How to Have Hard Conversations
Three Mindsets Keeping You Stuck
Hard conversations are the worst. Very few of us want to have them. Most of us avoid them. Really, who likes stepping into that awkward space? I might rather have a root canal without painkiller.
But here's the thing about hard conversations: they are essential. We need them, and the better we are at them, the more freedom we will have.
Hard conversations can be more comfortable when we remember these three truths.
Three Ways to Tackle Fear
You have dreams, right? You have goals—we all do. But for some reason, it always seems like you’re spinning your wheels with no forward progress. You can’t figure out how to get traction, and end up finding yourself sitting in a big pile of frustration. Guess what? You’re not alone. So many of us experience the same challenges and can’t figure out exactly why.
Luckily, it’s simple. It all comes backdown to mindset.
All of us can move toward our best lives when we start eliminating the things that keep us stuck. When you’re feeling stuck, chances are one of these three mindsets are probably the culprit:
Dealing With Emotionally Unavailable People
I don’t know about you, but my mind can run rampant with worry if I’m not careful. The “what if’s” can pile up like a mountain of dirty clothes before the ever-dreaded laundry day.What if I fail? What if people don’t like what I’m saying? What if I’m all alone? What if my kids get hurt? What if, what if . . . what if.
The possibilities are endless.
Relationship researcher and best-selling author, Shaunti Feldhahn, writes in her book, The Kindness Challenge, “We can’t feed fear (aka: worry) and then complain that we’re anxious and stressed! We’ve got to look for and confront the ways we are causing the very anxiety we wish we didn’t have.”
Three Ways to Stay Grounded When You Feel Anxious
Today I am writing to my single ladies. Those of you who are searching for the right relationship. You are still looking for “Mr. Right” . . . but keep coming up empty. Today’s dating world looks a lot like the Bachelor/Bachelorette and scouring online dating apps like Match, Tinder, and Coffee Meets Bagel. You could say the dating pool has become pretty murky. The waters are unclear, and they just keep getting more and more confusing. It’s difficult to know when someone is in it for the right reasons, or if they are really emotionally available to begin with. (And truly, we all deal with emotionally unavailable people, whether we are in a relationship or not, so this can apply to anyone.)
No Is a Sentence
As much as we’d hate to admit it, summer is winding down. And if you have school-aged kids, it’s about to get real. . . school is about to start. Life is about to start moving faster than we can keep up. Pretty soon, your calendar will be filled up with things like school registration (and the paperwork that comes with it), Meet the teacher and Back to School nights, homework battles, early morning wake-ups, extra-curricular activities . . . and on and on. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed just thinking about it, don’t you? But hear me out: We don’t have to stay in the place of overwhelm.
Shifting Your Mindset
When I began my life coaching certification training program in 2008, I was running ragged. My husband was deployed in Iraq for a year and I was holding everything together at home with a four and six-year-old.
I was saying "yes" to anything that came my way. And the thing is, they were mostly things that I really wanted to do. The problem is, I just didn't have enough time in the day to get it all done. Can you relate?
The Pain of Organization
The work I do largely deals with helping others get unstuck. Whether they feel stuck in their personal lives, at work, in relationships, or with their health, the core of “stuckness” is often faulty beliefs.
To get unstuck, we must evaluate our mindset and exchange our faulty beliefs for these three truths:
Starting off Strong
We are an airline family, and one of the beautiful perks is the opportunity to fly standby when seats are open on a flight. It isn’t always glamorous. We have countless stories of being stuck in an airport for hours, but many times, it works in our favor. While most people plan vacation travel well in advance, we operate differently. When we have time to travel, we pack our carry-on bags and then hop on the plane that’s open. It feels a bit like the show The Amazing Race, and our approach to travel always makes my “planner” friends cringe.
3 Ways to Move Forward
I don’t know about you, but I always feel energized and motivated this time of year. The pressure of the holidays is behind me, the decorations are put away, and I am able to be inspired by the open pages of the new year. I have always gotten giddy about the opportunity to set goals for the year, dream big, and step out in new directions, even before I worked in the field of personal growth (yes, I am a self-development nerd). Now, it’s a gift to create space for my goals, as well as those I work with.
Your Marriage Matters
If we feel stuck, it’s often because we were created to do something more. The “more” could be as big as moving toward adoption, running a marathon, starting a business, or transitioning to a different career. Or, it could be more subtle, like starting a new morning routine, finishing a book, or inviting friends over for coffee more often. Growth doesn’t have to look like scaling Mount Everest. It could simply be turning fifteen degrees from where you are and stepping out in a different direction. Whether our goals are big or small, one thing is true: we are all created to grow.
Decluttering Your Life
I was recently on a phone call with a friend who is a marriage counselor. I had a counseling client struggling in her marriage, and I recommended that the couple consider working with this friend and colleague. I was thrilled when she and her husband agreed. The couple signed a release statement, allowing my colleague and I to consult with each other in hopes of working as a team. While recent events stacked the odds against this couple’s relationship, I still had hope. I had hope that once they began doing the work together, things would shift. These two wonderful people had somehow become disconnected through the challenges of life.
Holiday Survival Guide
Six years ago, while moving into our new home, we stumbled upon an estate sale at a neighbor’s house. Even though we were knee deep in boxes of our own stuff, we couldn’t resist popping in and checking it out. While most of the items didn’t fit our needs, we were excited to find a seven-piece set of pots and pans. We were anxious to get rid of a well-loved set we had used since our wedding, almost fifteen years prior, and this was an affordable replacement.
3 Truths About Making a Mistake
I don’t know about you, but this time of year is enough to make anyone’s normal anxiety flare off the charts. Between the shopping, parties, envelope stuffing, school performances, wrapping, class party gifts, decorations, baking, and travel, it’s amazing that we are able to enjoy this season at all. And that’s sad, because it completely takes our focus off of the one we are supposed to be celebrating, and leaves us feeling more like Scrooge.
Gratitude and Thanksgiving
I have a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. Though we live in the same neighborhood and were even in the same church small group for a while, our paths don’t currently cross in our daily routine. We’d been trying to connect for a while, but aligning our schedules seemed to be an enormous challenge.
I was excited when I had a window of time open up, so before I started my work day of back-to-back clients, I reached out to her via messenger and asked if she could meet for coffee the next day. She responded that she was free, and I was thrilled that it was going to work out. I jumped into work and didn’t think another thing of it—until I checked my phone after my last client.
The Secret Weapon of Feedback
Thanksgiving reminds me of how important it is to be grateful. It’s a special time to reflect on all we have been given and the blessings we have. And, cultivating gratitude is the perfect way to prepare our hearts for the craze of the coming Christmas season. I often find myself struggling to focus more on the gift of Jesus than on shopping for everyone on my list, creating Christmas magic around my house, or making time for holiday events. I don’t know about you, but the business of the season completely gets in the way of feeling grateful.
Let’s claim a thankful heart now, as we are about to jump into the chaos of the holidays.
Dealing with Disappointment
Feedback. It can be scary. We cringe or tense up the moment we realize someone is going to share his perspective of us, our words, or our performance. We can feel exposed and vulnerable as shame washes over us and sets our nervous system on fire.
Feedback, however, can move us to places we never thought we could go. If we can courageously embrace feedback and the value it brings, it can get us unstuck.
You can move toward all you are made for by embracing these three truths when you have the opportunity to receive feedback:
30 Day Blackout by Stacy Jagger
Growing up, I had a friend who stayed upset with me. I never seemed to meet her expectations or needs. The biggest problem was that I didn’t know what they were. She never told me. She would just get frustrated, passive-aggressive, and, ultimately, ignore me. When I would inquire about what was wrong, she would reply, “You should know.”
If you know me well, you know I despise the word should.
In retrospect, I see our friendship would have been stronger if she had let me know what she needed.
Embrace the Unknown by Kyleen Baptiste
Back in the early days of electronics, in the 1920–30s, families would huddle around the radio and share the experience of listening to their favorite programs. Then in the 1940s, television became the social centerpiece of the family. These TV shows were not daily events, rather, they were special occasions when the family gathered ‘round for a short break after a long day of work, a respite from life to huddle up on the couch and laugh together, cry together, and share the experience of being entertained together.
You're Awesome! Admit It Already! by Chance Scoggins
I remember going whitewater rafting with a large group years ago, and we were lucky enough to get the most seasoned raft guide. He’d lived there on the banks of the river for 30 years, skin weathered by the sun, hair to prove it, and he knew every inch of those level ___ rapids. We knew we were in good hands. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As we loaded in the raft we began asking him about what made the ‘best’ group to guide down the river. Trying to get it right, we guessed ‘physically fit’, thinking physical stamina played a significant role in the success of maneuvering the raft. To our surprise, he said that had little to do with it.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. He’s an uncommonly gifted singer. Even among great singers, he stands out. He can’t help it. He’s just awesome.
Not wanting to be perceived as having a big ego or trying to outshine anyone, he said he sometimes dumbs himself down in order to fit in with the average ability in the room. And when you give him a compliment, he likely won’t receive your words. They’ll come back to you like a boomerang, as if he’s ordinary, and somehow YOU are the amazing one.