• Read Straight Talk: Speak the Truth with Love

    Authenticity, Difficult conversations

    Straight Talk: Speak the Truth with Love

    This week I’ve been teaching a course on straight talk.  I often refer to this skill as “Speaking the Truth with Love.”  The crux of getting this right depends on three important aspects. There are three elements to straight talk: Caring personally (compassion) – Caring personally about the individual who is on the receiving end of this conversation and demonstrating this care with your words in the conversation. Sharing your perspective and/or challenging directly – Or in other words, being clear about the issue that needs to be communicated and not beating around the proverbial bush. Inviting others to do the same – Creating the space to have a two-way conversation rather than merely talk at someone. Any straight talk conversation is a great opportunity for two-way dialogue and not merely a “dump and run.” Don’t Bury the Lead You’d be surprised how often we do the opposite.  When it comes to challenging directly, I notice one thing in particular.  I often sit in practice runs where participants are role playing a difficult conversation they need to have.  I’ve seen people do a million times something I call “burying the lead.”  At the end of the conversation, I ask the initiator what the issue was they wanted to communicate.  The person on the receiving end of the conversation often had a totally different impression of what the conversation was about.  The gravity of the issue had not been conveyed clearly or accurately.  This happens all the time, and people walk away with completely different perceptions of a conversation or an issue.  No wonder there’s so much conflict in our personal and professional lives! Remember that honesty without compassion is brutality But the caring personally aspect is just as important as challenging directly. It’s crucial to remember that honesty without compassion can be brutality. E.g. “I think your idea is stupid.” I’m reminded of an old friend and colleague that I used to spend a lot of time with.  She prided herself on her ability to give straight talk.  She had mastered the art of being direct.  On that front there was no one better I will admit.  The problem is her words were often not couched in compassion.  Over time it took a toll on my ability to relate to her, and eventually after I’d been stung enough times, I abandoned the relationship.  It just wasn’t worth it. So why don’t we engage in straight talk?  Or why don’t we do it well when we try? Mindset is Everything Mindset plays a huge role when it comes to this skill.  Do any of these sound familiar? It means being unkind. I must act professionally regardless of the cost. I can’t upset people. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I must tell the truth at all costs. Silence is golden. I can’t challenge someone senior to me. Which of these beliefs are true for you?  And how are they getting in the way of […]

    July 13, 2022

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    3.1 min read

  • Read How to Stop Judging People (Just Leave it to Judge Judy)

    Life Coaching

    How to Stop Judging People (Just Leave it to Judge Judy)

    How to Stop Judging People (Just Leave it to Judge Judy) In August of 2015, a month after I packed in my job and started my own life coaching company, I decided to reward myself with a two-week meditation retreat. A few weeks of blissful self-reflection in the wilds of the Colorado mountains I mused. A fitting start for a trail-blazing woman who has just left the madness of the corporate grind to embark on a new journey and start a business focused on personal development. It reminds me of that saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The setting was indeed idyllic. I spent the two weeks in a tent in a very remote part of the Colorado mountains with 120 other brave souls. So idyllic, in fact, that often a chipmunk or deer would wander in during meditation sessions and stare at the strange humans sitting on mats, staring off into space for hours on end. I often spent hours longing to be one of those deer. At least I could have escaped.  The night before the retreat started, we gathered together for an orientation. During that session, it became clear to me that the meditation retreat really was just that – meditating. All day long. No rest for the weary. Sitting was to start at 7 am and end each evening around 9 pm. And it was at that point, Dear Reader, that the panic started to set in. Two weeks? Two weeks of sitting on a mat? My legs will go numb. My back will give out. I’ll die of boredom. And it was just at that precise moment, in my infinite wisdom, I realized I had inadvertently signed up for two weeks of my worst fear. For some people it’s snakes. For some it’s death. I, however, fear boredom and will do just about anything to avoid it. We See What We Want To See You may be thinking to yourself, “How could she have been so stupid?” (Which would be judgment, by the way, but we’ll get into that later.) And it’s true. It was indeed billed as a meditation retreat – make no mistake. But often the mind sees and interprets what it wants to see and interpret, Dear Reader. After the first day, I was convinced I was going to claw my eyes out. Between sitting sessions, I sought out other like-minded meditators for much needed conversation where I blurted out my fears and concerns like a bulimic needing a good purge. And then the unthinkable happened. The head meditation instructor announced that the retreat was to become completely silent. No talking, even between the sitting sessions during breaks. Not one single word. If there was an emergency, we were to write a note. A Run-Away Freight Train High on Judgment Resigned to my new silent fate, the next morning I was sitting on my mat, under the guise of meditation:   “Uuuugh, I […]

    September 7, 2017

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    7.3 min read