Courageous Conversations

Decision Point‘The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.’ – Elaine Agather

Interesting quote. I like it. It has been awhile since my last blog entry, if I have nothing intelligent to say, I will not bother writing anything. That explains why I don’t write much. ūüôā

I really like the phrase “Courageous Converstions”, it has come to hold deep meaning to me. Through the course of our personal, professional, and spiritual journeys, we periodically find that we are at a fork in the road. Perhaps someone¬†we know is¬†making unhealthy choices, or their actions are causing others pain or grief. It may even be that they are¬†just missing an opportunity that is in front of them.¬†

The fork in the road offers us two choices…
We could engage in a courageous conversation with this person and offer them some insight or information that could help them, or we could choose to not interfere and hold silent for fear of making them feel uncomfortable or feeling hurt.

This is a fine line. I for one invite as many courageous conversations from my friends and colleagues as possible. I want to grow. I want to know the implications or impact of my words and deeds. Not everyone shares that outlook.

For some reason, I consider it part of my responsibility as a friend or employee to bring issues to the forefront. Many of the conversations  can be uncomfortable. I do not enjoy conflict and I certainly do not want my words to seem callous or hurtful. I have a hard time when people dance around a truth without taking the time & energy to just discuss the truth. Maybe I am becoming crotchety. Everyone can deal with a truth, it is just making sure it is out in the open with some fresh air for it to bloom and take seed.

A courageous conversation is about talking to a person, instead of talking about them. How many times have you overheard, or even been part of a discussion that was about someone? How many times have you privately thought during one of these discussions that if only this person knew the impact of what they were doing, they might change their course of action? How many people, (or organizations), have you seen following a path of self-desctruction?  A courageous conversation need not only occur when there are earth-shattering things at stake, quite often the little things are as important. Left untended, little things may become big things.

This is the double edge sword. I have made a commitment to myself that I will not shy away from courageous conversations, I will embrace them. I will venture to try and say what must be said. I will offer that as a token of care to those I call friend. I will venture to offer that in my professional and volunteer activities as well so the organizations can learn and grow. I commit to talking to people instead of about people. I do not wish to engage in a hypocrisy of values.

This comes with a challenge. Courageous conversations need to come from a good place with no malice in thought or intent. They also need be be broached carefully, with a gentle delivery and respect that the other may simply not be interested. I also, need to constantly monitor my perceptions. Who is to say that what I perceive is accurate or valid? These conversations should only occur when the facts are known and the emotions are on an even keel.

Moreover, the above is more of a commitment I make to myself, not to others. A set of values are not something to keep on the shelf where you pull them down once in a while to read them, they are a codified set of behaviours that guide our actions on a dialy basis. I wish to live my values fully.

To those around me. Please venture to say to me what should be said. There are times when my actions and words are not in my best interest, or maybe I am causing others harm or discomfort. I want to know. When that happens, know that by calling me aside, and engaging in a Courageous Conversation, you are giving me the gift of friendship & respect.


3 thoughts on “Courageous Conversations

  1. I thought I would be courageous and leave a comment… here it is…ready?


    ( I will try to do better next time )

  2. I learnt (about 8 years ago) that not everyone desires my opinion! That was a lesson a long time in coming. Divorce and portraying a life that was not always as perfect as I would have liked others to believe, showed me that I have no right to play judge nor jury. I still have opinions but like to keep them to myself until asked.
    If I could learn to live my life according to “The Desiderata” I think I would finally be happy !

  3. Thanks Mitch. I appreciate your comments. It certainly is a fine line and a balancing act. Therein lies the challenge, (at least my challenge). Once again…
    …I appreciate the comments and feedback.


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