Key Point: What conversations do you have with yourself? Susan Scott’s work in her book Fierce Conversations is so important, but it can be very irritating for me. I’m revisiting her work in preparation for a leadership development session I’m having with colleagues. She always takes me places that I often would like to avoid. Sometimes I’d prefer to have a glass of wine and watch a hockey game rather than think about what she provokes me to confront. Her phrase “the conversation is the relationship and the relationship is the conversation” is one of life’s key guiding principles as far as I’m concerned. Here is where it becomes most challenging for me. I know that the conversations I have with myself are an essential foundation to being able to have the most meaningful conversations with others. Frankly, sometimes I’d prefer just to “leave well enough alone” and to numbly pass. I know that’s wrong but… Geez… Pour the Pinot Noir, please.
Having fierce conversations with ourselves requires courage. We have to be honest and authentic with ourselves first and that takes an investment in time and thought. It usually requires us to empty ourselves of our version of reality and become more grounded. This requires confronting the “official” truth you tell yourself and others versus digging deeper to determine what the “ground” truth is. There is a greeting process of certain tribes in Africa that starts with the following sequence:
The greeter: “I see you.”
The greeted: “I am here.”
The point is, of course, that until you literally get present and fully see the other person, they are not really there. I believe that greeting also applies to the way we might best treat ourselves… I see myself… I am here. In fact, the root of “respect,” as I write about it in The Character Triangle, is “look again.” This self-look however does NOT involve spending ANY useless time on self-blame or judgment. Life is definitely curly and wishing for it to be straight and simple is a fool’s paradise. However being consciously present, authentic and honest with ourselves is the platform for deeper and more meaningful conversations with others.
Character Moves (as inspired by Susan Scott):
- Learn how to employ what Scott calls the Mineral Rights model. The four principles are: Interrogate reality, Provoke learning, Tackle tough challenges, Enrich relationships. There are numerous techniques and ways of utilizing this model. Explore more of Scott’s work to discover them.
- Dig deeper into understanding and grounding your reality by exploring multiple perspectives without applying blame. Try not to just confirm how you think you should feel or what you should say, but describe how you really feel and identify what you want to say. Are there any differences between your “official truths” and “grounded truths?” What are the implications?
- Do a personal integrity scan. Write down your core values (worth spending some time to reflect on). Determine if there are what Scott describes as Integrity Outages between what you state you value and what is really happening in your work and personal life. (E.g. value: You believe in the value of continuously learning…Integrity outage… You haven’t committed to learning or doing anything new for a long time). Determine ways of cleaning up your integrity outages.
- Give yourself a refresher on Fierce Conversations. It may irritate you, and make you uncomfortable BUT it will propel you forward with yourselves and others.
I see and I am in The Triangle,