Slow It Down

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0

I grew up with two younger brothers, so ESPN was constantly playing on at least one television. I also attempted sports in junior high and the first two years of high school. I wasn’t great at it but did find a temporary calling as an athletic trainer- still involved, a lot less coordination needed. The point is, I’ve been around sports a lot in life.

With basketball especially, as the game is winding down, many times you’ll hear the coach yell “slow it down”. The reason for this is to see what the other team’s intentions are, to be able to look at the best options and to make judgement calls that will help their team win.  

A marriage is no different. When a couple is in a deep, heated conversation, as the coach, I’ll tell them to “slow it down”. My reasoning is no different than that of a basketball coach. As the conversation escalates, heart rates get over 90 beats per minute which means one of them is completely flooded and no longer thinking rationally. If the conversation continues this way, the couple, as a team, loses.

What happens when they do as I’ve coached and they slow it down? 

It’s important to remember that conflict is caused in the first place by disconnection. At the heart of that disconnection is the assumption that their partner has anything other than good intentions or that their wellbeing isn’t being taken into consideration. It’s an assumption that paints their partner in a negative light. 

When the conversation is slowed down, deep breaths are taken, maybe a break in the conversation with the intention of using the break to self-soothe and come back after each person has calmed themselves, a new perspective is offered, and assumptions are avoided. Instead of thinking that their partner is out to get them, each perspective can be heard and analyzed accordingly. Instead of criticisms and contemptuous comments being thrown or incredible amounts of defensiveness being exhibited, each person can be heard, seen, understood and compromises can be made. Like, real compromises. Not a case of “he wants this and she wants that so they end up going with his idea” kind of “compromises”. They’re each able to see that they’re a team, a unit, working together for the same goal. They’ve slowed down enough that their heart rates stay under 90 and they’re able to keep their emotions in check. 
When they’ve slowed down, they’re able to remember that the person sitting in front of them is their friend, their person, their lobster. They’re able to remember that this person is a human being with feelings and emotions, needs and wants and they’re able to treat them as such instead of being out to hurt them to feel in control. 

When you get into a discussion that is heated or starting to escalate, don’t get passive aggressive or condescending. Instead, slow it down. Come at it from a place of genuine curiosity. Ask questions like “can you elaborate on that? Help me understand… What do you mean by….?” and remember that it’s not about being right. It’s about understanding and validating. Validation does not mean you agree with them, but it does mean that they have a perspective and even though it may not be the same as yours, it is how they remember it and that needs to be taken into account. Loving them means truly listening without trying to convince them why they’re wrong and you’re right. 

Need help with the conflict in your marriage? I have 2 open spaces starting in February! Reply to this email for more info! 

Your coach,

Here’s what the world is missing…

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0
Brene Brown is an incredible author that has dedicated most of her adult life to studying shame and vulnerability. I ran across one of her quotes the other day and it’s been playing on repeat in my mind ever since. She writes “in order to empathize with someone’s experience you must be willing to believe them as they see it and not how you imagine their experience to be.” 

Wow. How often do we shame or judge others because they describe their experience differently than what we think they “should”? Calling them dramatic, over the top, a hypocondriac, or something else. The question is, have we ever been in their shoes? Ever worked three jobs to make ends meet? Ever been a single parent? Ever been in the exact same circumstances they’re in? Simply put, the answer is no. No because no two circumstances are the same for every person.

In fact, just reading this email, your experience is going to be different than someone else’s. Last week, the email went out and I had someone unsubscribe. Ok, it happens, I wasn’t meant to help that person. Not but two minutes after getting the unsubscribe notice, I had someone else reach out to me and thank me for writing the message that I did. She needed it at that time and it helped her. Same email. Completely different responses. 

Life is even more complex than reading an email. Yet we shame others or find ourselves being shamed because our circumstances are different than someone else’s perception of what they should be. 

How connected to your neighbors are you? How well do you really know your friends? How well do you really know your spouse? Not who your spouse was when you married them but your spouse now, in this moment?  We are always evolving, changing and growing but we hold onto the way people were ten, twenty, thirty years ago. 

Empathy and compassion are two of the most powerful forces in this world. They are also two that are most lacked and most sought after. Our deep human desire to be seen, heard, known and accepted is lost in the sea of other’s need to check things off the list, get through each day and prepare for the race of the next day. 

This week, I challenge you to reach out to someone you think you know and get to know them on a different level. Ask them about who they are now. What makes them tick? What are they passionate about? What experience have they gone through that you weren’t there for them when they needed you most? Be open to understanding their situation not as you believe it should be but as they experienced it. If you’re married, start there. Often times empathy is the most lacked emotion in our marriages simply because we’ve been with our partner so long that we take them for granted and see them as they used to be rather than how they are. 

The world would be a much better place if we showed the same empathy and compassion for others that we so desperately crave ourselves. 

Enjoy your week and check out the FREE challenge I am running next week in my Facebook Group!! It’s going to be powerful!!