June 19, 2024

Forgive me.

I’m as sure as I can be that, in one of the hundreds of these missives I’ve cranked out over the past 12 years, I’ve offered a concept or an idea or an opinion that simply didn’t agree with how you see the world. Perhaps I even upset you… riled you up… pissed you off. I often do that if for no other reason than to get my reader to think about a subject from a different perspective.

But sometimes I’ve not been quite so esoteric. Sometimes it’s just my OPINION—from my knower/judger—and I’ve just got to get it off my chest!

(I can tell, because I see the “unsubscribes” after every publication!)

Clarity, in my world and for my use as a coach, is improved by backing away from my personal rule set (my K/J) and allowing for other interpretations. It is refraining from pulling the trigger on my K/J defensively and defending my position or even attacking the other. It’s putting a pause in the reaction to allow me to choose another response.

But let’s say I don’t pause. We certainly know how to push each other’s buttons, especially in close teams (families, couples) and do the same unproductive dance over and over again, don’t we? Let’s say you challenge my understanding of a situation and I just “let it fly.” You get a big dose of my K/J and what it thinks about yours!

In terms of clarity, where are we? The iconic picture of two mountain sheep banging head to head comes to mind. BOOM! Black vs. white. Right vs. wrong. Right vs. left. Jazz vs. classical. You get the picture.

Is that what either of us really wants? Are we ready to end our relationship on this note?

Avoiding the reasons why we took our positions (which is a product of our history, having developed our K/J positions), the questions remain. What do I want and how do I get it?

There are two sides to the scenario. Since you fired the first shot across my bow, you can decide you want to back up a step or two and search for some common ground or clarity (which might be that we have no common ground!).

“I see you’re upset. That’s not what I wanted from this conversation. Can I have a do-over?”

Yeah. It’s that simple. If you want to move through the uncomfortable moment… unless the moment isn’t really uncomfortable! I know many in my world who live in their K/Js and have no inclination to back off. Argument and struggle is smack dab in the middle of their comfort zone. They do not really want clarity. They want their K/J to be right.

Let’s say you’re totally into your interpretation of the situation and just know I’m dead wrong.  What can I do (again, if I really want to) to pull the conversation back toward clarity?

“Forgive me. This isn’t going where I wanted it to. You may be right.”

How difficult is that? “Do-over?” “Forgive me?”

What do I want? (That’s a pretty consistent theme in these writings). I think we lose sight of that often in the heat of battle. I don’t discount how difficult it can be to see my K/J running my mouth off, when my response appears to me to be “common sense” or “what everybody knows.”

The question both combatants might want to ask themselves is which is the priority? Being right or getting clear?

How can I tell if I’m obfuscating clarity? Do I think the other person is wrong? Have I judged the statement as “inferior,” “ridiculous,” or maybe even a more offensive description? Then the evidence is that your K/J is showing and you have a choice about what happens next. As do I.

You want to fight? Or do you want to find clarity?

I’d take a bigger dose of clarity in our divided national narrative right now.

Hope that didn’t offend you: It’s from my K/J.

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