinds of worse case scenarios for the way that things will turn out, so we can avoid doing things that we don’t want to do.

We dream up terrible outcomes. We imagine bad endings. We create all sorts of evidence why avoiding the situation makes perfect sense. Then we distract. We procrastinate. And we resist wanting the thing that we have worked so hard to avoid going after.

The negative self-talk begins and all sorts of feelings emerge. These are usually, the not-so-great feelings, like frustration, guilt, disappointment, worry. Each of these unsettling feelings created, because we decided to avoid doing something we needed / wanted to do.

The truth is that we avoid doing difficult and challenging things because we want to avoid feeling uncomfortable. And yet, when we don’t follow through and take action on things we need to do, we experience all kinds of negative emotions anyway. We trade a potential negative feeling and taking action for wanting to escape a negative feeling, taking no action and feeling negative emotions of avoidance anyway.

So here are my tips on how to move through avoidance.

Identify your WHY. Why do you need to do this thing? Search for the meaning and connect to it. Does it improve your life in some way? Will it have long-term positive consequences if it goes well? Is it about helping someone that you care about? Look at the big picture. If you can’t find and identify the why and stand behind it, then perhaps this thing is something you are doing out of obligation or for the wrong reasons. Make sure you know your WHY. Be truthful and connected to it.
Focus on the positive outcomes. What are all the amazing possible outcomes that can come from taking this action? What is possible? Use your imagination to predict best-case scenarios – let this motivate you in a very powerful way towards making decisions and taking action.
Be willing to sit with negative emotion. Accept that negative feelings are going to come up. Knowing ahead of time, that negative emotions will show up as guilt, regret, disappointment and worry if you don’t take the action that you need to. Understand that taking action may trigger discomfort, fear, embarrassment for you. Be ready for those feelings. Expect them. Welcome the uncomfortable into your life, because it means that you are doing something challenging / difficult and moving closer towards something you want. Be willing to feel your uncomfortable feelings and take action anyway. It is best way to move closer towards the things that you want in your life.