This is my fourth article in my Powerful Conversations series and writing it has really got me thinking, in a good way. I’m reflected on some of my recent powerful conversations and realised that these often rise from a place of challenge or a desire for change. There is a definite pull towards a set outcome and change I’m committed to.
At this point, I’ve tuned into my intuition or inner knowing and I’m following a path that will see me create a space to speak, listen, feel, agree or disagree and then (hopefully) build a new agreement. Or at the very least, agree to reflect and reconnect with the idea of a new outcome next time. I realise that conversations feel transformational even if the end goal is a long way away because investing time to be with another human feels good when I move from an open heart and mind.
Often when we approach a powerful conversation we have already made our mind how it will be:
This is all very nice so far isn’t it. But here’s the thing, often when we approach a powerful conversation we have already made our mind how it will be, what we will experience, how we will feel and if it will be a success. Feelings like stress, dread, trepidation can overtake what is really happening in the moment and diminish the opportunity to be seen, heard and understood from all sides. What if the biggest gift you could give to someone today was to say, “I’ve never thought of it like that, that’s really interesting, thank you for sharing.”
Breaking free of the old mould:
Without taking time to reflect, often we have framed the conversation in a certain way, based upon our own life experiences and through automatic lenses or a rigid perspective. I hear these words a lot, “I really hate confrontation, which automatically creates an assumption that the conversation will be difficult and painful.” When you show up from this place, it’s likely that you will appear defensive, rigid and closed, and it will show in your face, words and body language.
This is where the commitment to sustainable change becomes essential because without this approach, a resonate outcome for all will be hard to reach. It requires some inner processing and clarity because you are required to both stand in your own shoes and adopt a resonant perspective, as well as see the world through different eyes, only then are you freed up to truly listen and create.
Let me give you an example…
If I invited you to engage in a powerful conversation with me how would you feel? What would your first (automatic) response be? What would you assume about me, the conversation and its impact on you? Most importantly, would you be open to the experience?
It is true to say that nearly all humans I have ever met (including myself) have some kind of issue with the idea of power, they want more of it, they fear it, they dislike it, they rebel against it and so on.
Several years ago, I taught at my local university within the faculty of business and law, and asked students across two classes to bring examples of powerful campaigns in for discussion. Their response astounded me, every student from a class of 45 translated the word powerful negatively collecting images focused around nicotine, cancer, war etc. But hope was not totally lost, as one student showcased a different perspective on powerful. Her story communicated the positive impact loving your body (regardless of its outer form) can have on self-esteem.
BUT the real takeaway from this article is this:
What if the request for a powerful conversation could be a spark that lit you and others up from the inside? What if my intention was to tell you what I saw in you, how you made me feel and how much I valued our relationship?
These words stand as an invitation to create some space for heart-warming (and powerful) conversations with others – because who said that all powerful conversation need to be steeped in negative conflict? What if this could be a whole hearted and glorious experience for all, now that’s a wonderful perspective to adopt?
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Before you dive in take some time to clear your assumptions and choose a perspective that excites you and makes you feel alive.
- Then reflect on their impact on you, how they make you feel and what they bring to your day/week etc?
- When you think of this person or the topic that you would like to discuss, what do you feel, what do you believe and what do you want them to take away? By accessing your own feelings, you can really bring the conversation to life and that’s very exciting.
- Then step into the circle, and honour their contribution – making sure you pay close attention to your own impact as you do so?
This blog is part of a Powerful Conversations series written by Karen Heras-Kelly. Karen is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, Leadership facilitator, meditation and creative visualisation expert. Karen is the founder of A Tribe Called Woman and the Breathe Time at work project.