Why We Avoid Difficult Conversations

As you probably know, I’m authoring my fourth book, From Conflict to Courage: How to stop avoiding and start leading. It’s going to be published in May 0f 2022.

In the sixth chapter I’m talking about the three levels of resistance that you have to overcome in order to expand your capacity for conflict. Here’s the first level and what to do instead.

Level 1: Your Resistance

Notice your own resistance to high-conflict situations and individuals. If you avoid initiating a conversation with a “difficult employee,” that’s resistance.

When you’re preoccupied by a wrong-doing and waste time retelling the story, that’s resistance.

When you appease an opinionated board member but secretly resent their stubbornness, that’s resistance. Resistance is the non-acceptance of reality and the inability to see your choices.

What to do:

Notice that you’re in a state of resistance. Resistance is opposite of flow, so if you feel distracted, negative or stuck, remind yourself that you’re out of flow and in resistance.

Next, accept reality. The situation is not ideal, but accept it anyway. This doesn’t mean you give up; it means you stop complaining, blaming and wasting time on actions that magnify the problem.

Accepting the current reality instead of resisting it helps you take the next right step to positive change. That change may include setting boundaries, asking for what you want or gathering more information, but at least you’re moving forward and out of resistance.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Next week I’ll talk about level 2 resistance.

Marlene Chism