Interrogate reality doesnât only mean the other personâs reality. It means we begin with our own. Always. If we harbor thoughts like âJohn is unreasonable. How in the world can I tell him without him getting defensive?â, weâre looking in the wrong place. Courageous conversations are first of all conversations from the heart. Courageous derives from the French word âcoeurâ which means heart. Our heroâs heart, as in the archetype which contains both the masculine and the feminine form. And courageous conversations depend on our ability to tell the truth.
âWhat is truth?â you ask wisely. A crucial question to have an empowering answer for. I like a working definition of truth I learned in my coach training program. âTruth is what happened or didnât happen in physical realityâ Not in my mind, but in reality. In other words, just the facts, please. By that definition âJohn is unreasonableâ is never the truth. See how certain I am? Itâs because you and I canât see âunreasonableâ in physical reality. We can only see actions John performs or doesnât perform which we interpret as unreasonable if we conclude âJohn is indeed unreasonable.â
So the answer to the question âHow can I tell John heâs unreasonable without him getting defensive?â isâ¦ you canât. Of course even the word âdefensiveâ is an interpretation and not the truth. Weâre limited by our need for short-hand, and so Iâll use the word âdefensive,â but Iâll use it consciously knowing itâs my interpretation of whatever John does when I share my thought with him. He may say âWhat? Me? Defensive? Youâve got to be kidding. Youâre the one whoâsâ¦.â. âOr, he may say nothing and glare. Or he may say âTell me moreâ although I doubt it.
I doubt heâll be interested in you telling him more. Why? Because you havenât told him the truth. The truth might be âI hesitate to open a conversation with you, John, because Iâm afraid it wonât work out very well.â (What didnât happen in physical reality is a conversation youâve had in your mind, and if you report on your inner state itâs probably accurate that you had the thought it wouldnât work out very well.). Notice how you experience your energy around your heart region. Notice the difference between the energy generated by the truthful statement versus your other one.
You continue. âIâve had the thought that youâre unreasonable. But what I realize is that you promised to have the report in by Friday, and then you asked for an extension that caused me to scramble. I was resentful. Letâs talk about this and see where our process broke down.â
Thatâs a pretty good beginning of a courageous conversation. When you have a good working definition of âtruthâ you can practice being truthful, and you will eventually do it with ease; the truth shall set you free to have a courageous conversation whenever one is needed. Imagine if our public discourse were populated with truth-tellers. Letâs imagine it and let it begin with us interrogating our own reality. If and only if weâre clear, we have a chance to help John interrogate his reality.
Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play. For her FREE report, âReap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind: Empower Self, Empower Othersâ, or âManagement Training for Business as Unusualâ, visit: http://www.yourleadersedge.com.
Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, immigrated to the US at age eleven, from Germany. Her fascination with human behavior began when she read mythological stories and Tolstoyâs Anna Karenina. They fired her imagination to understand people. She wanted to solve the puzzle of people losing their enthusiasm for learning, and became an educator. She has a Masterâs degree in French Literature and speaks three languages fluently.
Moving into the world of businessâfirst as a consultant, then as an internationally certified executive/team coach with clients in North America, Europe, and Australiaâshe got interested in unconventional models of learning.
While working as a teacher with inner-city at-risk youth who seemed to hate to learn, she began developing innovative educational models. Certain that a disdain for learning is unnatural, she submits that learning environments must help peopleâadults in corporate America includedâget out of their own way.
Her ability to create rich learning environments was facilitated by non-traditional learning experiences which required her to be âclient-centered,â and by her graduate work in psychology and experiential education design. Her intention is to engage you in a learning process that supports exceptional effectiveness at work and transfers to your life beyond work.