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Ep. 37 – Hard Conversations

There are times, during and after divorce, or in life in general, when we encounter uncomfortable conversations with the people in our lives. We often avoid these conversations, but when we do have them, they often end up being about who is right or wrong and then exploding and going nowhere. In this episode I share a few tips on how to approach hard conversations in a way that may foster better relationships and help you to obtain better end results.


Hey my friend. How are you today? I’m doing good. I just got back from Austin, Texas at the Mastermind event for the Life Coach School. Let me tell you, all I can say is, uh, may zing. Oh my God. So inspiring to see all these coaches. Just bringing such goodness into the world. And let me tell you, there were 1900 coaches in that room and it was amazing.

So what are we gonna talk about today? We’re gonna talk about having difficult conversations, and you likely are in the middle of divorce or post divorce. And so I would venture to say that you probably have some people in your life that you have a stressed relationship with, like maybe your. Or some family members, friends, somebody or someone in particular that maybe you need to work on the relationship.

So if you have a stressed relationship that you wanna work on with anyone, it could be your ex parent, coworker, friend, neighbor. This episode is for. Let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you. And desire as partners, both in marriage and coaching. We use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

When you’re working on a relationship that needs improvement, the good news is that you can change the relationship from being stressed and unhappy or difficult because it really just takes you, it takes. Person. Can you believe that? Well, I’ll tell you, it really is the truth. So today I’m gonna share with you some tips on how to approach a difficult conversation.

Now, I know many of you are saying, but Doreen, I don’t wanna do this. This is uncomfortable for me, but I have to tell you that if you don’t, then you are really living a lie. You’re not being your authentic self, and you’re certainly not getting the results that you want in. The relationship. So I have those of you that just avoid the conversation, the difficult conversations all together.

You pretend that there’s nothing wrong, everything’s fine. You see the person and you’re like, Hey, how are you? , blah, blah, blah. And then I have those of you on the other extreme, the ones that like your ex calls you or text you and you are like on that all over the place, why they did this and you are wrong because of that.

And getting all angry and always in their face and you know, on and on. So I wanna talk to you about how to get what you want out of the relationship. What I really mean by that is to give you the best chance of success, right? Communication in any relationship is what I’m gonna say is the second most important component of it.

Yes. I said the second. And what do you think the first one is? Well, the first thing that’s most important to the relationship is managing your own thinking about it, so that. You start there, you have to start with your thinking. Is it clear? And basically, you have to coach yourself before you react. See, most of us have no idea how to communicate with someone without blame, anger, frustration, defensiveness, or justification coming into play.

Why? Because we have this primal need as humans to be. But this need to be heard and be right doesn’t necessarily lead us to any, anything positive like the other person is going to buy in. to why we’re right and why they’re wrong, and that just costs us so much. Really think about this and see if you can answer this question.

What does being right about something really accomplish? Like what does it give you? The answer, my friend, is nothing. It generally just gives you indulgence. Indulgence in being right. Think about the last time you tried to convince someone that you were right. I’m certain that going through divorce there were lots of opportunities to try to convince your ex as an example that you were right.

But when you did convince him if, and that’s a big if, if you did. , what did you get as a result? Did you get anything tangible from convincing your ex or anybody that you were right? Or did you just walk away from the conversation if you convinced the person you were right with the satisfaction of indulgence?

understanding and really, really thinking about what you will gain if you convince someone. You’re right. I want you to think about that. In divorce, you could convince your ex, for example, why the kids should spend more time with you than him, and if you convince him why you’re right about this tangibly.

the tangible result would be that you would get more time. Now that makes sense. It’s what I’m gonna call a tangible win. You can define it, you can see it, you can touch it, feel it. The result is that you convinced him why the children should spend more time with you, and because he was convinced you were right.

He was wrong. You got more time. But most conversations. Aren’t about getting something tangible, and if they are about getting something tangible, we end up pursuing that need that we have the result that we’re trying to accomplish most often or more often than not, in a way that just. Doesn’t work. We come in like guns are blaring, all angry, all upset, trying to convince this person, listen, this is the reason why I’m right.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And what does it do? It places the other person on defense. It causes the other person to then likely. Raise their voice, get angry, tell you all the reasons why they’re right, you are wrong, and maybe even get into conversations about why you were right or wrong 10 years ago. Who knows?

But is it really getting you anywhere? And wouldn’t you want to approach the conversation when you’re dealing with somebody where you have opposite opinions? When you’re trying to find a result differently, wouldn’t that be worth knowing how to do? And that’s what I want to teach you today. So the first thing I want you to do is think about the result that you’re trying to achieve by having this conversation with the person that you have a differencing of opinion.

On. Okay. What are you trying to resolve? What is the goal of the conversation? If it is simply to get that person to indulge you by letting you know that they know now that you are right and they’re wrong, I suggest that you could spend your. Somewhere else, something better for you. Right, because I see this time and time again in my cases, I’ll go to a mediation, I’ll be with my client, we’re all talking about the issues, and someone, one of the parties will go off on a subject that has what I say, nothing to do with the time of day as to the issues that we have to resolve in the.

Now when that happens with my client, what I do is I kindly say to the mediator, may I have a few minutes with my client. I’ll set alone with my client, and I’ll say, listen, why are you focused on what he did two years ago? That has nothing to do. With what we’re trying to resolve today, it’s water under the bridge.

This is not going to get us a settlement. We are here for a settlement. If you have another agenda, that’s not the agenda that’s for today. Nor do I think it’s healthy for you, et cetera. And when you do this with someone, especially your ex, right? And you sit there and you try to convince them of why you’re right, what you’re doing is you’re pushing the relationship further apart.

It’s ready, stressed now, if you don’t have children together and you wanna spend your time in this manner, Then more power to you. But I’m here as a life coach to let you know that your time and energy should be spent for your future, for creating the dreams that you want. You’re likely not gonna have a relationship with him in the future anyhow.

And if you do have children together, then even more the reason that you want the conversations to come from a kinder place that have meaning for the results you want. Have to just mention that parents getting along. Let me tell you, the statistics are out there in the Google world, but basically parents that get along after divorce have healthier.

More productive, better adjusted children. So that is, if that isn’t reason in and of itself, to try to maintain good conversations, good relationship on some level, I don’t know what is, but I think it’s very important. And so maybe you should consider that. But anyhow, let’s get back to how we’re going to have difficult conversations to get the best results that we can.

The first thing is people don’t win by having a challenging conversation about who is right or wrong. All of us get to have our own opinions and belief. It’s one of the most important inherent rights that we have. If we. In a democratic society, people can just have different opinions, and as we say in law, a lot agree to disagree.

You don’t need to be right, and I want you to consider that as the first starting point. And when you truly get, and this only takes your thought process, that you don’t have to convince the other person that you are right, that the other person gets to have their opinion, it immediately stops that conflict, that war, and then there is no.

To be defensive or to be on offense. There’s more of a peaceful ability to speak now if you are hearing this and you are immediately feeling upset at my suggestion. , then you may be one of those people that indulges in being right? And if you are one of those people, then maybe you have to stop and think a little more about this and about what it’s costing you in your relationships to have that type of mindset.

What does being right give? Really, let me give you some tips to consider if you are in a difficult relationship, start by asking first the other person why they think they are right. You see this is a much different approach. Then let me tell you all the reasons why I’m right. So you hear what I’m saying?

If you’re going to have conversations with someone and you wanna discuss your differences, start by asking them why they think they’re right, instead of just going in full steam as to why you are right. And let the person tell you, and this can be not only about a right or wrong, this could be just someone trying to convince you of something.

I do this a lot. The opposing counsel on my cases, so I will take a position on a case and the other side will. a different position on behalf of their client. Now, I will say something like, well, tell me why you believe you are correct. You hear how different that is than me coming in and saying, well, here’s a reason that my client wins, et cetera, et cetera.

And here’s what the law says. No, slow down. Take a breath. I like to breathe and say to them, tell me why you believe your position is correct on behalf of your client. and I try to see it from their client’s perspective. I listen and wait and try to grasp and understand where they’re coming from. Not to mention that this gives me great insight and information to further work with my position on my case, but this is just an example that you can utilize in your communications, right?

When I’m representing some someone, it’s from a different. , but it helps in my cases, and if it can help when I’m dealing with an adverse attorney, it can help you in your relationships. I want you to consider just trying to get where they’re coming from. This doesn’t mean you agree. With their position.

What it just means is that you may see why they have the position that they do. That’s what you’re trying to focus in on, not to have them convince you to change your opinion, but instead to get an understanding of where the thoughts are coming from. now, does this doesn’t mean that you now get a chance to explain your position.

That’s not how this works. You are managing this conversation, right? So you are gonna come and you’re gonna say, well, tell me all the reasons why you hold this position. You’re gonna take a breath. You’re not gonna interrupt them, and you’re gonna listen to. They’re saying, and what you’re going to try to understand from what they’re saying is why they think this way.

Again, not that you agree to it. Now doing it this way is a healthier approach. And then see where you and this person have common agreements where you can come to terms on agreeing on at least some. Thing. You see the facts of what you can agree on. The sky is blue. The divorce happened. Our child is getting bad grades.

You brought the child home late. Whatever it is, see what you can agree on. Let me give you an example. Your ex brings your child home. Late. The agreement says that the child is supposed to be dropped off by him at your home at 6:00 PM and he brings your son home at 6:30 PM Now what you want to do first is take.

A freaking big breath. A really big breath. Cuz I know what you wanna do. You wanna open the door and start yelling at him, but I don’t want you to do that. What I suggest you do is you take a deep breath and you as kindly as you can say, could you tell me why you’re late? And let him answer, let him go off on all the reasons why he’s.

and it’s likely gonna sound something like this. Well, you know, Johnny couldn’t find his backpack. And then there was a, you know, there was a lot of traffic and I got a late phone call and, you know, my, my, I had a flat tire and the universe, you know, is turning in three different directions. I don’t know, whatever he’s gonna say.

Just listen. , and then I don’t want you to respond to anything that he’s saying. Like what we commonly would say, we’ll leave a little earlier and make sure you always put Johnny’s backpack by the front door. I mean, what we wanna do, right? No, I don’t want you to do any of that. We want you to do is take another deep breath and just say what you know that you and he can agree on, and you say it calmly like this.

Well, would you agree with me that our agreement says that you are to have our son back to my home at 6:00 PM. And he’ll probably say yes, or maybe he doesn’t say anything. And then you’ll say, and would you agree with me that you brought him home at 6:30 PM Again, you might get silenced, but it’s a fact.

The clock speaks for itself. He knows this. You know this, the world knows this. Now what you are thinking I know, is that he disrespects you. What he’s thinking probably is something like she should be. F flexible. I don’t know why she has to always go, you know, by the agreement. And you might even say that something like, I understand that you probably think that I should be more flexible, and you understand that.

I feel that it’s disrespectful. But can we all agree that the agreement says he’s to be home by six and the next part of the conversation should only. About solutions, and I’ll suggest that you don’t even need to get into the thoughts about You are disrespecting me, and he’s gonna think that you’re not being flexible.

You don’t even have to go there. Okay? If that’s gonna cause more challenges and shut downs in the conversation, then skip over that part and just say, Let’s come up with some solutions so we can live by the terms of our agreement and have him home by 6:00 PM What do you suggest? It’s a solution based conversation, not about who’s right or wrong.

Because if you go to that place of blame and who’s right and who’s wrong, you’ll end up having a conversation that will be heated, likely in front of the child going on for an hour, carrying on by text message later, bringing up all kinds of, you know, what, that happened 10 years ago or a year ago, or is going to happen next week.

And it just is exhausting and gets you nowhere. , you see, it just blows up. But when you instead focus only on the solution, like what can we do to assure that our son is dropped off on time? That’s where all the power lies. That’s what you’re trying to accomplish. So to recap, talking for hours about who’s right or wrong doesn’t solve the issue.

But solution focused questions together makes it better. It can resolve the issue, put down the defense, and start to build a better relationship and of course, better results. So give up what you need to be right about hear why. Whatever they did, they did. Just let them talk. Agree on the fact and. . Notice the difference in the thoughts between both of you about that fact and about what happened, and then focus on the solution.

You don’t have to share this process either. You’re not gonna say to your ex or to someone that you are. Doing this with your mom, your friend, whoever it is. You don’t have to tell them, listen, here’s how it’s gonna go. I’m gonna listen to you. I’m not gonna interrupt. You’re gonna listen to me. We’re gonna come up.

You don’t have to do that. You control this. That’s why I told you the first and most important thing to your relationship is what you do. Your thought about it. You let them speak. You find the common areas of agreements, the facts, and you work on solution. That’s how it sounds. Okay, so my friends, I tell you, this is life changing.

It is not easy. It is not easy when you have a challenged relationship and you are trying to make it better. Know your purpose, know the result, and then work on what I’ve taught you today. See how it works for you. Now listen, I would love to hear from you. I would love to hear how this works for you. So please reach out to me and let me know.

And also I would love and very much appreciate. A review, if you could do that, it takes literally a minute or less. Um, so, so appreciated so I can get the ranking rankings up and get out to more like you, more powerful women, professional women going through divorce or the smart men that wanna listen, right?

And, uh, that’s it. So my friend, listen, love yourself, love each other. Have a most amazing be. Beautiful, beautiful week, and understand that you too can have an amazing life after divorce. All right, see you later.

You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find. More about our coaching. Visit us at l a d That’s l a d as in life after divorce Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day.

And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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