There is no avoiding it, there will come a time when we will all face some type of conflict in our lives. We can could find ourselves in a conflict over opinions, we may have disagreements at work or at home, and we may even be conflicted in our own heart and mind about doing something or making a difficult decision of some kind.
For some of us, conflicts are no issue at all. We take them on and deal with whatever it is so we can get past it and move on. For others, conflict is really hard. For those of us who have wrestled with conflict, over time we tend to become conflict avoidant. We will do anything to try and avoid a conflict or we will prolong it until it becomes so bad, we are finally forced to face it. And that never ends well.
Another strategy for those of us who hate conflict is to wish it away or hope that it will just go away. This strategy typically never works — as a matter of fact, the longer we wait, the worse things usually become.
Some of the best coaching I ever received around this came many years ago. I was encouraged to do the hardest thing first. On any given day, whatever the hardest task or conversation I had to do or have, I should tackle those first. This was great advice and has helped me tremendously over the years. If I didn’t tackle the hard things first, they would occupy my time and I couldn’t focus on the other things I had to do as the hardest ones were still there, creating worry, fear, and doubt in my heart and head. As soon as I got past the hard conversation or difficult task, and any conflict, I was free, mentally and emotionally, and much more productive.
In order to address conflicts and do the hardest things first, we must have courage and conviction. The courage to say or do what we know is right, and the conviction to stand behind our beliefs. If we are stressed or unhappy about the way certain things are happening, and if we have been trying to avoid a conflict that has been brewing, all we need to do is find that 20 seconds of bravery that it takes to initiate a conversation and take action.
The hope is that the majority of our lives will be spent living conflict free. Although there are a few people who thrive on conflict and like to even stir the pot a little to create conflict, most of us would prefer to avoid conflict and create harmony wherever we can. We each have a unique personality style and for some, dealing with conflict is easy, for other personality styles, it is much harder. And regardless of our personality style, the best way to deal with conflict is to have the courage and conviction to do what we know is right, rip the Band-Aid off, and deal with the hardest things first.
From the movie “We Bought a Zoo,” Matt Damon’s character Benjamin Mee said it best: “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” And that “something great” could be just the thing we need to get past and through any conflict we are facing. That “something great” could be the freedom that we will enjoy from finally doing or saying what we know is true and right.
So how about you? Is there a conflict you are hoping will just go away by itself? Or have you given yourself the freedom that comes with resolving and dealing with conflict quickly? Either way I would love to hear your story at email@example.com, and when we have the courage and conviction to address any conflicts we may face, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Highlands Ranch, the chief revenue officer at Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.
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