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The One Conversation You Need to Have

If we want to have happier, more fulfilling lives, we need to focus on consistently making small changes and removing tiny barriers to success. I’ve decided to make Friday the day of “Micro Goals.” Here’s a journaling task for you to try over the weekend.

This week’s journal writing prompt:

What’s the one conversation do you need to have?

Perhaps you’ve been putting off a big talk. Maybe you’ve got something on your mind that’s bugging you. Whether the subject matter is work, family, social life, health, or hobby, think about small conversation that could bring about big positive change for you this week.

Get Clear About the Conversation Topic

You may know immediately what conversation is most important to have soon. It could be the one that’s been gnawing at you for weeks. It’s time to stop biting your tongue! If you’ve already identified your conversation, write a one-sentence description down in your journal.

If you’re not sure yet, let’s do some brainstorming. List 10 important players in your life. Family, friends, work relations, neighbors, payees, etc. Now complete the sentence: What I’d really like to tell _________ is…

Do this for each person on the list. See if any of them hit a nerve. You may find the conversation you need to have most when you’ve filled three pages of ALL CAPS about your sister or your landlord.

Ideally, we’d like to pick one conversation that will have the most positive impact on your life this week.

Conversing on Paper

Once you’ve identified your person and the topic of your conversation, practice writing down what you want to say in your journal. Each time you pause or hesitate, complete the statement: What I really want to tell ______ is…

You can also try saying, I really don’t want to talk about… That one can dig up some surprises for me.

Some people find it helpful to do a mock conversation right there in the safety of your journal. If you know the person well, you can probably guess what their response will be. Thinking in advance of what they’re going to say can help you formulate your story.

As I wrote about in the Unsent Letters post, it can be freeing to use the phrase: If I could tell you anything without consequence, I’d say…

This allows you to dig deep while keeping the fear of consequences at bay. There are no consequences right now – we’re just writing. You can decide later if what you need to say is worth the risky outcome.

Brainstorm Outcomes

It often helps me quite a bit to know what I want out of a situation before I go into it. Knowing the destination guides my argument. For example, I’m not jumping into this conversation to vent or assign blame. I’d like some help with the housework.

This enables me to say, “Hey, do you think you could do the grocery shopping on Saturday if I gave you a list?” Which is infinitely more productive than, “You never do anything around here!” Keeping in mind that I want help with the housework – not payback – enables me to draft up a positive, supportive conversation on the page. It helps me identify when the conversation has gotten off track. It also lets me know when our conversation has reached its goal: help with the housework.

Having a much-needed conversation can be extremely uncomfortable, but it’s always worth it. On the other side of that tough talk is a lifted weight and some freed up mental real estate you can put to better use.

Try it this weekend. And let me know how it goes!

One comment

  1. Some powerful ideas. I like this phrase especially: “If I could tell you anything without consequence, I’d say…”

    Reminds me of a good coaching question – “What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail.”

    This has definitely got me thinking about how open we are with the people closest to us, and what we say, and what we really want to say. And equally, what we REALLY want to say to ourselves…

    Thanks Kristin.