Relationships are stuff life is made of. We develop relationships with people in different ways and these relationships can be nurturing, constructive, motivational, deflating, or demoralizing. Each relationship is different. Some relationships are easy and obvious, others take work. If you are like me, you like to avoid confrontation and you may back away from the tough stuff. However, it is important to know how to have hard conversations when necessary. Today, I am privileged to share an excerpt from Sandi Krakowski‘s new book, #BEMORE, on the subject of relationships and dealing with the tough stuff.
How To Live A Powerful Life And Tend To Your Relationships
Throughout the #BEMORE book (affiliate link) she shares what wisdom she’s learned as a wife, mother, and business owner. Sandi’s story is one of pain and heartbreak followed by redemption and learning. #BEMORE is an inspiring guide to creating your powerful life. Sandi has been named a Top 20 Online Marketing Influencer, a Top 20 Women Social Media Influencer, and a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes. Sandi is passionate about using her skill set to not only help businesses reach their full potential, but to also encourage and motivate individuals to do the same.
#BEMORE is broken up into five different areas in which Sandi challenges her readers to be more: to be more connected to God, more in tune with yourself, more attentive to your relationships, more engaged with your community, and more mindful of your world. Within each section is a series of short “secrets” in which Sandi breaks down how to actually and tangibly be more in that area. The following is a secret from the “Be More Attentive to Your Relationships” section.
(Excerpt Reprinted With Exclusive Permission)
Don’t Back Away From The Tough Stuff
Being positive and living a life that is powerful doesn’t mean everything will always be happy or easy.
We are not promised a life free from struggle or strife. Some of the most rewarding experiences we will have in life come with the price of hard work, difficult encounters, and painful choices.
There are times in my life as a business owner when I need to ask an employee to account for poor performance. There are moments in my marriage when my husband and I have to talk about hard things. As a parent, I sometimes have to confront my children about their behavior. During these times I need the wisdom of heaven, the love of an accepting God, and the fortitude of a Champion.
I will face difficult choices, things that make me uncomfortable, and decisions that are scary. And yes, even things I absolutely hate to do. I will have to take on all of these to get the kind of life I am dreaming of.
Responsibility. Accountability. Wisdom. They are big words and tough to live by. They are nearly super powers in this age. But, when combined with joy, hope, and love, they will take you farther, help you last longer, and create better relationships.
We have to do hard things to live powerfully.
We cannot avoid the tough stuff. Not if we want anything in life that is truly worthwhile. We don’t get to behave like cowards and expect to become champions. If greatness came easy, it wouldn’t have any significance. If everyone could do it, it wouldn’t be special.
Life is messy. We don’t all get along all the time. Even the most caring people with the best of intentions make mistakes and hurt those they love. The right thing isn’t always what we choose. So, we have to have grace. We have to have forgiveness. We have to have courage to take on the tough stuff. It takes work hard to BE MORE.
People learn by what we do, not by what we say. Being a leader doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but it does mean your life is an example!
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and found it motivational in helping you keep your relationships fruitful ones. You can find out more about Sandi Krakowski and her works at arealchange.com
Having Hard Conversations (Don’t Avoid Them)
I have found that avoiding hard conversations doesn’t really work in serious relationships. The problems don’t magically go away. Often times they get bigger because they aren’t addressed. It is like a splinter and that needs to come out in order to get better. I love Sandi Krakowski’s advice to not back away from the tough stuff. Now I want to share some excellent advice on how to have those hard conversations.
ON Point, Next Level Leadership, does a lot of coaching clients on how to successfully navigate hard conversations. They say ultimately that is important to have a plan before confrontation. They also share a step by step plan that makes it a lot easier to start the hard conversation and a lot easier to navigate and even exit if needed. Check out the action plan graphic to help you navigate hard conversations with confidence, compassion, and control.
I hope you pin that graphic and save it for later because hard conversations come up at home and at work and even in parenting and it helps to have an action plan.
Action Plan For Having A Hard Conversation
- Find a quiet, private space where you won’t be interrupted.
- Choose a time when both parties can focus on the conversation without distractions.
- Clarify your thoughts and emotions before the conversation.
- Consider the other person’s perspective and try to empathize with their feelings.
- Clearly understand why you need to have this conversation.
- Focus on the issue at hand and avoid bringing up unrelated grievances.
- Express your thoughts and feelings using “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory.
- For example, say “I feel hurt when…” instead of “You always…”
- Listen carefully to the other person’s perspective without interrupting.
- Reflect back what you hear to ensure mutual understanding.
- Keep your emotions in check. If you feel anger or frustration rising, take a moment to breathe before responding.
- Avoid raising your voice or using aggressive body language.
- Move the conversation toward finding a solution or compromise.
- Ask for the other person’s input on how to address the issue.
- Be willing to listen to the other person’s perspective and be open to constructive criticism.
- Acknowledge your own role in the situation.
- Clearly define expectations and agreements for moving forward.
- Ensure that both parties understand the steps they need to take to address the issue.
Do you avoid confrontation? Have you found it leads to bigger problems down the road? I hope this motivation and action plan make it easier to address small issues before they become big issues. Having difficult or hard conversations can be challenging, but they are often necessary for personal and professional growth, resolving conflicts, and building stronger relationships. Approach the discussion with empathy, openness, and a willingness to find common ground. You can do hard things!