I’m leaping straight in today with the first of my lightbulb-moment take-home moments from Limitless Live 2019 as mentioned in last week’s newsletter. Have you ever experienced situations like these and had an internal battle over how or what to say?
You want to ask for a salary increase or some additional CPD.
You want to express to a colleague that you didn’t like the way they spoke to you in front of the team in the prep room the other day and how he or she could have handled it differently. Extra awkwardness points if that person was your boss.
Telling your boss who’s just sold out to a corporate without telling you when they knew you were hoping for a partnership how you feel..
Bringing up a performance issue with a team member when you ARE the boss
This showed up loud and clear in the results from my November survey when I collated the results from what the different groups of respondents were more interested in learning about.
Both the happy and dissatisfied respondents were most interested in learning about topics that either:
- manage and control others perceptions of us (perfectionism)
- would be a barrier to feeling worthy enough or courageous enough to instigate those types of conversation
In her opening address at Limitless Live, the host Suzy Ashworth told a personal story.
It was to highlight how hard it can be at times to stand up for what we want or to tell someone we didn’t like something.
Often just the thought of having that conversation is enough to get our stomachs knotting up.
Our inner dialogue says things like,
“What if they think I’m terrible for asking?”
“What if they say you’re not worth that or good enough or as good as the rest of the team?”
“What if they respond really aggressively or burst into tears?”
“What if they then hate me afterwards and it’s all awkward at work?”
We might even go as far as convincing ourselves we don’t want whatever it is that much, or we’re not as bothered about the hurt or angry feelings we experienced.
Anything to not have to go there!
And yet, if you were to ask yourself the question, hand on heart, does the REAL me want that thing or care about that situation?????
To be genuinely authentic then, to stand in your own truth and be honest about who you are and what’s important to you, you have to muster the courage to have that talk, as puke-inducing as it might feel. This can be done assertively. Not meekly, cap-in-hand apologetically. Nor bull-in-a-china-shop forcefully with a sense of entitlement either! Just calmly and politely.
Here’s the 4-step process for what that looks like and how you can prepare…..
Step One Write down the facts of the situation. Not your feelings or your justifications or opinions, just the bare facts of the situation.
Step Two Write down how that makes or made you feel. NOW you can unleash your emotions. Get it all out of your head and system, let rip as no one is going to read this! Be 100% honest with yourself about how it makes you feel.
Step Three Ask yourself what you want. What outcome would make you happy? Answers might be knowing when your salary will increase and with what criteria. Receiving an apology. Having a new process in place for how a clinical difference of opinion might be resolved more collaboratively in the future. Etc. etc.
Step Four Take a deep breath. Ask for a meeting or a phonecall.
Write out a script you can practice beforehand of how you will calmly talk through the first three steps in order in the meeting so that you can still speak if you have a big limbic-brain response at the meeting.
“Thank you for your time today. I’ve asked for this meeting because of event x and state just the facts. This made or makes me feel x/y/z.” Just the one or two main feelings, you don’t have to give them your full half-page rant here…. 😉
“What I would really like is x,y,z.”
Then stop talking and listen. No rambling or overjustifying yourself!
Now the above may not be rocket science. You probably know it already and it may seem quite obvious.
Hopefully it’s a useful reminder but it’s NOT the take-home I wrote from the speech.
There is actually a Step Five to this process. Step Five is that you have to completely release your attachment to the outcome of Steps One to Four.
No matter what the answer is or how the person responds. Yes, really. This is about being brave enough to be who you are and ask for what you want (politely) knowing that you are worthy and enough, and that it’s ok to ask. Most of the time, you’ll get a really positive response or a polite no with the reason.
But what if you don’t? What if the other person flies off the handle, slags you off, laughs at your request, tells you you’re not as good as the rest of the team or asks who you think you are to make a request like that?
i.e. all the things your anxious Chimp mind has been whispering since you started considering asking….
IF that ever happened, the issue would lie firmly with the other person and not with you.
As painful as that experience would be, you would walk away feeling bruised but proud.
You will only ever grow as a person and achieve the life and happiness you deserve if you let go of needing to control the outcome and stand in the truth of what’s important to you.
That’s integrity. That’s authenticity.
And at times, yes – it’s fecking hard and scary to do it. This is about the ability to be brave and afraid simultaneously.
So what DID I write to myself in my journal?
“Stop worrying about what other people think of you. Release your attachment to people’s response to who you truly are. You will only grow if you stand up for who and what you are.”
I want you to take a minute right now. Close your eyes and think.
Where are you NOT currently asking for what you want in either your professional or personal life?
My challenge to you this week is to start thinking about preparing to have that conversation and then JFDI. (Just Flipping Do It) 😜 Go on – I dare you!
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