Uncomfortable conversations. I detest them.
But they are undoubtedly the most important factor to overall success.
I’ll repeat that:
Uncomfortable conversations are the most important factor to overall success.
Why you ask?
- They challenge your approaches to your business and personal life, thereby making you stronger.
- They force you to face the fears that weigh on your mind, spirit and soul, allowing you to analyze the fear for what it is and take action.
- They force you into unknown territories, send you on unforeseen adventures and inherently force growth, itchy growth, upon you.
- They expose your shortcomings, your human-factor, but also allow you to hone in on your strengths and alter your network to support your weaknesses.
- For me, as a perfectionist, it forces me to still love myself even when I fail.
- And as a straight-A student, it reminds me that I regrettably do not have all the answers, although, apparently at one point I did, because, duh, I got straight A’s?*
* Straight A’s do not mean you have all the answers. True story.
You are the dance and life is the dancer. Life moves through you. Therefore, you must be in the correct state to welcome and utilize change and success. The art of the uncomfortable conversation is a necessary tool to get you to that place so that [insert any positive desire] can grow organically.
Let us begin with a story. My story.
Spring 2009: About a year and half ago, I graduated from the University at Buffalo. With no particular life direction and my boyfriend of 3 years moving away, I proceeded to begin a full-fledge nomadic existence with an ironic pursuit of real estate. Couches, floors and automobiles became my dormitory and real estate my muse! I even enjoyed the beautiful companionship of my 1995 Nissan Maxima a time or two.
Summer 2009: Boyfriend was offered a temporary job in Buffalo and moved back to our original stomping grounds. We ended up bumming a room off of a very good friend for the course of the summer. Thanks Andy!
Flash forward to September 2009: We need a new place to live because this room is no longer available. Damn Fall classes! A friend at my job offered us a room in her house. We took it.
November 2009: Boyfriend got a new job in NYC. Great! I’d be moving to NYC in no time, except for the small fact that Boyfriend said we needed space. So, I remained in Buffalo a bit longer. Tough luck.
Flash to December 2009: The news is delivered: I am now on the market and single. I then undergo 2 months of hell. I lost 10lbs, had regular outings with ex-friend depression and fully immersed myself into my real estate business. I worked 14-hour days and vowed to be happy and successful.
February 2010: Mr. Ex comes back a rehabilitated soul and ready to prove himself again and make up for the break-up mistake. I humor the idea.
June 2010: I cannot understand why I am still in Buffalo, NY with a business I force myself to do and with no social network. I read The Four Hour Work Week and realize that my original theory of work until money or death come, may not be hacking it. I make the very spontaneous decision to quit my job, sell my crap and move.
July 17th, 2010: Stuff sold. Packing myself and my boyfriend into a 2001 Maxima (we like Nissans apparently), I drive to NYC.
Now: I left a place where $50k a year can buy you a nice suburban house, a car and good eating. I traded that in for the Bronx life where it can feel as if I have been dropped off in a non-English speaking 3rd world with an awesome transportation system, to live in a house that is the neighbor to a project building, complete with drug dealers, where I share a room with my boyfriend. And I’m jobless and wondering what the fuck I am doing in the hood writing a blog?
And my subconscious says to me, “Well Lauryn, it’s all very simple. This is all the product of 2 very uncomfortable conversations you had recently.”
They go as follows:
#1 A failing relationship is best dealt with if you close your eyes… not!
What I feared and therefore ignored: My almost 4 year relationship was not working. I was convinced that this was not possible, because I did everything “right”. I put in the correct amount of work, love, attention, cooking of food, etc. and therefore, had created the perfect recipe for relationship success. And yet, he somehow was convinced that I was not what he wanted.
My Uncomfortable Conversation with Myself:
- I was depressed and dependent, giving him the reigns to my life.
- He was in a confused and overwhelmed state, in no position to lead and due to my own insecurities, I trusted his judgment more than my own, thinking it to be infallible.
- I had, over the course of many years, made myself believe that I was a problem and thus, in any situation, could simply alter myself to become the remedy.
- I lost myself.
- I lost control.
Acknowledging that those beliefs even existed was the hardest thing I had to do in a long time. Once I acknowledged them, the conversation shifted to action. I began healing with what I call a “Lauryn Bible”, some serious affirmations, a positive outlook and sheer determination and trust in God. I began to rewire how I saw myself. I found my innate value again. I realized I was complete with or without him or anyone else. I reacquainted myself with peace.
Was is hard? Fuck yea. Was it necessary? Yes. Yes. And YES.
Results: Renewed self confidence, a “No Bullshit Approach Because Life is Too Short” attitude, greater patience and greater faith.
#2 Life Equation:
[Do what you hate x 14 Hour Work Days] ÷ Social Solitude = Happiness?
What I feared and therefore ignored: My business choice was not working out as hoped. The “just work to the death” attitude was not paying off. Most of all, I did not like what I was doing, even if I was good at it.
My Uncomfortable Conversation:
- My choice of real estate as a business may have been overly impulsive, seeing as how it fell into my lap.
- I may need to go back to the drawing board.
- I do not have all the answers.
- I fear failure more than anything.
- I hate not being amazing at something.
- I need to change business models and/or business ventures period.
- I will not do something I hate.
Action + Results: I decided to dabble at other things. I like writing. I’m creative and good at offering ideas and insight to others and love business. A blog was a natural outlet for me. I applied the ideas of The 4HWW to my blog, focusing only on what I like and am good at (writing, interviewing, talking and leading) and began to reach out to people in the industry.
As a result, in less than a week, I:
- Interviewed Internet Marketer Greg Rollett from RockStarLifestyleDesign.com
- Side Note: Reaching out to Greg was very uncomfortable for me. When I contacted him, I had no idea what was to come of it and I was scared to even answer his emails, thinking he’d reject me in some horrific way. He didn’t. Instead, we shared a common interest in real estate and he suggested we set up an interview. Pretty cool stuff. Pretty darn easy.
- Received a guest post invite for Untemplater.com
- Received a Facebook blogging opportunity
Not too shabby, eh?
And all of that was possible due to some serious uncomfortable conversations with serious action attached to them.
Most of the times, we fear uncomfortable conversations because we fear the unpredictability of the outcome. We fear being laughed at, rejected, losing, failing and sometimes even succeeding. The truth, however, is that these conversations lead to phenomenal results. We fear the truth, but the truth is what liberates us and redirects us towards greater fulfillment and joy.
How do you know when a talk is order?
- You’re procrastinating to any degree
- Your business is not growing or is failing (negative cash flow)
- You are unhappy
- You are not seeing the success you’d like
- There is a great sense of fear or anxiety around a particular idea or topic
- Excuses, excuses, excuses
- You’re bored
Does any of this sound like you? If so, take a good, hard look at the stuff you’ve been ignoring. The letter you fear opening, the phone call you do not want to return, the business venture you want to pursue, but fear it may not work, the figure in your life you have held a lot of resentment towards.
Now open the letter, make the phone call, research the feasibility of the business venture and have that conversation. You owe it to yourself. You will feel GREAT after doing it.
Like a good friend once told me, “If you’re not growing, you’re dead,” so I always choose life, like a devout Christian protesting abortion.
You should too.