I received a humbling compliment from a dear friend the other day. She said, “When I think of you I think you're fearless, you don't hesitate, you act, you help - if the building is burning and someone is left inside, you're going in after them! She said you are a giver and you always put others needs before your own.” I teared up as she was speaking and I was humbled because I do want to live my life in service to others and I am a person who loves helping and making things better, and it is nice to be acknowledged for that.
BUT...I struggle with this sometimes as well because I can also be too accommodating, too much of a "codependent fixer", not speaking up at times when it is needed, either to a friend, a colleague, an employee, a loved one and even a client. I have done a lot of work on this in recent years, but it's a journey I am still on...how to be pleasant, helpful and accommodating to others and how to maintain my boundaries and take care of my own needs at the same time?
I have a hundred examples of how I’ve violated my own boundaries, let others take advantage, spent a ton of time and money ‘helping’ people (I say ‘helping’ because sometimes I actually needed to step out of the way and not play God). I once spent every last dime of my own money getting a non-profit I volunteered with out of debt and then couldn't pay my own bills! I am proud to say I have come a LONG way over the past few years in this department, but one of the things that has helped me the most is practicing what I preach in choosing how I handle conflicts.
Although I have studied it and taught it in corporate and university settings, and have advanced degrees in communication and conflict, I haven't been the best at handling my own conflicts. I know, right? There is some truth to the saying that we teach what we need to learn... You see, I am a card carrying AVOIDER by nature and ACCOMMODATOR as a close second when it comes to conflict styles, so it has been like building a new muscle, being more self aware and using my knowledge and expertise in my own life. However, once I began to value myself more, be more self aware about what I really wanted out of a conflict situation, assessing my options and CHOOSING the right style for me in that situation, it got easier! I’m not saying it’s always easy...but it is worth it! As a result, I have better relationships (and dropped some of the not so great ones) and my needs are getting met more. But it doesn’t mean I have to stop loving people and being helpful, and once I realized that, I gave myself permission to stand in my own truth. I still don’t do this well all the time, but I have come a LONG WAY BABY!
Ultimately it is a leadership decision - how I lead myself in my own conflicts is how I am influencing others, and for me that is too important to keep going on autopilot! My motto is 'whether you are leading yourself or leading others, a little bit of why goes a long way'. In conflicts I need to know WHY I am upset, what outcomes I want and WHY I want them, that is going to help me make the best decision in that situation. Sometimes I discover some pretty interesting things about myself when I go deeper and ask why.
As the holidays approach, the potential for conflicts and issues increase as we are interacting with a LOT of people - holiday parties, family gatherings, Black Friday crowds and the craziness of shopping and traffic! And how about that line to see Santa?? Are you looking forward to interacting with so many people over the next few weeks or dreading it because of the potential for conflicts? It can be a bit overwhelming and you might feel like you are bracing yourself to head into a storm, hoping to come through on the other side in one piece in January.
BUT it doesn't have to be that way. The beautiful thing about conflict is that we have a choice in how we respond, react, engage and navigate the differences of opinions, little annoyances or huge boundary violations that come our way around this time of year. I want to share with you an audio training and accompanying slideshow on how to handle conflicts by exercising the BEST choice and style for each situation. When we make the best choices for us in conflict situations and seek to understand and be understood, the outcomes can be surprisingly awesome. We can have better communication, stronger relationships, actually get our needs met and create new, more effective ways of interacting with those we love. We can even learn to tolerate and interact pleasantly with those we are not so in love with!
I want you to have a pleasant experience this holiday and feel more in control of how your conflicts end up, and that is why I am offering my Handling Holiday Conflicts course for just $19 this year. That is over 50% off of what I offered it for last season! You will receive access to the audio recording and powerpoint slides to follow along and have notes to refer to in the future. You will also receive a conflict styles assessment to complete before you listen to the audio so that you can be more self aware of your current dominant response. You will learn the nature of conflict, a new way of thinking about conflict, the two questions to ask yourself in each situation and the options available to you for proceeding. You will also learn the different styles you have to choose from, examples of scenarios and how to choose the best style for each situation you encounter.
While you’re spending money on so many things this season, why not invest less than twenty bucks on something that can really help you navigate conflicts, reduce your stress and improve your relationships throughout this holiday season and beyond! You can save the recording and slides to re-listen at your convenience. You can purchase it here and you will receive an email with access to the playback shortly after checking out.
Here's to having a holiday of LESS stress, LESS conflict, MORE fun and MORE good cheer!
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