Having Hard Conversations
Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another episode of if I'm honest with Julia Landauer. So the other week, I had a speaking client and I was in their venue, which was a college communal space. And so they had set up a lot of roundtables for like lunch style. And I was on this small, small podium that was probably three steps above the floor level. And so I was a little bit higher than everyone I was giving my keynote, but it was still very intimate. You know, I was close to the audience members, I could look in everyone's eyes, it was well lit. So I am giving my keynote. And the last theme that I discussed before opening it up to q&a was about how our dreams demand discomfort, and it's a theme that I really enjoy talking about. And it's something that I feel super passionate about. So with that in mind, you know, I finish up the keynote, and I open it up to q&a. And I got a question from one of the audience members who was sitting up front who was also on the Organizing Committee, and she was going to be sitting on a panel after me. And she asked, you know, following up on your theme around discomfort, what makes you uncomfortable? And I audibly responded, oh, because I was surprised. And I hadn't gotten that question before. And, you know, I have no problem being honest, and vulnerable and transparent. I mean, all of my stories that I tell throughout the keynote are very personal and vulnerable, and I'm very honest with with everyone I talk with, but I was caught off guard with this question. And I remember actually got a little like hot and tingly as I was thinking about it, cuz I wanted to make sure I gave a good and thoughtful answer. And I had to think about it for a second. And let me tell you, when you're on stage, and you've given a 45 minute keynote, and then an audience member asks you a question that truly stumped you. It is a nerve wracking experience, because on the one hand, I want to give the best answer I can and the most authentic and the one that's most likely to be helpful. But I also can't just stand on stage thinking about it for a while. So my process for trying to find the answer to this question where I knew is a tough one. I thought back over my life as to when do I feel anxious? And when do I feel physically uncomfortable? Because that's kind of, for me the indicator that you know, I am uncomfortable. I finally answered her by saying, having hard conversations makes me uncomfortable. And I elaborated that sometimes that's professionally, sometimes that's personally, but that is one area that continues to make me uncomfortable to this day. I also realized over the following day, and after the keynote, that I found myself thinking about her question more, and I was kind of questioning myself, you know, was that the best answer? Is that a good enough answer? Should I have something it's more exciting, that makes me uncomfortable. But the reality is that it is something that's fairly mundane and something that we all go through. And I hope that is something that's relatable. And it is having hard conversations is where I find a great amount of discomfort, whereas I'm able to manage a lot of other stuff a lot more easily. All of this led me to decide that I want to do a podcast episode about having hard conversations. And while this is going to be my thing that makes me uncomfortable. I'm hoping that my process for this and working through this is applicable to you, and what makes you uncomfortable, if that's not having hard conversations, if that's something else, I'm going to share what conversations are hard for me what my symptoms are, where I know that I'm really uncomfortable, and how I've been working on it, because I am proud to report that although this will continue to be a challenging area for me, I've really done some good work on figuring out how to deal with it. So I want to preface this whole episode by saying that what I've been doing to work on this and to work on dealing with the discomfort and having these tough conversations is working. To start off, I want to share what type of conversations I find particularly difficult. So the first kind is when I have to tell someone that I'm working with that I'm unhappy with either their process or the behavior or the results or their communication or something in our professional working relationships. And I think this is particularly difficult for me because I only work closely with a few people. And so they are very, very intimate, professional relationships. And I find that I consider that to be really high stakes. Even though I know that we're all working towards a common goal, it still makes me uncomfortable. And I'm hoping that as I continue to work with more people and broaden my horizons that this becomes a little less over time but for right now that that is one type of conversation that I find really hard. There are also certain types of pitches that I have to give that that make me feel uncomfortable. There are some where I'm I'm fully confident I'm ready to go. I have 150% belief in myself and faith and what I'm doing and that it's that it's really beneficial for everyone. But there are some times where I just don't quite feel either 100% prepared or qualified. So hello impostor syndrome, your girl, Julia is also a victim of this reality. So sometimes having to pitch myself if I don't feel 100% Is is challenging for me. I also find conversations hard if it's around a conflict that I have with someone I care about who's in my inner circle, or my family or my chosen family. But I will say that with those personal relationships, there's so much on the line, and they're so important that they're stressful, but I always know that I have to have them. And the last type of conversation that I find really challenging is, maybe surprisingly to you. But if I have to negotiate or advocate for myself and my compensation, and you might be thinking, But Julia, you told us in another episode that Taylor Swift taught you to know your value, and you're completely right. But knowing that I have to advocate for myself and knowing what my value is, and that I have to advocate for it does not mean that it's easy for me, right? Like, it's not necessarily a walk in the park, I know that I have to do it. But it can still be challenging. If anyone else finds these types of conversations or other ones hard I'm I'm there with you know that we are in solidarity that this stuff is typically more challenging to deal with for us. And that is okay, because recognizing it and working on it is where the importance really come as in. So now I want to talk about the symptoms that I feel when I know that I'm uncomfortable with having these tough conversations, you know, all realize that, you know, I want to delay the call, or I'm hoping that maybe the person I'm having the conversation with will postpone or they won't pick up or something like if I find myself hoping for postponement. I know that I'm, I'm uncomfortable with this call. I also before the call will have an increased heart rate. For example, back in 2021. I talked about this before, but I had gotten hired for a remote position where we still be involved in the racing industry. And I just read in my journal that when I was about to have kind of the final solidifying call with them. Although I felt confident, although I knew that I had someone advocating for me and my, you know, being good for this role. I was so nervous, and I even wrote my journal, I am so nervous, all caps. And I don't know why. And it just goes to show that we kind of have these really physical symptoms. So anyway, I before that call before other tough conversations, I definitely have an increased heart rate. Mentally, I'll also feel a little anxious. And I'll kind of go and assume that it'll result in the worst case scenario. And I'll assume that the person will be difficult to talk with and combative. And I'm not entirely sure why, you know, that's kind of wild, because most people that we work with are not our enemies, right? They're not out to get us. But somehow I kind of don't give anyone the benefit of the doubt. And yeah, so I will find myself kind of feeling anxious in that mental way. And it's challenging, but it's something that we have to work through. I'd also encourage you to think about how you're discomforts and nerves and anxieties might manifest themselves and you physically, because once we recognize that, we can then come up with remedies and solutions to making ourselves feel better, in addition to working on longer term techniques to kind of fight some of this discomfort. So that leads me to my last section of this, which is talking about what I do to help me get through the discomfort of having hard conversations. And as I mentioned, I've been working at this actively for a little while now. And I'm finding that these techniques are working. I hope that they're valuable to you, I'd also encourage you to experiment with other things that you might be able to do. But the first thing that I do when I have a hard conversation coming up that I know is important. I know I have to deal with, I think about what my goals and objectives are for the conversation. And then I think about what the best case scenario outcome would be. And then I also think about what the worst case scenario outcome would be. And I go through a lot of different scenarios. And usually, the worst case scenario is not detrimental. And so I find that doing this little exercise is a reminder to me, that it's not the end of the world if it goes badly, and rationalizing and having that that thought with myself, I find kind of comforting because it helps me get out of my own head and it brings me back down to earth and it makes me feel a little better. I also am a big advocate for writing out what you want to say in a tough conversation. And whether that's writing out a monologue or writing out bullet points. I regularly do that on paper in my notes app, whatever it might be. And then I also then practice what I'm going to say out loud I'm a big, big advocate for practicing the things that you find challenging and doing it over and over again. So whether it's having the conversation out loud with yourself in the shower or at your desk, or as you're getting ready to go to bed, normalize, what the conversation is going to go, like normalize how you're gonna feel saying it. And you might also be able to then kind of think about other things that might be helpful for your argument, or what you're trying to say, as we lead into the actual, you know, having the conversation, I incorporate a lot of deep breathing, and some journaling right beforehand, if I need to, I also, you know, try to, if I need to exert some energy, like I might do a few jumping jacks, or I might do a push up or something just to kind of expel some of that negative energy. Because again, there are some things that make us really uncomfortable that really permeate us on a very physical body level, that if we're feeling anxious, physically, we might be a little funky in the actual hard thing that we're doing in this case, having a tough conversation. And the last thing that I've been doing more recently, and this is across all things that make me uncomfortable, is I remind myself that this is a finite feeling. And I'm probably perceiving the situation worse than it is, and that it will go away. Feeling uncomfortable, feeling anxious, will go away as soon as I get through it. And so rationalizing that, again, it helps me so much because I remind myself of historically what these experiences have been like, and and then that helps me get through it. And I've I've kind of set out these steps as you know, very proactive, involved steps. But it's gotten to the point now where these things this, you know, think about worst case and best and best case scenarios writing out what I want to say practicing deep breathing, reminding myself that it'll be okay. It's a finite feeling. All of those happen kind of quickly. Now, it's a routine that I have practiced that makes it easier to quickly manage the feelings of discomfort around having tough conversations. Now, I want to take a minute to zoom in on having hard conversations when it comes to interpersonal relationships. So with loved ones, family, chosen family, whoever it might be, because I think that a lot of us have the tendency to be a little confrontation averse, or at least I know, I'm not the only person in the world who's confrontation averse. But I have found that with our personal relationships, it is more crucial than ever, that we actually follow through and have the hard conversations. I don't believe in shying away from an issue or thinking it's gonna resolve on its own, especially with our inner circle and our loved ones because it doesn't usually and you know, we both we all have our unique perspectives with how we're viewing things we can miss perceive things we can feel, feel, you know, bothered by something that the other person didn't mean, our relationships that we work hard to maintain, need to have their issues dealt with. And there's a quote that I heard that something like, you know, easy conversations in the short run lead for a hard life in the long run. And hard conversations in the short run lead to an easier life in the long run. And I really liked that reminder that, you know, if you skirt the issue early on, it's going to probably lead to more issues later. And so it's better to address it head on. And what I've realized is that as soon as I recognize that something is bothering me, or if I find myself thinking about an interaction that happened or something that someone did that bothered me, I get them on the phone right away, or I go talk to them in person right away. Because a lot of my close people are not living in Charlotte, it tends to be a phone call. But you know, I talk about it right away, I can't keep it to myself. And admittedly, I might need to work on my timing a little bit. I'm aware that there is best timing for having these conversations. But it's just important to have the conversations to not let it simmer. Because the first reason to not let it simmer is that you're going to be frustrated by it. And if you're frustrated, that's negative energy and life's too short to have unnecessary negative energy. The second reason we don't want to let it simmer is because our loved ones, our inner circles, our families, our chosen families, those relationships are too important. They are too important to not address what might be causing some bumps in the road. And most of the time the other person doesn't want to be in conflict either. So you're you're doing yourself and your relationship a favor by addressing the issue. And the third reason we don't want to let things simmer is because it's not fair to the other person. If we're upset with them, and they don't know. No one is a mind reader. We all have different triggers. We have different things that anger us or different thresholds or tolerances for bothering behavior, but we need to give the other person an opportunity to learn if something's bothering us. And we owe it to those people that we care about, to give them a chance to remedy the issue. And I've really enjoyed flipping the switch like that. And flipping the mindset to it is unfair to my loved one to withhold things that are bothering me. And it has been a good guiding tool for having these tough conversations. So it's kind of wild to me after I've talked about this, it's it's kind of wild to realize how much our mental anxieties can also have such a physical effect on us. And I think that's a big reason why it's important to work through all this. And so, as a quick summary, I talked about having hard conversations and how they make me uncomfortable, but whatever it is, that might make you uncomfortable, I really encourage you to think about what it is that makes you uncomfortable. Think about what your symptoms are pay attention to your body and your mind. Experiment with different solutions and remedies for for trying to combat the things that are making us uncomfortable, and to follow through and do the work. And again, the more that we do this, the more that we work on it, the easier it's going to be the more efficient we're going to be at working through it. And then overall, we'll we'll be on our way to thriving. Well, team. That's our show. Thank you so much for letting me be honest with you. If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend subscribe to the podcast rate the podcast, leave a review those were super, super helpful for me and my producers, and I look forward to seeing you next week.