I was in a meeting recently where someone was visibly upset. I notice they began to ask questions, question the process of what we were collaborating on, and yet when they were offered solutions they muted themselves. It was almost like no one was talking to them. I sat back and observed, no one else seemed to notice or if they did they didn’t seem bothered.
Have you been there? In the meeting or conversation, fuming on the inside and yet not quite saying what you really want to say? I know I have. It takes courage to speak up, to say this isn’t working for me, I am overwhelmed, or I need help, I am struggling over here. I refuse to stay silent, no matter how hard the conversation I know I eventually have to speak up and ask for whatever it is that I need and this is also what I help my clients with.
We have to first know what it is we need and unless you consciously uncover this, it may not be clear to you. Let’s say the person in the meeting was feeling overwhelmed and one more person asked them to do something. When this happens they become irritated (has this happened to you, too?). STOP right here is the choice point. If we don’t slow down and assess what is happening within us, we walk around ready to explode. For me I want to cry, others may get angry, what is it like for you?
Slowing down and assessing can look something like this:
- I notice I am triggered, I wonder what that is about?
- What am I feeling?
- What is the story I am making up about this situation? ( we almost always are creating stories around events about ourselves about others)
- What are the actual facts?
- What am I needing at this moment?
- What do I want to do next?
Remember it is you that ia in reaction, so work on assessing yourself. Do you already feel calmer?
Let’s say this person was able to do this before the meeting. They think or write to themselves:
I notice I am triggered when (person) asked me to do something, I wonder what this is about(step 1). Oh, I am feeling overwhelmed (step 2) and I am making up a story that I am all alone in this, that I have to do all that is asked of me, and that no one understands how busy I actually am. I can’t say no as this is what I signed up for and I have no idea how I will do all the things I need to do (step 3). (Deep sigh, maybe some emotion comes up). The facts are I am not alone in this, I have a team and we are collaborating, I have a lot on my plate, and no one knows I am feeling this way (step 4). I am really needing some rest and support ( step 5). When I go into this meeting I am going to ask for support and find some time to step away for a bit when I look at my schedule (step 6).
How do you think this person would have come to this meeting differently? When we begin to look at ourselves, understand what we are feeling and what we are needing, and then ask for that, our whole world changes.
Sure, it may feel unnatural and difficult at first if you have never done it and it’s how we can begin to uncover our authentic selves, it’s how we get to know ourselves and take care of our own needs. The outside world will disappoint you and it will also surprise and delight you.
Try this out with something you are struggling with, write me back, let me know how it goes.