Is there anything you need to clear up with anyone in your business or life? Let’s do it.
Clearing up with another person is about owning your side of the street for whatever drama or story you have been carrying around for however long that has been. It’s about taking responsibility for your own life and experiences.
When you’ve carried a resentment or judgment, the facts are blurred, and the story takes on a life of its own, creating energetic drag that leads to resistance. Everything becomes more difficult and when your energy is drained you cannot lead effectively.
What’s more, if you don’t clear things up, you run the risk of carrying the resentment or bad feelings into a new situation. You become a prisoner to your own story. It’s so much easier to deal with the facts while honoring the feeling.
Consider the story of Claire.
Claire was a rising executive in her organization. She was a key confidante of the CEO and regularly was called upon for participation in key meetings and strategic sessions. She was an invaluable executive in the company.
There was only one problem. Even though she led a key division in the organization, she was regularly left out of opportunities to “be at the table”.
This came to a head when all executives, except Claire, were invited to a year-end celebration. Her familiar reaction was to feel victimized and to blame outside of herself. This led to hard feelings which impacted her willingness – even her ability – to participate.
Thanks to some great coaching, she was able to turn it around and take responsibility for the exclusions. She got curious and asked herself, “what am I doing that creates this outcome?”. With that perspective and without blame, she cleared the air with her CEO. She expressed her feelings of disappointment in the exclusions and owned how she had never challenged or asked for inclusion.
This turned out well and illuminated something about which the senior executives were not aware. Claire was included at the highest level from that day forward.
She took responsibility for her situation and had the courage to own her part in it….and the temerity to ask for something different.
Put yourself in Claire’s shoes. Even though her story is not yours, I suspect there is something you’ve been hanging onto that could be cleared and create personal freedom.
Here are five steps to clearing the air. It’s a Freedom Formula – and it’s simple, but not easy.
- When something happens, acknowledge the facts about it and not the made-up story.
- Ask yourself, “what is my contribution to this situation?”
- Unravel the story that you have made up about the situation, including the assumptions about the other person’s motive or anything that would cause you to blame and feel victimized.
- Talk to the other person (if not feasible, write it in a letter you will not send). This step is about the facts of the situation, stated without blame, coupled with whatever you need to apologize and whatever contribution you own.
- The final step is to move forward – offering what you can do to clear this up with specific and clear actions or requests.
This might seem counter-intuitive. We are wired to protect our personalities. That protection often comes at the price of our freedom. Maybe the relationship won’t be restored in Step Five, but what is restored is your energy and your integrity and your peace of mind.
If you are aware of this and make clearing the air a regular practice, wonderful things will happen for you, not the least of which is:
- You will release situations that used to hang on for years draining your energy.
- You will become facile with factually sharing your withheld thoughts and learn to trust what you see and feel.
- You will resolve conflicts swiftly and professionally.
- You will have peace of mind.
A key tenet to Leadership Mastery is knowing that whatever gets created out there is the direct result of something I’ve done or failed to do, it’s not somebody else’s fault. I create my own reality.
Speaking what’s true for me, without blame, restores connection and invites others to do the same.
Since We are Talking About Emotional Intelligence, Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz…
If you want to find out about your own EQ skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now.