“Of what?“ you might ask. Our belief: that our way is the only way. When the oil hits the pan. And all hell breaks loose. As the universe plans for us.
And the culprits? Our strengths. Which at the drop of a hat can take on a life of their own. And live us. Instead of us living them.
I once had a client whose company had been going through a rough spell. New blood was taken on board. And with it a need to adjust. But time was not on anyone’s side. As is often the case. So, I was called in to support.
“Where’s the challenge?“ I asked.
“They are!“ my client snarled. “The new member of the management team is the real challenge. Not six months in the organisation and they’ve split the team down the middle.“ My client’s anger was palpable. “They don’t have a relating bone in their body!“
“But, what talents have they brought to the organisation?“
“Talents?“ my client glared. “None! “They’ve challenged the big picture. They’ve challenged the strategy! They’ve challenged the plans! They’ve brought nothing but chaos!“
“So, what were your intentions when you hired them?“ I explored.
Silence. And I held the space for more.
“Well, I didn’t want the management team to be divided. That’s for sure! They growled. “We’re all in the same boat. And we need this boat to get where we’re going!“ They explained. Looking out the window. And into the distance.
“But what was it you wanted?“ I ventured to insist.
“Fresh blood. New ideas. A catalyst of a sort.“
And now I was confused. Lost. Irritated.
“But, could it be that that is just what you have gotten?“ I pondered aloud. “Someone who feels no ill-at-ease whatsoever in imposing their views on others. Someone not afraid of confrontation. And someone perhaps even believing confrontation to be the first step toward resolution. The route forward?“
My client was heard to take a deep breath. Understanding was dawning.
But how to proceed?
Knowing my client to have a high need for harmony, I asked them to explore areas of agreement. And sure enough, within no time at all, command and harmony had joined forces to bring them and the team and the organisation to pastures new.
In the heat of the moment, our strengths raise their voices in fury. Our needs cry out to be heard. And obeyed! Stopping us from experiencing reality as reality.
Confrontation is Confrontation. Nothing more. Nothing less.
For my client, the time had come for them to let go of their belief that “there is little to be gained from conflict.“ Indeed, conflict had taken on a new meaning. A new dimension in communication. An encounter not to be avoided. But in fact embraced.
So, how are your beliefs behaving? Do any of them need your attention?
photograph: © Michail Petrov / Fotolia