INNOCENT BYSTANDERS, YOU ARE GUILTY TOO.
In my family, it used to go like this: my mom would get upset because of something one of my siblings did. My sister Lauren might go a few days without answering her phone or responding to emails, and instead of dealing with it (which would mean waiting for Lauren to call back, admitting there was an issue, and then scheduling a time to talk it over) mom would get the grapevine going. She’d call me and say, “Lauren hasn’t picked up in days, and she knows full well that dad’s not feeling well. I can’timagine what’s more important to her right now.” Then I’d call my other sister and share what I heard. “Just got off the phone with mom, dad’s sick and Lauren’s MIA again … typical her!”
Can you see what the issue is here? Nobody is dealing with the actual problem. The whole family is up in arms about Lauren’s “bad” behavior and she has no idea that she did anything wrong. In fact, she lost her phone and was at the Apple store getting a new one! It’s more than just a lapse in communication. We’re all validating a negative theory about Lauren without giving her a chance to explain.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Everyone blames the office, the co-worker, the sister, the mother, the OTHER. No one wants to take credit for the real crime – which is using gossip to get off the hook for dealing with a problem YOU don’t like.
Gossip – whether it’s coming at you or coming from you, has a toxic effect. It strips you of your power to change what you don’t like. It undermines your true, heartfelt intentions. And it damages the relationships that are most important to you.
When you listen to gossip about someone, you internalize it and keep it as a file in your brain. Every time thereafter when you see that person, you’ll think about that piece of gossip, and it will change how you feel about them, and how you treat them. It will color your judgment of them and alter your relationship dynamic. It makes your relationship a little less genuine, a little more fake.
Gossip is starting to sound more dangerous indeed!
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?
We’ve got to learn to grow a pair, and have what we call a hard conversation. I know, it sounds scary, but it’s not impossible. It’s immediately effective, and it gets easier to do with practice. We’ve come up with a Difficult Conversations Checklist that you can literally read point by point during any difficult conversation – with nearly miraculous results.
How do I know? Because I’ve used it to coach thousands of executives, and I’ve never once gotten anyone fired. I’ve taught these steps to organizations, families, and couples, and have seen it work on every level. And I use it myself – even with my own mom!
If you want to show up in your relationships – in your LIFE – in a radically authentic way, you can start by changing your relationship to gossip. Instead of avoiding, manipulating, gathering evidence, lying, and blaming – you can address problems head on and take responsibility for fixing them. Essentially, it’s practicing the art of being true to yourself.
And when you practice that enough, and LIVE by it, you’ll be able to move mountains, make magic, and create the better world you want to live in.
PS – If you’re ready to affect changes like this across all areas of your life, register for our 12-week Design Your Life Tele-Course and start consciously designing the life of your dreams, as the best version of yourself. You can expect challenges, epiphanies, and profound permanent shifts that will rock your world from the ground up. Schedule a 30 Min Consultation and get a feel for how The Handel Method® could benefit you.