Sunday 30 August 2015

Lesson Learnt: How To Resolve Issues Effectively

Newsflash: being a grown up isn't always peachy! We all have those times when things don't quite go to plan, or we feel out of control of what's happening around us - but good news is, you will always come out the other side. Although it may not feel like it at the time, these experiences actually make us much more resilient as a person and as long as you learn from them - you are going to be OK!

I've had one of these times quite recently, where you can't quite put your finger on the problem but it's there, lurking beneath the surface and you either get the shovel out and start digging, or you ignore it. Of course, I dug - I don't like the unknown, I don't know how to prepare for it, so, after a while I uncovered what I was looking for. The answer - the hurrah moment when you actually know the devil you're facing.

What happened next - was one of the most honest and most frank conversations of my adult life. It was strange, knowing that something is wrong and actually stripping it back from the shouting and the emotional pity and just having a real conversation about where we are, why we are, what we want, what happens next, for me it put a whole new perspective on things. 

So, for those of you who have been feeling a similar type of turmoil, whether it's with a partner, a friend or someone at work - here's my advice to you:

1. Don't bury your head in the sand.

Not knowing what's going on around you is foolish. How can you move on from something if you don't want to know what you're actually moving on from? It may be hard to hear, but knowing what you're up against strips away the fear and actually allows you to take a pragmatic approach. If you choose to lose your shit; well sometimes that may be totally justified but it won't give you the answers you need any sooner. 

2. Try not to get too defensive and get to the reason why.

Whether it's a criticism of a piece of work, your behaviour or it comes out of the blue, getting defensive automatically shuts down the communication channels as all you can focus on is your own 'how dare they' attitude, which actually only leads to making things worse, rather than getting to the crux of the problem.

3. Think about what you want to get out of the conversation.

For me, as soon as you start digging, you have to be prepared to have a conversation about the evidence you eventually uncover. To not is just foolish. But rather than just thinking about this conversation, you need to think about what you want out of it. Do you want to fix it, do you want to not fix it, do you want them to explain or is it your ammunition to do something you were too scared of doing previously? Whatever it is, you need to know your outcome and conduct yourself accordingly, walking away from the conversation when it gets tough is not the way to resolve it!

4.  Don't turn it into a slanging match

Sometimes this is the easiest thing to do, all the hyperbole's that get thrown around to antagonise a situation to give yourself a cheap win in that instant - do they actually really matter? If you can, remove the hurt out of the situation and get to know the why - surely the resolution is so much more important than scoring cheap points.

5. Honesty is the best policy
Whether it's with yourself or someone else, if you can't be honest, you're ultimately trying to hide something and that will always blow up in your face. So, tell the truth - but more importantly, respect it when they tell you the truth. Being honest when you've done something you don't want to admit is hard, and if you know you'll get hit with a lot of shame that's going to make it even harder. So, although you may not like the particular pill, you need to learn to respect it, as you might actually learn something. 

This may not work for everyone, but as I say, personal experience taught me a whole new way to work on stuff and it was so much easier to resolve and move on from, compared to getting all worked up and then festering for days on end! Who knew there was a grown up way to deal with these things? 


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