You know the feeling when you’re dreading an upcoming conversation? You might get butterflies in the stomach, or feel your hands getting clammy. Often, we avoid these moments because we’re worried about hurting someone else’s feelings or inflaming a situation that may already feel tense.
Sometimes, it feels easier to avoid life’s harder aspects than tackle them head-on. But, without welcoming and tolerating discomfort in the short term, it’s virtually impossible to move forward to a productive long-term solution. When we avoid those difficult – but necessary – conversations, we cheat ourselves out of a better future.
We have a saying in sport: ‘Nothing worth having comes easy.’ There is always preparation, learning, discomfort, repeated effort and leaps of faith to grow and improve. It’s no different when tackling other challenges, we need to understand, and commit to, the process. The more we practice, the less fear and anxiety we will feel, and the greater our chances of achieving a successful outcome.
Athletes believe feedback is a gift. We watch video replays of performances in slow-motion to identify areas of improvement, and we look to our coaches daily for positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. But as adults in our day-to-day, we rarely get this kind of quality feedback. If you can approach difficult conversations with positive intentions – as an opportunity to provide useful feedback – it can go a long way to producing a beneficial outcome for everyone involved.