You won't be good at what you don't do

You would probably not expect yourself to place well in a swimming race if you only got into the pool once every six months. And if you need to generate custom reports from the accounting software, you’ll probably seek training and experience so you can increase your comfort with the programming parameters.
When you engage in ANYTHING on a frequent basis, you become better and better at it, and it becomes easier.  This statement applies whether we’re speaking about a physical skill (like running or ice skating), an intellectual skill (like learning a language or mastering a new software), or an emotional skill (like providing feedback, or sharing feelings in a situation).
You know this is true. So why, if you want to become better at dealing with conflicts and other uncomfortable people situations, do you actively avoid the practice?
“Difficult conversations” come under the third category, emotional skills.  Difficult conversations are usually only difficult because you don’t have them as often, so your skill sets are not as well developed.  Yet if you engage with more frequency in conversations about small concerns (like an unclear email or a small mistake made or a single chore not performed), you will find that your comfort level and skill level both increase, and eventually the “difficult conversations” become easy.
Stop telling me you’re uncomfortable. Do it. Try it. Practice it. work through your mistakes and “sore muscles.” Then come back and tell me about your performance.
You won’t be good at what you don’t do.



Read more articles like this one in: Communication, In the workplace, Leadership, Relationships

Comments 2

  1. Society is going the wrong direction here. People tend to mix up not being polite with speaking your mind. I agree with your points regarding difficult conversation but am not optimistic that people who don’t do this ever will….too bad, mostly for them as keeping stuff bottled up inside is a drain to your mind and body.

  2. Peter, I hear ya! On the one hand, we have people getting more
    and more direct and personal when they communicate in a very
    public way; and on the other hand we have people more and
    more avoiding having really personal conversations and
    talking about how they feel.
    I always have hope, tho!

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