Sometimes I think, "If it weren't for people, I'd get a lot more done." Then I laugh, because that is hysterical.
I'm a life coach. My job is people. I help people be happy and effective in their lives. I work with other people in order to do that, lots of people. Then, when I am done with that, I go upstairs and settle down with the most special people: my husband and daughters. People. People. People. All day long. I have to remind myself, I am not getting THINGS done, I am living, teaching, learning from and creating, with people.
You might not have as much people time as I do, but I bet everything that is important to you, everything you want before you die, has something to do with people. Your whole ability to accomplish your dreams is connected to your ability to communicate and partner with these people.
My whole day is shot if I am disconnected from someone important to me. Unless you are totally numb, you too feel less focused, less effective and just less happy when there is discord in even one of your major relationships. And the greater difference you want to make in the world, the more relationships you must tend. Wouldn't it help if you trusted yourself to have tough conversations whenever the need arose and to know you'd always be able to resolve issues with the people around you?
Having difficult conversations is a skill. It has helped me so much in my life that I do not know what I would do without it. So I want to give you a few tips on how to make your relationships with your people much more effective and delicious.
1) Declare it. Tell the people in your life you want an honest relationship in which you both tell each other how you think and feel, even when it's not pretty. Promise them and ask in return for their promise to put the sanctity of the relationships above the momentary fear of what might happen if you talk about things for real.
This isn't in just close relationships, this works in business relationships, too; you just have to frame it a little differently. Fact is, everything that isn't being said still gets played out, you just have a lot more power and a lot less drama if you decide the policy is always to bring things up before they ever fester.
2) Practice Grace. This means giving people the choice of when and how they want to have tough conversations, asking permission, setting aside time and framing the conversation in a way that takes care of the other person. You always remind the other person of the positive reasons for talking and are clear that you know your perspective is only a perspective, not the truth.
3) Practice Wisdom. Sometimes you are "too nice" and don't end up saying what's really bothering you. Promise yourself from now on you will tell people how you really feel, what you are really dealing with and what you really need. Without this pledge, you really won't ever get what you want. It is actually everything you are NOT saying that is getting in the way of all the right lessons, growth opportunities and successes for which you are waiting. How exciting! It won't always be pretty at first. You will definitely have to change and you will definitely stir up others, but if you make telling your truth a policy, then your life will start to align with your dreams very quickly!
People tell me all the time about the things they just SHOULD NOT say and the people to whom they just COULD NEVER tell the truth. But the more resistant you feel, the more you probably desire to find a way to get through to THAT person on THAT subject.
I feel your deep desire for resolution and connection. I have witnessed countless success stories of people more scared than you learning to speak up, and boy, the benefits unfolded far beyond just those relationships on which they were working.
P.S. We're holding a teleseminar called The Art of Tough Conversations. Join in and figure out how to have the toughest conversations with the greatest rewards.