Before you have a challenging conversation with someone ask yourself: “What is my intention?” Your intention before an action affects the outcome. An action motivated by the needs of your ego will often lead to turmoil, struggle and perhaps conflict. Whereas, an action motivated by your Authentic Self will often accomplish the desired outcome.
The ego personality strives for personal gains and the need to be right. The Authentic Self speaks with clarity and acts from a “greater good” perspective. The ego usually applies force to get what it wants resulting in a win/lose situation; the Self seeks harmony in order to accomplish a desired outcome resulting in a win/win situation.
Why is this important? You have a choice as to how you will approach another person as you ask for what you want, implement a change or resolve a problem. Your intention influences your emotions, thoughts, words and actions. The first step is awareness; the second, get a clear picture of the situation; and the third, communicate and negotiate from a “greater good” perspective.
These strategies will enable you to have win/win conversations more often in your life and business:
Become aware of your self-talk:
Notice when a situation feels like a challenge and has the potential to become an emotional drama and power struggle instead of a problem solving process. Make a decision to focus on solving the problem without getting pulled into someone else’s emotional whirlwind.
Listen to your assumptions and blame messages. Internal stories prevent you from seeing clearly and discovering truth. (Example: She is taking advantage of me; or, she is lazy.) Instead, work with the facts of the situation or the behaviors of the other person. (Last week she began asking for more of my time for this project.) The mind habitually spins stories that create power struggles (me against you); this gets in the way of finding a positive solution.
Get a clear picture of the situation:
Work through or let go of negative emotions: Before you can think and act with clarity, recognize your emotions, accept them, decipher the message, and be willing to let them go. (I feel really angry when I think she is taking advantage of me; I already feel overwhelmed.) Find ways to change your emotions so you can bring your rational self to the conversation. For example, move your body, have a cup of tea, meditate, talk to a friend and more.
Ask questions to change your perception and gain clarity: Get more information about what is going on with the other person and act as though you and that person are on the same team and want a positive outcome. In short, approach the person without distorted assumptions or negative labeling. (I need to find out why she wants more of my time.)
Communicate and negotiate from a “greater good” perspective:
Listen to the other person’s response with compassion and an open mind. Let them know you see the situation from their perspective (She tells me she needs more of my time because she values my input and is not sure how to proceed without it.)
Before you speak, get into the mindset of: “What will it take to get this to work for both of us?”
At this point, ask for what you want and work with what the other person can give you. Begin to negotiate (ask and listen) until both of you come away feeling that you have clarity, connection and a resolution you can both live with. (Send me a note describing specific challenges you are having. I will check my schedule to see when I can speak with you. Will that work for you?)
Intention influences actions which influence results. You have no control over another person’s response, but you can show up with your best attitude and communication skills. This means doing your best to stay out of a power struggle by staying calm and centered, even in the face of a perceived “battle zone.” Some people will not be able to participate in an empowered conversation because they have not mastered the art of communicating from a “greater good” perspective. With awareness, you will know when to let go and walk away feeling good about yourself and when to go back for another round of negotiations.
Staying out of the negative self-talk and emotions your ego generates takes commitment and discipline. As you learn to communicate with a “greater good” perspective, you become a more effective communicator. Your relationships will flourish and your successes will be many.
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