How to deal with conflict
We all have to deal with some conflict whether we like it or not. There aren't many people that enjoy conflict and if you know some who do...run. You don't want any part of that person. There is all sorts of conflict that we encounter on a regular basis. It's with people, situations, the weather, circumstances beyond our control (i.e. the pandemic). It's how you deal with it that determines how your life goes.
Let's start with the most common and sometimes the most devastating. Conflicts with people. I have met a lot of people who say they like to stay away from conflict but then invite it constantly. People seem to be in denial when it comes to this personality trait of theirs. But there are times when a discussion is necessary to resolve an issue that is facing you with another. Like your spouse, there are times they just drive you crazy, right? And you need to work things out with them. How does your spouse handle or like to handle conflict? I was listening to a podcast the other day when a woman was talking about the fact that she likes to discuss issues over text message with her husband. It gives her time to think things through and she isn't as reactive as she is when face to face. She found out after being with her husband for 10 years that he hates discussing things this way. He would prefer to talk face to face and get it straightened out as soon as possible. But you don't know these things about each other until you ask.
Are you having an issue with a co-worker? This was my big problem with my last job as a morning show co-host at a radio station. My partner and I did not get along at all and it cost us both our jobs. I just couldn't figure out a way to work things out with him at the time but I look back now and realize there was a lot more I could have done.
We started out great. Excited to be co-hosting a morning show together but from day one we had different ideas about how to go about that. I tended to be a little more pushy when it came to our ideas for the show. He would agree but then stewed in resentment. He started treating me not so kindly. Ignoring me which was difficult since we had to speak to each other on and off the air. Which then caused me to have hard feelings. I would ask him to talk things out from time to time and we would get some things off our chest. Things would get better for a week or two but we always ended up back where we were with treating each other with disdain. It finally came to a head when there were some other issues going on and instead of the station trying to work things out with the two of us they felt it would be better to let us both go since we couldn't find a way to get along.
I look back now and realize I didn't give him much room for his ideas. He often wanted to talk about things I didn't find interesting. But it wasn't always about my interests. It was a man/woman show for a reason. Because each gender typically finds different things interesting. That's on me. I was so worried about controlling everything that I let stubbornness get in my way.
I also could have just approached him saying I wanted to fix things between us and laying everything out on the line. To figure out how to resolve our hard feelings and work together as the team we should have been. But there's nothing I can do about that but you can if you are in a similar situation. I felt like I was in a constant brawl with him and I had to win. I wanted to win! But we both ended up losing. And I ended up losing a job I loved aside from my partner. Don't let pride and stubbornness get the best of you. Lay all your cards on the table. Figure out a resolution. It is possible if you are willing to work on resolving the conflict.
We also find ourselves having to deal with things we don't count on. A car accident, an injury, a parent being sick and needing help. These are things that you have to find a way to work around. The best way to do that is to realize where you are after said incident and figure out how you can keep going the best you can. And as hard as it is let go of the resentment these things can cause. It just doesn't help in the situation at all.
Sometimes the weather can throw a real kink in our plans. Like there is a rainstorm coming on the day you planned your big outdoor party. Or your wedding. Yes, it sucks. But life happens and no one can control the weather so make a back up plan. This way you are prepared if it gets rained out. When we got married the ceremony was outside and we had to have a contingent plan in case of inclement weather. Two weekends before was a hurricane so you just never know what is going to happen. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. That way you are covered.
Then there are major things like the pandemic. Many people lost their job. Others had to leave their job because someone had to be home with the kids. Businesses were shut down for months. This is when it's time to pivot. Luckily there were some financial benefits to those who lost their jobs. Some got them right away and some had to struggle until they got it straightened out. Regardless, many people had to find another way to make money. Restaurants survived by offering takeout and people wanted it since they couldn't go out. Zoom took off like crazy. Most people had never even heard of it until the pandemic. he virtual world was here and people had to figure out how they would work inside it. The country was shut down for a good three months. Many in the service industry had to find other ways to make money. That is part of the reason it's still so hard to find workers. We forced those people to find other ways to make money and now a lot of them are doing just that and deciding they are done with the service industry. If you've ever worked with the public you know how difficult it can be at times. I'm sure a lot of people took advantage of new opportunities.
You have to be ready when change occurs. You have to think ahead and have back up plans just in case something crazy happens. I know, it seems like that would never be necessary but the pandemic proved that we never know what will happen and more importantly, we don't have as much control as we think. Always be thinking about the future and your part in it. How will you adjust? What can you do to keep going? It's definitely some food for thought.
Conflict is something we all try to stay away from but it's not always avoidable. So, plan those long talks, make those back up plans and be ready to pivot on a moments notice.
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