Out beyound wrong doing and right doing, is a field I’ll meet you there. – Rumi

Conflict Challenges Our Character!

A couple of months ago I met with a brilliant professors,  Dr. Mary Lou Addor.  She goes by just “Lou.”

The conversation led us down one of my favorite topics, conflict management and resolution.

As I sipped my coffee, Lou dived into some of the most mindful thoughts I’ve heard about how conflict gets played out. She explained that making simple shifts in understanding conflict brings value and allows it to morph into something more valuable by practicing being in the “no judgement” zone.

What Dr. Addor suggested to me is something I’d like to get better to avoid conflict.  I can certainly see the value in knowing how to create a “no judgement” zone very quickly before I engage with another human being.

Conflict has been the “buzz kill,” of many great moments. 

From board room to bedroom, at one time or another, conflict has shackled us to an emotional low where shields go up and nothings getting in or out. Nada!

There seems to be an abundance of it today.  Just one glance at the live feed on your phone is enough to ignite a riot over just about anything!  From gluten to Putin, there is a limitless number of topics to pick from that will rub you wrong!

The truth is, there will always be something that challenges you and that can be a particularly good thing, it you let it! 

The moment that something shows up that rubs against your thinking, could be the perfect time to practice getting emotionally into a “nonjudgment” zone.  At least getting as close as possible.

Three Practices to Chill Before You Spill.

 #1 Set Intentions by Getting Out Ahead of It

A surefire way to dampen conflict and knee jerk reactions and most importantly, to set yourself up for success, is to practice getting out ahead of conflict first thing in the morning! 

You can become a more peaceful centered person just by setting aside 15 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning, visualizing how you want your day to unfold.

See it, journal it! The pen is more powerful than the sword so says Shakespeare.

Taking some time to set the tone and intention for you day before you go rushing off like “girl on fire.”

This will slow your roll, allowing situations to have less of an impact because your mind has a clear direction and destination instead of speeding and swerving through every confrontational thought is introduced by you or others.

If you are working with a group, make sure that clear intentions are set at the start of the project or meeting and that the conversation flows in that direction.  Checking to make sure that the intention is inclusive of everyone is a great strategic move in staying out ahead of conversational walls and impossible impasses that could have been avoided by laying out the groundwork ahead of time.

Practicing being in the “no judgement” zone especially with teams allows creativity and diversity to flow at a level that honors everyone in the room not just a few.  People feel heard and validated and conflict is held to a minimum once a safe place has been designed and agreed upon.

#2 Find Clarity by Asking Powerful Questions and Listen Activity

If you truly desire to move your life towards less conflict and more cohesiveness, be present in the situation or with the person you are communicating with.

Ask questions that are direct, honest (no hidden agenda) and respectful.   Leave the drama out of it, especially your drama! 

Again, setting intentions beforehand will aid in keeping the conversation open. Taking responsibility for your own feelings and allowing everyone else to do the same is a crucial piece of seeking clarity.

You can also hold your own intentions by simply giving yourself an affirmation such as “I’m truly seeking to understand and resolve any issues if there are some, in any way possible.”  It’s a great mental exercise to practice prior to any situation where you feel conflict could arise out of differences.

#3 Create Alignment

Allowing for commonality to be the focus point and not the difference is a wonderful approach to lowering the resistance and push-back that happens during conflict.

Even the guy who cut you off in traffic shares something in common with you. 

Making statements, when communicating, that establish commonality can defuse and lower the impact of differences before they get a chance of wreaking havoc.

Even in situations where you have an opposing idea or belief can be better managed by finding commonality quickly.  “I hate that my road is torn up in front of my house. When will this mess be done?,” can raise stress levels and engage inner conflict.

Recalibrating thoughts toward a better alignment such as, “We all could benefit from new sewer and water pipes and I’ll be glad when it is completed,” will recalibrate your thoughts towards a more peaceful emotional state and lower stress levels immediately.

Final Thoughts

Conflict can be your greatest teacher through the practice of staying in the “no judgement zone” more often than not!  Stress and anxiety can fall away when you stop pushing against adverse ideas and opinions.

Learning to actively listen and slow the communication response can build trust that is resilient when adversity rears its ugly head. 

Simply shifting your mindset, first thing in the morning, through affirmations and meditations gives you a blueprint of how you want to experience your day. It also gets you out in front of any given situation so that you land again and again in a better feeling place emotionally all day long.

Since you have a choice, wouldn’t you want your day to be as sweet and conflict free as possible?  Yes, you would!

Life is supposed to be fun!

Written by BJ Davis – Director of Leadership Programs and Training at BJD Leadership Training and Team Development.  For 16 years she has been helping recalibrate clients and work teams toward greater productivity and personal enjoyment! You can contact her directly at bjdavis@coachbjd.com or by visiting her website www.coachbjd.com. For an appointment to discuss her programs and speaking engagements click her calendar here! https://calendly.com/coachbjdavis/15min-meeting-of-great-mids