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Episode 188: Negotiating Conflict as an Actor

core work Jul 20, 2022

Negotiating conflict in your career and in your life. 

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Melodie Betty's Beyond Codependency

“Core work is about more than walking away. Sometimes it means learning to stay and deal. It's about building and maintaining relationships that work.”

Core work is about more than walking away.

And there's a great quote from Richard Bok that says, “The best way out is always through.”

We're not responsible for our first thought, but we are responsible for our second.

My first thought in this conflict situation was, “I'm out of here.” But my second thought, which is the one I was responsible for, was a very healthy thought. And it was, “the best way out is always through.”

It's about building and maintaining relationships that work. 

Not everybody's going to like you, and not every work relationship is going to be perfect and brilliant.

It is important to cultivate relationships with those people who you do gel with, who you do want to work with, who you do have that synchronicity with, and have those people be a part of your tribe.

“Problems and conflicts are a part of life and relationships with friends, family, loved ones, and at work. Problem-solving and conflict negotiation are skills we can acquire and improve with time.”

And the words there that I really want you to pay attention to are and improve with time.

Because another one of my favorite slogans is “progress, not perfection.”

Progress, not perfection. Sometimes when I'm dealing with a conflict that I find particularly uncomfortable, just the fact that I pick up the phone and tell the person or meet the person and say, “this is uncomfortable,” is half the battle. 

The best part is, is if I can state how I felt or how I feel and what I need with leaving the word “you” out.

You express how you feel and what you need, but you leave that critical word “you” out so that you keep your needs and your feelings with you and not put them on the other person.

“Not being willing to tackle and solve problems in relationships leads to unresolved feelings of anger and victimization, terminated relationships, unresolved problems, and power plays that intensify the problem and waste time and energy.”

I don't really have that much time, nor do I have that much energy to waste. So I need to make sure that my time and my energy are spent as efficiently as possible. 

Those conflicts that I need to negotiate need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Imagine a computer, and imagine programs running on the computer, and you minimize the programs so that they're just sitting on your toolbar at the bottom. The fact of the matter is, is that those programs are still using energy battery from the computer.  

When you don't negotiate conflict or some challenge or some issue in your life. That little program just keeps burning your battery. It just keeps burning your bandwidth.

It’s taking away from the energy that you need to be focusing on the things that you really want to be doing. Because we need that energy to manage our time and to do those difficult tasks. 

“Not being willing to face and solves problem solve problems means we may run into that problem again.”

If you don't take responsibility for the conflicts in your life, how the hell do you expect to have success at a higher level where you’re going to be negotiating far bigger conflicts?

“Some problems with people cannot be worked out in mutually satisfactory ways. Sometimes the problem is a boundary issue we have and there is no room to negotiate.” 

When working on a conflict, look for a win-win situation.

“In that case, we need to clearly understand what we want and need and what our bottom line is. 

How you figure out what you want and what you need:

  • Get out paper. Get out a pen.
  • magic happens when a pen gets in the hand and you put it on the paper.
  • I want you to write your “fuck you letter” to this person
    • saying everything that you wanted,
    • everything that they disappointed you with
    • everything you ever wanted to say to this person.
  • And then I want you to go for a walk or run or, you know, go exercise or go clean your house or just do something.
  • And then I want you to come back to it.
  • And maybe that's after a night's sleep.
  • And I want you to read what you wrote.
  • I want you to read your fucking letter, okay?
  • And I want you to really write down the facts of what you wanted, what you needed, and what your bottom line is.
  • And then look for a way to healthfully communicate that to that person so that you're taking the hurt or the sting or the heat out of the wound. 

Because it's so important that when we are dealing with conflict, we are responding and not reacting.

 “A response is a reaction with a pause and a thought behind it.” 

“Some problems with people, though, can be worked out, worked through, and satisfactorily negotiated. Often there are workable options for solving problems that we will not even see until we become open to the concept of working through problems in relationships rather than running from the problems.”

Remember: they're looking for a win-win as well. And so they are willing to meet me halfway. And when that happens, it's fucking awesome. 

“To negotiate problems, we must be willing to identify the problem. Let go of blame and shame and focus on possible creative solutions. To successfully negotiate and solve problems in relationships, we must have a sense of our bottom line and our boundary issues so we don't waste time negotiating non-negotiable issues.”

Those non-negotiable issues are what you have distilled from your “fuck you letter.”

Because you have written down how you feel and what you need and what your bottom line is. So you already know that going into your conversation.

“We need to learn to identify what both people really want and need and the different possibilities for working that out. We can learn to be flexible without being too flexible. Committed, intimate relationships mean people are learning to work together through their problems and conflicts in ways that work in both people's interests.”

And in order for you to uplevel, those areas of your life that you most don't want to face, need to be faced.