Difficult conversations

I was sitting at a quiet table in a bar a few blocks from my firm, my hands sweaty and heart racing.

As we both tried to play it cool and act like neither of us was nervous, we both knew what was coming.

A very difficult conversation.

I had invited one of my partners to have drinks so we could chat…

I didn’t have to say why. We both knew.

It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pretty.

Both of us felt hurt and needed to air our grievances.

I can’t say that we came up with a perfect solution.

But we both seemed to realize it was time to move on. We were a bit like oil and water and our continuing to work together was toxic for both of us.

I didn’t want to have the conversation, but I’m so glad I had the courage to do so anyway.

Had we not had that discussion, we would have continued to spar, butt heads, and engage in passive-aggressive behavior.

Having the conversation at least allowed us to walk away and not carry around the resentment and anger we both had in our hearts.

I can’t say I’m always that brave.

The truth is that I prefer to avoid conflict and difficult conversations.

I used to be embarrassed to admit that.

As lawyers, we’re expected to be hired guns and to go into battle and fight every day. If we admit a fear of conflict, it might make us appear weak.

If you’re anything like me, conflict on behalf of a client or another person never caused me anxiety. It wasn’t personal. I was just doing my job.

But if the conflict involved my own relationships…

I wanted to run away and hide.

It’s still my tendency today.

And I know I’m not alone.

I have many clients who would rather quit their job, spend hours talking it over with others, or be resentful and miserable in their careers than to face their fears and have a difficult conversation with their boss, colleague, or assistant.

That’s why on this week’s Hustle & Flow podcast, I invited special guest Lynne Maureen Hurdle to join me to talk about difficult conversations.

She’s known as the “conflict closer” because she believes we need to get intimate with conflict as opposed to running away from it.

During the interview, we talk about:

  • why we avoid difficult conversations,
  • why we need to have them anyway, and
  • how to prepare for and approach them.

If you’ve ever struggled with confronting issues at work, be sure to listen to this episode.

This is one I think we’ll all want to listen to over and over again.




P.S. If you’ve been considering a job change but don’t know whether you’re truly ready to leave, take the Smart & Ready Quiz HERE. Answer a few quick questions and I’ll let you know just how ready you are and the smart next step to take based on your results.

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