How to Have a Difficult Conversation

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How to Face a Difficult Conversation

In her 2015 memoir Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person Shonda Rhimes wrote:

“I’ve become kind of obsessed with difficult conversations. Mostly because of how calm life is when you are willing to have them.”

Shonda Rhimes learned to ask people what they said when they muttered under their breath. She learned to ask questions that she may or may not have liked the answer to.

What Does This Have to Do With Life and Legacy Organizing?

In life and legacy planning, I encourage these difficult conversations all the time to navigate and better understand your priorities. Talking it out—both with you and sometimes your loved ones—gives you a unique opportunity to really dive in and better reveal what is most important to you.

So often, we fall into the trap of making assumptions about someone or what they might want, but we don’t have to. Taking the time to really “go there” and understand someone else’s perspective, and why certain items are important to them, can give great depth and breadth to the seemingly simple question of: “what do you want?"

What Additional Tools Can I Use?

One of the most valuable concepts I learned during a coaching training course last year was that of “making space”. This concept gives someone the literal, or figurative, space within a conversation to think about what they are saying. It means that you don’t necessarily respond immediately. It means you might not have the answers. And that is completely OK.

It’s hard to embrace having difficult conversations the way Shonda did. But it’s worth trying if it means you don’t spend time wondering “Do they know what I want?”, or “What if?” These difficult life and legacy planning conversations actually lead to the greatest gift of all—peace of mind.

“Freedom lies across the field of the difficult conversation.” - Shonda Rhimes

Need some help in having some of those difficult conversations with yourself, or strategize on how to approach them with other people? Reach out and schedule your complimentary consultation call here.

In Summary:

  • Difficult conversations are difficult, but they can bring such calm on the other side.
  • It's important to have these difficult conversations in all areas of life.