I have come across so many people who simply struggle with the ability to cut through the politics and ‘BS’ and get to the real heart of a problem. The ability to deal with tough conversations is just too confrontational for most people. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it takes a lot of courage but if you truly believe in something, the belief far outweighs the fear.
OMG I can’t believe she just said that? Are the common words echoing as I tackle robust (challenging) conversations in both professional and social settings. Now for the sceptics that are already thinking….she’s harsh, arrogant, rude…..I beg you to hold that judgment for just one second and read on….as it wasn’t long ago that I too was in your shoes…..
For me the bubble burst around age 16. I had grown tired of being the quiet middle (forgotten child) unless of course my siblings were in trouble and yet again the finger was pointed at me. You see I had been bullied into the ‘yes’ trap. Keep the peace and just nod or take the punishment for the team. Yes it was me mum, otherwise it was a beating from the siblings. Oh she’s so quiet it must have been her. Defending myself was pointless with two against one.
Before I knew it the entire family was piling the chores onto me. Rightfully so I had become the ‘yes’ man. Yes no worries, I’ll do it, I’m onto it! Whilst everyone else was having a sweet old time, I was running around doing chores for everyone and stewing in my self-pity unable to understand why I just couldn’t speak my mind and heck say ‘no’ for once. In fact, I’d thought about it several times and had every intention of doing so but the fear just overwhelmed me and I’d buckle each time.
This particular day I’d caught myself off guard and jokingly snapped back with a ‘no’ to a chore. I’d applied humour to it so it didn’t sound so in your face to me let alone to the person on the receiving end. I was shocked at the way my no was received with an ok, then x will do it! Looking back I’d always had a choice to say yes or no but I can see how you can fall in the trap of loosing your identity and just accepting things for the sake of being nice. However that nice was at the expense of my true feelings and at the expense of my happiness. You see I wanted to be heard but every time I’d build up the courage, there was no-one to listen to me.
So from that point forward I decided to uphold and live by what I took on as my core value of respect. Respect for myself as well as others. By holding myself accountable to this value I found it easier to be open and transparent when it came to any situation which undermined my core value.
Whether you’re in a social or professional situation choose a value that is important to you, decide NOW to do everything you can to uphold and live by this value. This will get the ball rolling so that you can start to enjoy the sound of your own voice when your value is undermined. Being heard is a wonderful feeling. Build your confidence by upholding your value(s), speaking your mind one baby step at a time. The empowerment you will feel as a result will far exceed the fear within you once brought to light.