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!

Who’s in Charge of Your Life?

How’s your relationship with yourself? Who’s in charge of your life? You or your inner critic?

If your inner critic is in charge, then this is what could be happening;

A compliment comes your way…and you downplay it.

You look in the mirror…and only see your flaws.

You set out to do something…and then tell yourself all the reasons you can’t.

You step on the scale…and then make the number mean terrible things.

You look at your bank account…and start feeling guilty and ashamed.

An opportunity shows up…and then you say that you don’t know how to make it happen.

Meet Your Inner Critic and she is running your life!

The inner critic voice can be VERY LOUD in our heads – based on months or years of thinking negative thoughts.

These thoughts are so well worn and habitual that we don’t even realize they are there.

They have become fundamentally part of who we are.

And we believe every one of them.

The inner critic slows down our evolving process. It only sees problems when actually there are solutions and possibilities. The inner critic makes us hide, play small, and settle for less.

We forget that we have the power to silence our inner critic.

We always have the option to turn a negative and judging voice in our head into a neutral voice.

We can always teach ourselves to think new thoughts – ones that are less negatively charged.

Thoughts that don’t do such damage.

We can choose responses that show ourselves compassion.

And LOVE.

Kinder thoughts are always available to us.

This is the ultimate gift of self-care.

Here are some ways to silence your inner critic;

A compliment comes your way…and you can say thank you.

You look in the mirror…and you can see strength, courage, beauty, and wisdom.

You set out to do something…and you can tell yourself that anything is possible.

You step on the scale…and you can feel blessed to have a body.

You check out your bank account…and you can feel grateful for all you have.

An opportunity shows up…and you can say that you will get to work to figure out how to make it happen.

Kinder words will silence your inner critic. And eventually, those kinder words will become your thoughts. And those thoughts will become your new beliefs.

And you will be in charge of your life!

For more Self-Care solutions like this one, be sure to request my FREE GUIDE below.

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Emotional Boundaries.

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Some of my clients do not want to set proper emotional boundaries in their lives because they don’t want to risk losing relationships. They’re afraid that if they take care of themselves and tell the truth, they might make the other person angry. So in order to avoid the other person “getting upset”, they stay in relationships that are based on lies, pretenses and resentment. This prevents true intimacy in the relationship.

Having a conversation about an emotional boundary can be uncomfortable and challenging – it is really hard work. It is also the work of true intimacy. Honoring yourself and what is authentic and true, along with the willingness to let other people interpret it how they will, is difficult, but well worth it in the end. People who cannot find the courage to have conversations like this, stay in relationships where they are pretending. Then they often wonder why their relationships aren’t deep or intimate. Or even worse, the relationship erupts in the end due to built up resentment and hostility, which we blame on the other person for our own lack of emotional boundaries.

What is an emotional boundary?

I like to define it like this:
An emotional boundary is something that I create for myself. Like a property boundary, it delineates where I end and you start. It is a request that I make of someone else to change a certain behavior and a consequence of what I will do to self-protect if they violate the boundary.

Emotional boundaries promote self-responsibility and empowerment, ultimately leading to closer relationships with others.

It is about telling the truth to ourselves and to the people in our lives.

An emotional boundary is not an ultimatum. Nor is it a way of controlling another person, so that we can feel better.

How do you know when you need to create an emotional boundary?

I like to tell my clients this:
There is a situation that consistently upsets you and you are worried about being viewed as bad, rude or uncaring when you think about having an emotional boundary conversation with the person in this situation. And yet, this is exactly the way that you are acting on a regular basis with this person. You try to smile and act like everything fine, but you are seething underneath. You act one way with this person and then complain about them behind their back. If asked, you always say that everything is fine but the resentment is building.

How do you set an emotional boundary?

Here is what I teach my clients:

Emotional boundaries always come from a place of love.

If you are angry, frustrated and mad – you need to work through these emotions first.
Write down all your feelings and work through them until you can get to a place of calm, peace and love. It’s important to remember that the reason you are upset is not because someone has violated your boundary, it is because you haven’t been truthful with yourself and the other person and set a boundary in the first place. When you can really own that and take responsibility for your emotions, you can explain your boundary from a place of love and then set clear consequences for what will happen if the boundary is not honored.

Setting emotional boundaries requires courage. It is all about truth-telling and honoring yourself, no matter what. When you can have this conversation with someone from a place of love, you will significantly increase peace and intimacy in your life.

Fall Goals.

Katie Pulsifer Coachingask yourself this question life coaching confidence self care
It’s the time of year again, signaled by the end of August, back to school and fall around the corner – the time when we often re-evaluate routines and patterns, and consider making changes. It can literally feel like the new year and awaken in us, the desire to set new goals or resolutions about how we will move into the new season and the last four months of the year. It can be an inspiring time. Full of possibility and hope, for bad habits to be replaced by good ones – to foster more structure, follow-though and consistency in our daily lives.

Exciting, right?

Absolutely!
And then we get to work creating our new fall routines – getting organized, signing up for activities and classes, cleaning and purging from summer vacation, travel and camp. This will keep us very pre-occupied for the month of September. The days will be full and schedules packed, and we will let ourselves believe that this means that we are making real change and progress towards our goals.
But this often isn’t the kind of change that we are ultimately craving. This is just busy-ness. Busy-ness being recreated all over again, like last fall and the fall before that. We step right back into the same pattern of over-scheduling and over-whelming ourselves with huge to-do lists and obligations. We forget to make time for ourselves and to think about the bigger goals that we secretly desire. This can be challenging and very frustrating. It can be difficult to figure out what it is that we really want for ourselves, especially when we become so habituated to being busy.
Here is what I like to suggest if you want to move into the rest of this year feeling more empowered, grounded and connected with your goals. This is a great exercise to put in place this week of transition, before fall really starts.
Answer these two questions:
  • What are my strengths? Make a list of them.
  • How can I better utilize my strengths to create a happier, more joyful and successful fall?
By answering these two powerful questions, you will generate amazing feelings about yourself, realize what is possible and increase your excitement motivation to follow through on goal-setting.
Now answer this question.
  • What are my weaker qualities that need strengthening, compassion and attention in order to reach my goals for this fall? Choose three.
This is a great question to help make your goals become even more crystal clear.
Once you have answered all the questions above and have chosen the three qualities you would like to strengthen, follow this 3-step process:
Step 1: Write a Fall Goal Card for each goal with a positive affirmation to go along with it (keep it in the present tense).
Step 2: Put your Fall Goal Cards where you will see them, every day. Look at them a couple of times every day (remind yourself what matters and why).
Step 3: Choose three actions you can take this week to begin to strengthen a quality within yourself that needs your attention (add extra love and compassion).
As you consider the qualities you would like to strengthen, remember that the quickest way to create a better life is to focus on taking action. Release yourself from focusing on what you haven’t done or still need to do. Even the smallest of action steps will create amazing momentum. Momentum combined with everything that you captured on your list of strengths, will help boost your confidence and get you closer to achieving your goals.

Best Friend.

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I think that most of us would think of ourselves as someone’s best friend. We might describe ourselves as loyal, trustworthy, compassionate, understanding and supportive. As a best friend, we show up, no questions asked, when we are needed. We laugh together, cry together and offer advice and give tough love when it is required.

Becoming a best friend to someone can take years of investing in the relationship. It takes consistency. It takes attention and focus. It means, giving unconditional love. It means, less judgement and more compassion. It means forgiveness and understanding. Being a best friend is about allowing space in the relationship to evolve and grow over time.

In my experience, this is what I believe it takes to be a best friend. It is a privilege. It is rewarding and fulfilling. And it feels amazing to have this type of relationship with someone that you care about.

Imagine for a moment, what it would be like to be this kind of best friend to yourself. To show up for YOU every day, like you would for your best friend. To love yourself unconditionally through any situation. Doesn’t that sound incredible?

For most of us, being our own best friend sounds incredible and feels absolutely impossible. Mostly because, it never occurs to us, to treat ourselves the way we would treat our best friend.

And why is that?
How is it that we have invested years of attention, time and growth into our best friend relationships and yet, we still haven’t figured out how to have an amazing best friend relationship with ourselves?

Simply put, I believe that we think, that it is someone else’s job to be our best friend. We believe that other people make us feel loved, trusted, cared for or supported. We think these best friend kind of feelings (and all other feelings) come from outside of us. We teach ourselves to rely on others to make us feel a certain way.

The truth is, that we create our own feelings 100% of the time – without exception. This is powerful information. And such good news because it means that we create what we feel all the time. If we want to feel supported, loved, trusted – we can treat ourselves that way, right now. We can choose to show up for ourselves the way that we would for our best friend. We can treat ourselves with kindness, compassion and love. We can release judgement, shame and guilt.

I talk about this concept of being your own best friend with my clients all the time, because I believe this to be the most powerful way to add more love in your life. I teach them to think about how they can choose to feel loyalty, by having loyalty to ourselves and our decisions. I teach them that they can feel and experience commitment by keeping our commitments and promises to ourselves. And that to experience more self-love and compassion, means having your own back, every time, no matter what.

Imagine how amazing your life would be if you decided to be your own best friend!
What can do to start treating yourself like you treat your best friend?
How would you make decisions, show up and act if you chose to love yourself unconditionally?
There is no downside to loving yourself more!
So why not go into this week, loving yourself like you love your best friend?
Offer yourself more kindness, compassion and love this week – with your words, your thoughts and actions. See how amazing it will make you feel!

Confidence.

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Increasing self-confidence is much easier than you think. I promise. You must first deeply value yourself and own all of who you are – in this moment. You must start to release self-criticism, judgement and end the conversation with yourself that is all about not being enough and waiting for everything to be perfect. Self-confidence is about believing in yourself, no matter what. If you decide to reject yourself rather than believe in yourself, you will always struggle with confidence issues. Increasing self-confidence comes from increasing how you care for yourself – what you think and say about yourself – how you treat yourself. It’s that simple.

No one can make you feel confident. Confidence is not something that you can go out and acquire. Feeling confident is an inside job. It is internal skill to be developed by you and developing this skill takes daily focus and practice.

The best way I know how to do this, is to establish a consistent routine of self-care. I think of self-care as the way I use my thoughts, words and actions to direct my life towards what I want. I can choose to value myself through the thoughts I think and the words I speak, or not. The more deliberate that I am in my thoughts and words, the more compassionate and loving I become – the more intentioned I am about believing in myself. With compassion and love, I can shut down my inner critic, stop rejecting myself and start believing in myself instead. And when my inner critic goes quiet, I release self-doubt and take more action towards what I want in my life. Taking action always builds self-confidence.

For this week, focus on these 3 self-care tips to help boost your self-confidence.

  • Choose kind words to describe yourself, always.
  • Direct your mind towards more loving and compassionate thoughts to inspire feeling more confident
  • Take action from a place of believing in yourself and all your potential