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I was having separate conversations with two young individuals about the need to fight for something that is important for one’s well-being and integrity. Both were feeling cornered, under-valued, frustrated by their lack of progress in their respective fields. One was in a manufacturing environment and the other in a large administration. The first one had to resort to strong language to get a colleague to back away. The second one, the office worker, had been avoiding conflict with a certain co-worker for the better part of the year, and was ready to explode or leave.

When asked what each wanted above all else, they both identified Peace and Harmony in their personal and professional lives as being essential to their well-being.  Although one was reacting and the other was retreating, both were getting the same unsatisfying result.

Each admitted that the hardest thing to do was to express in a strong, clear, yet respectful language to their nemesis, what they were experiencing and what they desired. And truthfully, this is the case for most of us.

Avoidance rarely makes the conflict go away

Maybe we’re afraid of opening Pandora’s box, and therefore keep a lid on our feelings and needs. Maybe we don’t believe that our needs are important and say nothing when challenged. Maybe it’s a matter of our upbringing; being taught that taking a stand is rude and it just isn’t done. So our short-term exit strategy is Avoidance; hoping the problem will go away or our adversary will miraculously see ‘the light’. In the meantime, we let off steam by talking with anyone who’ll listen, except of course the one who is challenging our peace.

When enough is enough

By shoring up the courage to speak directly to the challenger, the boss, the significant other, the colleague or even a friend you have disagreement with, you have a fighting chance of creating peace and harmony in your world. It’s true that the conversation may not go the way you’d like. What if the other person dismisses what you say or goes on the offensive? Holding your ground may not seem worth the pain or embarrassment. And yet… when you flex those muscles and prepare for the tough conversation, your determination may be all the warning the other needs to go look elsewhere for a scapegoat or to start taking you seriously. If this doesn’t happen, by all means, consider seeking the support of HR professionals.

I encourage you to be the courageous person you already know yourself to be. Flex your conversation muscle and speak up.  Do so calmly, clearly, and assuredly.

For guidance on how to hold your own in a Genuine Conversation, I invite you to look back on these previous Blogs:

If you are looking for additional support, don’t hesitate to contact me for personalized coaching services.

I look forward to hearing what you are learning as you flex those conversation muscles.