Uncomfortable conversations

I have a meeting today that I’m not looking forward to. We clearly have different perspectives on an issue and it’s unlikely that either side is going to change their views. Neither side has done anything wrong. I can see where the other side is coming from but, using the same facts, I simply arrive at a different conclusion.

I respect the other side and believe that they’re likely approaching the problem in the same way as me. They’ve probably evaluated my position and can see where I’m coming from. But using the same facts they arrive at a different conclusion.

In times like this, I remember the quote “Your success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.”  A quick web search and this quote seems to be attributed to Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek.

This quote isn’t recommending that you have uncomfortable conversations simply for the sake of having them. You shouldn’t look to collect uncomfortable conversations like you look to collect trophies.

The fact that you’re going to have an uncomfortable conversation implies that both sides care about what’s at stake. If either side didn’t care, they would easily concede their view, removing the need for an uncomfortable conversation.

The fact that you’re going to have an uncomfortable conversation suggests that the stakes are high for both sides, and this suggests that you’re pursuing a goal that you value. You’re going after success. As long as you pursue success respectfully, you should welcome uncomfortable conversations when they’re necessary.