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!

What Boundaries Can Never Do For You And Why.

boundaries

As a coach, I get a lot of questions about boundaries.
Here’s one from a recent client:
“I feel like everyone in my life is taking advantage of me. I guess I have no boundaries. Can you help me with that?”

I start the conversation asking her to share an example.

And the example always goes something like this…

“So-and-so wants me to help her out with such-and-such. She is constantly asking me to do things for her. She has absolutely no respect for my time or my schedule. She always thinks that I can drop everything and be there for her. She has no appreciation for me at all and I am sick of it.”

I am curious about what she does next.
And the answer is always something like this…
“I tell her that I can help her out.”
I ask why.
“Because she asked and I don’t want to disappoint her.”
A-ha.

I told her she didn’t help to create boundaries.
She needed help getting good at no.
We all get this one confused – especially when we are people-pleasers.

We believe some crazy things about boundaries.

1. We think boundaries are these invisible shields of protection that will prevent the requests, the favors and the phone calls for help.
2. We believe boundaries will teach people to stop taking advantage of us and then they will know exactly how to treat us better.
3. We think that boundaries with stop the potential disappointment that others will have in us.
4. And finally, those boundaries set an expectation of how other people should act with us.

Boundaries don’t have these 4 superpowers. They can’t do any of these things.

And here’s why.

People are going to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

They are going to ask for help, favors and make requests. And they get to do that.

And you get to respond to those requests in whatever way you want to.

Just because someone asks you for something, does not mean that you have to say yes or believe that you are being taken advantage of.

Here’s the real superpower that you are looking for – getting good at no.

Getting good at no means getting good at telling the truth.

This matters because every time you say yes when you really mean no – you are choosing to tell yourself and the other person a big, fat lie.
Lying is choosing to take advantage of yourself, to not appreciate yourself, and to disappoint yourself.

Telling the truth is what teaches people how you want to be treated because it shows them how you treat yourself.

Boundaries do play a role in our relationships but rarely do we actually need them. 9 times out of 10, the problems that we are having in our relationships are about the way we treat ourselves. The better we treat ourselves, the better our relationships. Treating ourselves better begins with us telling the truth.

And here’s what getting good at no can do for you.
A no can be delivered with kindness and love. Kindness and love are emotions that you experience and they feel good!
No is a sign of self-respect. Self-respect increases your trust in yourself!

No makes your future yes that much sweeter.

You will be much more excited about your yeses without all the resentment and irritation!

Ready to say no more in your life? Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session and let’s talk about why saying no is a challenge and how you can move past it.