“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said”. Peter Drucker
What would life be like if you didn’t have fear?
Perhaps you would take more risks, say what you want to say, how you want to say it, ask someone out on a date, introduce yourself to that interesting looking stranger, perhaps even walk naked down the street? Who knows?
But my experience is that this simple question exposes just how much our lives are dictated by fear: fear of what people will think of us, a fear of getting it wrong, making mistakes, looking bad… the list goes on and on doesn’t it?
And it’s really hard sometimes, isn’t it? There are so many forces at work in all of us: emotions, feelings, relationships, agendas, other relationships that have an impact on this moment, in the background. Wow, what a list of things we have to think about!
All this played out recently in my neighbourhood when a neighbour’s dog attempted to attack mine on three successive days. On two of those days we were both able to pull the dogs back on the leashes and on the third, the dog tore at mine, off his leash. I lifted my dog up, shouting at the owner to keep his dog on a leash and kicked the poor dog hard in the ribs. (Isn’t the problem the owner’s, not the dogs? Ahem, myself included!)
It has taken about a month to get to what I hope to be a resolution. I followed a fairly decent rational protocol sending him WhatsApp messages saying I had appreciated if we could talk but they went unanswered.
I called him but he didn’t pick up the phone. Eventually I knocked on the door and asked if we could speak, something I would far rather not have done. I could feel his brisling, tightening and defensive tone because I think he knew exactly what I wanted to talk about but he seemed to feign ignorance.
My only brief to myself was to approach with love and calmness and to remember to ‘be kind, for we all fight mighty battles.’ I know myself well enough to know that I can be an angry dog if I choose to be and I knew that it would only make matters worse.
Luckily, I was able to manage myself and we had a constructive conversation. He agreed to keep his dog on a lead at all times and to ensure that the loud barking stops at 20h30 when he puts him in doors.
I noticed the almost addictive pull I had to be ‘right’ and make him ‘wrong,’ and to ‘dominate’ and bully him was so present for me and yet I also knew that it was a fairly simple – not easy – task to approach it in the right, and best way possible.
The ‘structure’ I used was from Non-Violent Communication:
- Share Facts – what happened?
- Share feelings.
- Share what you need.
- Make a request.
- Show appreciation.
It really works!
If you are someone like me, who battles with these kinds of incidents, why not take one of them and let’s have a conversation about it?
Drop me a line or give me a call.
P.S. Find out your Mojo score by completing the anonymous 2-minute Mojo-Meter here: