When Things FAIL: Recognizing and Dealing with Challenges (Part 2 of 2)

This 2-post series is taken from my contribution to:

Rooted in Grace: Essays on Dialog Without Division (amazon link)



Often, our optimism (and productive conversation) breaks down because of FAILs: False narratives, Assumptions, Interpretations, and Limiting beliefs. These inner blocks are so effective because they tend to sneak into our thinking without us ever noticing. However, if we are intentional about cultivating self and other-awareness, we can become more attuned to the presence of FAILs…which allows us to address and overcome their influence. Here is a brief description of each and some tips (drawn from a coaching approach) for dealing with them.

False Narratives

The voice in our head, our inner critic, “gremlin,” or stories we tell ourselves that in one way or another communicate that “I’m not good enough” (smart enough, talented enough, supported enough, etc.) These are typically most evident in our deepest insecurities, but are also present in many of our more mundane experiences as well.

How to respond when you notice your false narratives:

  • Draw them out into the open. Name the narrator if necessary. This can help you, or your conversation partner, recognize that the narrative, though part of you/them, is not your/their whole identity.
  • Explore why that narrative is false. (Our minds are used to looking for evidence to prove the false narrative, try giving it a chance to find evidence to the contrary.)
  • Create an if/then response to replace false narrative with a true narrative. “If I hear the narrative saying X, I will remind myself that Y.”

Assumptions

An expectation that because something has happened in the past, it will happen again. Assumptions operate as though the conclusion is already determined before there is sufficient data.

How to challenge assumptions:

  • Begin by recognizing assumptions for what they are, question them, and either set them aside or consciously choose to let them go in order to take positive action.
  • Primary question, “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again?”
  • What makes it more or less likely to happen the same way?
    • It is important to ask about both more and less. Asking one or the other can limit thinking to that one direction.[1]
  • What would make it more or less likely to happen a different way?
  • What can we/you control in this scenario?
  • What can we/you release in this scenario?

Interpretations

An opinion or judgement we create about an event, situation, person, or experience that we believe to be true. In some ways, this is the opposite of an assumption. Rather than deciding we know how something will turn out before it happens, interpretations claim to know the “why” behind something that has already happened. Interpretations ascribe motive and meaning.

How to challenge interpretations:

  • Recognizing that there are other ways to look at something (and exploring / identifying what those might be) can lessen the power of an interpretation.
  • We can begin by simply asking, “What is another way to look at that?”
  • What would someone else (friend, spouse, etc.) say about that?
  • What would someone with the completely opposite point of view say about the situation?
  • What might have led me to say or do the same thing?
    • This question is particularly powerful because we often fall into the trap of assuming the worst about others’ intentions, while expecting others to give us the benefit of the doubt regarding our own (this is known as the “fundamental attribution error”). This question allows us to flip the script: “If I had said or done this thing, what are the less sinister explanations I would want others to consider before assuming the worst?

Limiting Beliefs

Something you accept about life, yourself, your world, or other people that limits you in some way. Limiting beliefs are often statements that come from the anonymous “they” (“They say…” or “Everybody knows…”), or when something is stated with little or no evidence to support it; it’s just an accepted fact. Stereotypes are some of the most obvious examples of limiting beliefs. The more insidious and entrenched forms are often tied to social/cultural expectations (“this is how we do things around here”), and the self-fulfilling prophecies of labels (“I am an Enneagram 8, so obviously I…”).

How to challenge limiting beliefs:

  • Ask, “How true is that, really?”
  • Why is that true?
    • NOTE: “Why” questions can be risky. Since “why” points to motive, it is often perceived as confrontational and can cause defensiveness. However, in a situation where someone is weighed down by limiting beliefs – especially if this creates a sense of powerlessness or a victim response – the confrontational nature might help someone move from passive victim to active agent. In the context of a difficult or emotionally-charged conversation, “how” is often a better option.
  • Where does that idea come from?
  • How has this belief affected you?
  • What would be different if you were able to let that belief go?
  • How can you let go of that belief?
  • How can you put that into action, immediately?

If we hope to engage in healthy, productive conversation around difficult topics, it is essential that we begin by looking inside. What are we feeling? What do we want, hope, fear, anticipate? From there we can look for shared meaning and shared purpose with our conversation partners. We can, through imagination or through listening, put ourselves in their position and consider what we might be feeling if we were sitting where they sit. If we can maintain this posture of curiosity, rather than giving way to FAILs, we can explore what is said and experienced with a belief that a way forward is possible. We can ask questions that are intended to elicit insight and create possibility, rather than manipulate or coerce toward our predetermined outcomes.

We can find a way forward together. It is rarely easy, but it is possible. If we don’t believe that, then…well, again, why bother?


[1] For more on this idea, see: Robert Cialdini, Presuasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.


If you found these posts helpful, check out this article written in 2018 after I was interviewed by Six Seconds, Emotional Intelligence Network (6seconds.org):

another argument pic

But You’re Wrong: 5 Ways Not to Talk About Political Differences – and What To Do Instead



233 Replies to “When Things FAIL: Recognizing and Dealing with Challenges (Part 2 of 2)”

  1. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way
    of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two
    images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with useful information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire neighborhood might be
    thankful to you.

  3. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble
    with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and
    I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no
    data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  4. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do
    you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A couple of my blog audience have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

  5. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a
    new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a
    outstanding job!

  6. Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Magnificent. I’m also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your effort. Korrie Pattin Bevus

  7. Ich habe hier einige ausgezeichnete Sachen gelesen. Auf jeden Fall Preis Lesezeichen für einen erneuten Besuch. Ich frage mich, wie viele Versuche Sie unternehmen, um eine so hervorragende informative Website zu erstellen. Shaine See Accalia

  8. I really love your site.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back
    as I’m wanting to create my very own site and would
    like to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named.

    Appreciate it!

  9. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding
    job!

  10. Good day I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Yahoo for
    something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thank you
    for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
    a great deal more, Please do keep up the great work.

  11. I’ve been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made
    good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever
    before.

  12. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has helped me out
    loads. I hope to contribute & help different users like its aided me.
    Great job.

  13. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole
    thing. Do you have any suggestions for inexperienced blog writers?

    I’d certainly appreciate it.

  14. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you
    design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it
    for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.

    cheers

  15. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter
    updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and
    was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy
    reading your blog and I look forward to your new
    updates.

  16. Hi there I am so delighted I found your blog page, I really
    found you by mistake, while I was searching on Aol for something
    else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a remarkable post and a
    all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have
    book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the excellent b.

  17. I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information. Your article has really peaked my
    interest. I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once
    a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  18. You really make it appear so easy with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really something that I
    feel I’d never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very wide for me.
    I am having a look forward to your next put up, I will try
    to get the dangle of it!

  19. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to
    come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Superb work!

  20. You could definitely see your expertise within the article you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe.
    At all times follow your heart.

  21. Fantastic blog you have here but I was wanting to
    know if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get comments from other
    experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations,
    please let me know. Many thanks!

  22. First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick
    question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your
    thoughts prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are
    usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Cheers!

  23. Just to follow up on the up-date of this theme on your site and want to let you know how much I liked the time you took to create this useful post. Within the post, you actually spoke on how to really handle this issue with all comfort. It would be my own pleasure to collect some more ideas from your site and come up to offer people what I have learned from you. Many thanks for your usual excellent effort. cbd oil buy online cbd oil

  24. We’rе writing to invite bretwells.ⅽom tto sign ᥙp
    with AllVapeBrands.ϲom

    AllVapeBrands.com iss the prominent consumer vape market plɑce wherе you will find thee premier vape gear ѕuch aѕ vape mods,
    vape tanks and coils and vape juices from thee tߋp vape labels including Cream Team, LIQUA eLiquids ɑnd Platinum Series ƅy Simpoly Vapour and
    vape ojtlets such as Тhe Eliquid Boutique.

    AllVapeBrands.com was ߋpened ѡith the ambition oof bringing all
    the Ƅeѕt vape shops, vape devices and e-liquid companies inn ɑ
    centrlised platform whee ᥙsers can pick and choose Ьetween assorted brands
    and retailers.

    Ηow iit Works – For Vendors

    Simply register ɑnd wait f᧐r your shop tо get approved.

    Օnce you аre authorized, you cаn bеgin to
    liist еνery one ⲟf your vape goods.

    Waiit fоr us to approve уouг products.

    Once yoսr shop іs active, yߋu will have the capacity to receive orders from clients.
    Υou ѡill lso be ɑble to get messages directly vіa your
    internal vape shop pаge.

    You have outright control oѵer уour poduct listings.
    Еither уoᥙ ccan ѕend customers straight to your vape store οr you can choose fоr
    the orders to ցo throygh օur company. We ԝill tһen pay yοu ɑll
    tһe generate revenue leѕs transaction charges annd оur fee.

    Ꮤhy Choose Us – Ϝor Vendors

    Begin Selling Instantly: we havbe done all thе leg wߋrk by establishing аnd optimizing oᥙr vape marketplace.
    Aⅼl you havе to ɗо is sign up annd beɡin tto list yοur vape
    products. Once уoսr products aree live,
    they wiⅼl start getting viewss feom the ɡet-go.

    Budgett friendly: yߋu doo not neеd to buy ɑ domain name,
    website hosting ߋr Search Engine Optimisation аnd adverttising campaigns.
    Wе һave done this alⅼ fօr y᧐u. All yyou have
    to ⅾo is register, get authorized bby սs and Ƅegin to list your products.

    Why Choose Us – For Buyers

    Comprehensive Selection аnd Low Prices: Aѕ а vaper, yoᥙ
    ill hɑve thе ability too purchase thousands ⲟf popular e-juice and vape mod
    labels fom authenticated vendors аnd vape shops frоm
    all over the w᧐rld directly on oսr site.

    Low Cost: Find the absolute beѕt bargains fгom reputable vape shops and e-liquid brand names.

    Mylah

    Αll Vape Brands – E-Juice Marketplace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *