When I was young, my father and I fought constantly. Both of us were bullheaded, aggressive, and had no time for anyone else’s opinions.
This went on my entire childhood, and it progressively got worse and worse. About fifteen years ago, we had reached a point where we would actively avoid each other, or risk an all-out war.
One day, my dad came home with a book someone at work had given him. It was called Crucial Conversations, and he asked me if I would read it with him.
We spent the next few weeks sitting down and reading the book together, chapter by chapter. After finishing each chapter, we would sit and discuss what we had read.
Our daily battles soon turned into crucial conversations. When we would start getting heated, we would ask each other, “Why would a reasonable, rational person say what you just said?” We would lay out the facts rather than tell ourselves a story about what we thought the other had said.
After just a few months, we had gone from actively avoiding each other to having a real relationship not strained by misconceptions and hurtful words.
Today our relationship is stronger than ever, and we equally rely on each other for guidance with our day-to-day Crucial Moments.
Interestingly enough, things have come full circle, as I now work at VitalSmarts. ◼
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the storyteller and do not reflect the view of VitalSmarts.
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