Do You Know the Most Important Things to Include in a Difficult Conversation?

If you told me three months ago I’d be putting in my two weeks notice at a job that I completely uprooted my family to accept, I probably would have thought you were crazy. But, unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to me recently.

Once I started working, it didn’t take long for me to recognize legitimate concerns. I’ll spare you the details, but in a nutshell, there were way too many red flags flying around for me not to notice. I spent many days feeling sick to my stomach, and even more sleepless nights as things began to unfold.

It felt like I literally went through the five stages of grieving at warp speed:

  1. Denial: For several weeks I tried to “un-see” the things happening around me and convince myself there was a logical explanation.
  2. Anger: Then, I realized it was indeed what I thought and I became angry. I mean really! I moved half way across the country, separated our family temporarily, left a great job and great friends for this?!
  3. Bargaining: Once the anger calmed down, I tried to rationalize through it. Maybe I could just stick it out until something better comes along. Maybe I could just keep my head down, do the right thing, and just stick it out.
  4. Depression: The more time passed, the more I saw, and the worse it got. My plan to stick it out became more and more unfeasible with each day. It hurt. I felt like I made a horrible mistake and ultimately let my family down.
  5. Acceptance: Then, through much prayer and discussion with my husband, I began to realize what I had to do; I had to take a leap of faith, as scary as it was, and remove myself from the situation.

Then it came to the hard part….the conversation with the boss. I had to find a way to address my concerns and inform him I would no longer continue to work there. It was extremely difficult; he is a very charismatic individual, and there are parts of you that can’t help but like him. As I raised my concerns and listened to him lie his way through them, I felt the conviction I needed to give my notice. He tried to convince me to stay, and as much as I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, I knew I couldn’t. I worked through my two weeks and have since left the company.

It has been a whirlwind of emotion as I made yet another transition so quickly after leaving Florida, but it has given me a profound perspective and lesson in faith that I’m so blessed to be able to share.

We’ve all been faced with difficult decisions, which can often lead to the dreaded difficult conversation. No one wants to have a discussion with someone else about something unpleasant, but there comes a time when it becomes necessary. Through my recent experience, I want to share with you what I feel are the two most important things to include in that conversation the next time you are faced with one.

truth and grace

That’s it. Truth and Grace. I can’t take complete credit for this. Anyone who has spent much time talking with me knows that one of my favorite influential people is Pastor Andy Stanley. His sermons are my favorite podcast to listen to. Recently, I listened to one talking about how we are to love one another as Christ loved us. He went on to explain how difficult that is to do, because Christ’s love for us is messy. It’s messy because often times it can seem unfair, and hard to explain. But when you understand that his love is filled with truth and grace, it begins to make sense.

The Two Most Important Parts to Include in A Difficult Conversation

Truth

Truth is where every conversation, especially the difficult ones, should come from. When we allow ourselves or others to escape from the reality of the situation by making excuses, or telling lies we are actually committing a huge disservice to that individual.

In my situation specifically, as I said, he was a very likeable person, and as I listened to him make up lies and excuses for what I knew to be true, I felt myself wanting to believe him, wanting to take the easy road and say “it’s ok” and pretend like I didn’t know better. But, I will tell you the honest truth, as that feeling of giving in began to surface inside my heart, a much bigger one came in and took over. I thought of that sermon, and how we are meant to be held accountable for our actions. Truth. If I were to let him hide behind lies, I wouldn’t be doing anything for him other than feeding the beast. How much of an impact me leaving had on him and his company may or may not be significant in the grand scheme of things. But, I know I made a difference in his life that day, no matter how small, it mattered.

Grace

One of the most beautiful things that we experience in Christ’s love is his grace. The fact that no matter how far we stray or how wrong we may be, we are forgiven, we are loved. Grace. Such a powerful thing. When grace is extended towards us, we feel as if we have a second chance. When we are able to extend grace to others, not only do we help them, but we help ourselves.

As I closed the conversation with my former boss, he apologized to me for all the pain I endured from working there. Without a second thought, I quickly told him I had no resentment towards him, and I genuinely  hope he takes from this experience what he and his company need to be successful in the future.

To forgive, to let go, is one of the most powerful things we can do. When you let resentment and anger remain, you allow that person and their wrong doing to hang over you and keep you captive. If you have a difficult conversation, come from a place of forgiveness as you enter into it. When you do, you allow yourself to leave the moment with a sense of peace as you let go of the burden you’ve been carrying up until that moment.

No one wants to have those difficult conversations, but when you’re faced with them I hope you remember to equip yourself with the power of truth and grace. Through adversity we gain so much growth. At the end of the day, the most important thing we can do in life is love others as we would want to be loved.

What is the most difficult conversation you’ve had? Did it consist of truth and grace?

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Do You Know the Most Important Things to Include in a Difficult Conversation?

  1. I really liked this one, Jen. I’m sorry you had to go through this. There are so many doctors out there with no integrity. That’s what makes it hard for the good ones, like Dr Shuler.

    Take care and hang in there.

    Luv ya!

    • Thank you!!! You are right; I’d take it one step further, not just doctors, but people in general. It’s hard to find people you can trust to have a strong moral compass and genuinely care. The best thing we can do is live our lives the way we know is right and not be swayed by the actions of others.