David has broken down a process to make you feel more at ease to sharing your truth. If you’re struggling with confrontation, how to talk about something that you really want, or how to talk about something that you’re ashamed of, but you’re not sure how to have the conversation, whether it’s with a partner, or work situation, David share’s a blueprint to make them easier. There are long term benefits to learning to embrace tough conversations rather than sweeping things under the rug. It’s natural to want to avoid discomfort but it’s critical to learn to embrace discomfort if you want to grow. In this episode, we talk about the tendency to sweep things under the rug, how to prepare for a tough conversation, the long-term benefits of sharing our truth, and so much more.
Why do we shy away from tough conversations?
The vulnerability of tough conversations is why. The mind is good at coming up with all the risks involved even though nine times out of ten the gain outweighs the potential cost. David wants to help people to see all the benefits.
How do we navigate what’s at stake?
You need to write down the hope and intention. Look at the gains as much as you have looked at the risks. What comes first is the short-term pain, then comes the long-term pain which is worse. And it is usually way bigger in our heads than it is in the other person’s head.
Do we not like to upset others?
It is ultimately a selfish reaction since we do not like to get upset when we upset others. We take away the choice of the other person when we decide not to have those tough conversations. Building trust and upholding your integrity are some of the major benefits of having these dreaded conversations. It is much better to take the short-term pain and change things earlier on to avoid long-term slow drama.
How do you invite people to start tough conversations when they feel they’re going to lose control or become highly emotional?
One question in the worksheet that David offers asks ‘what’s your hope or intention out of this?’ which prompts preparation. Being prepared yourself helps the other person to want to have the conversation. The other thing is to write down your concern and what you will gain from the conversation. The worksheet will help you and the other person not to blow up since you came in prepared. We don’t have the tough conversations because we’re attached to the outcome. But when we have them we lose most control and become curious about what the other person has to say.
Do you think that witnessing your sister’s death and it not being talked about in your home has impacted you?
David did not have a lot of ‘feelings communication’ from a young age. The lack of emotional intelligence in his home growing up led to him shooting down his feelings. This has influenced David to be an evangelist of change once he discovered that people can be authentic. He wants to give people the change they are looking for.
Do you think inmates hold on to pain that can cause more bad behavior since there’s so much that isn’t talked about?
Inmates have feelings just like the rest of us, even more, amplified because of the guilt and shame. They have less freedom to speak up which is why it’s hard to have those tough conversations. The difference between a boss and a correctional officer is that the boss only controls a small aspect of your life while the latter controls every aspect of your life. The stakes are higher for the inmates. David learned not to share everything on podcasts to avoid public shame. You do not have to share your shame with people you don’t necessarily care about since public shame is huge. He says he’s not a psychologist who would know about behavioral change but says that people who hold in their emotions will blow up at some point.
Are we afraid of tough conversations because we don’t realize if they will bring us more human connections?
The external result is the first promise of tough conversations, the second is becoming self-expressed, the third one is getting the connection and the fourth one that we get to reshape our reality. We have to allow our boundaries to be knocked down to shift our reality.
How do you think tough conversations relate to ‘I don’t like confrontation’ analogy?
David says nobody likes confrontation- not even him. This analogy is one of the things why we ignore important conversations. He suggests that when you realize the potential gains, you may decide its worth it and the more you do it the easier it gets. The worksheet makes it less confrontational and instead becomes more of a partnership since you are ready to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Do you often have people with ‘small tough conversations’?
Micro conversations are a great way to start. Start by addressing those small conversations as you move on to the bigger ones. You have to be aware of the threat that exists so that you can start that conversation.
What’s your vision for corporations and transforming cultures so that it can have a ripple effect in our world?
When you start complaining about something is when you know it’s a tough conversation. David’s vision is that every employee has access to in time coaching for tough conversations. This will help them improve their work situation and companies will make more profits. His secret mission is that everyone feels expressed, which will then create a world of leaders who change situations that don’t work for them. People quit toxic cultures not jobs. Many companies have toxic cultures where employees don’t have the opportunity to speak up- which is what David want to break so that employees don’t sabotage everything.
How much do you think role-playing helps?
It is hugely powerful. David switches the role which has turned out to be a more powerful tool.
Any last piece of advice?
Write down on a piece of paper the people you don’t feel wonderful with and place the issue next to them- which could be potential tough conversations that you may or may not want to have.
For support, podcast, and discovery session:
David Wood’s Website: http://playforreal.life/
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