You don't always have to be right(eous)

So often we are in conversations with people with whom we don’t agree 100%. In fact, if you think about it, how many people on this planet do you agree with 100%?  Or even 75%?  Actually, it’s far less common to agree than it is to disagree.  But you have to be willing to admit it.

We agree outwardly just to “keep the peace”, even though we disagree with what’s been stated. In today’s culture, we are constantly forfeiting our authentic opinions to avoid a conversation that could be awkward and possibly escalate to an argument.  And, heaven forbid, we offer a controversial opinion, it is rarely responded to with pleasantries or friendly consideration.  In an era where communication has become conflict ridden, how do we engage in meaningful dialogue about important matters and leave everyone empowered in the process?

I believe, and I’ve been told by people I respect greatly, that we have to give up our righteousness when communicating.  We can (and should) have an opinion, but effective communication is not righteous, in other words, condemning of another’s opinion.  And, by the way, it certainly helps to maintain our sense of humor during these “challenging” exchanges.  So, in your next awkward, difficult and perhaps sticky conversation, I recommend you simply infuse it with a sense of humor, be authentic, and, at the end of the day, it’s probably not life or death.  So be open.  We can all learn from each other in the process!

(In)Effective Communication

Recently I’ve become more aware than ever of the sensitivity around communication and importance of being powerful and effective when we communicate.  Everything we say and everything we do is communication.  Unfortunately, we are often misunderstood in the process.  I myself know - according to my husband - that I am often misunderstood.  Passion can sound like rantings, which are rarely or never effective.  In fact, they often achieve quite the opposite of our goal; they alienate us from people who otherwise would be our allies. 

So what do we do?  We stay true to our purpose.  We stay true to our values.  We stay true to our mission, whether it’s a personal mission or professional.  Ideally, it’s both.

And, we are all human.  And as a result we fail to communicate effectively on a fairly regular basis.  How do we clean it up when we fail to communicate what accurately represents our heart, mind, and spirit?  The best way I find . . . is to admit it.  Come clean.  Let people know you recognize that you made a mistake and that you are trying to improve your mission, reputation, or what have you.  And if someone does this with you, and admits they have been sending nastygrams, show compassion.  Forgive. Forget.  Let it go!  (And that’s my random thoughts for the day).