No one is born knowing how to brave, honest conversations about issues that really matter. This isn’t a skill anyone comes out of the womb with, and being in a particular position or role doesn’t mean you’ve figured out how to talk about tough stuff. It takes a combination of skills, knowledge, attitude and behaviour to be able to really have brave, honest conversations with yourself, in your organization, community or family.
It takes deep self-awareness to have tough conversations, because what I step into when I have these conversations is different than what you will step into. We are different people, and our strengths are different. You need to bring your whole self to brave, honest conversations, and leverage your own special gifts and strengths in service of talking together to find solutions about complex problems.
I like to think of these special gifts and strengths as your very own super power, that you step into and embody in emotional, challenging, high stakes conversations.
Recently I attended Rick Tamlyn’s Bigger Game Live conference where I asked people:
What super power allows you to have brave, honest conversations?
I heard some amazing answers from participants at the conference:
- Empowering others to see their own worth
- Listening and asking powerful questions
- Tapping into people’s happiness meter (described to me as helping them see and use what makes them happiest)
- Cutting to the chase! Getting to the heart of the issue.
- I am approachable and people feel they can talk to me about anything
- Sensing when to be silent
- I create relationship, connection and intimacy really fast
- Big, bold vision
- I am a safe space for people to talk to and bring their pain, challenge and heartache
- I help others see the greatness within themselves
- I bring reverence and irreverence to the same conversation
- My super power is generosity
- I bring energy and excitement
- My super power is boldness
- I can be fully present and in the moment
- My super power is listening
- I bring certainty and I simplify things
- I am courageous and brave
This is a beautiful list of attitudes, behaviours and skills.
What strikes me about these super powers is that when the people who hold them step into them fully, they are powerful, committed and in service to others. These things that are about them being their most authentic become about more than them alone. They extend their impact beyond themselves into the world around them. Their super powers create positive impact and possibility because they are committed to someone else.
We live in a world intensely focused on personal growth, self-help, individual needs and desires. In that world, we can get trapped in our heads, worrying about our needs, fears and anxieties. Yet when we step into our best selves in service to others we become more possible, more powerful than we were before.
I think we all want to bring our best selves to the situations and relationships that matter most to us. If you want that too, here are my questions for you to think about: