“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
If you want to be authentic, to live by your values without fail, then you must expect confrontation.
The only alternative is to be completely alone, living like a hermit in a damp isolated shelter that you’ve constructed out of twigs, garbage bags and crudely cut pieces of corrugated iron. Because everyone has a different perspective on the world, which means your beliefs will come into confrontation with others.
Or, more likely, living by your values will trigger negative feelings in some others, because it highlights their lack of authenticity. They will not want to face this, and will lash out to hide their shame.
Confrontation is how you maintain your boundaries. If you want your values to be respected, and for your frame to be accepted, then you will need to maintain your boundaries. This is achieved through stepping bravely into confrontation.
CONFRONTATION VS CONFLICT
For the sake of this article, I’ve taken liberty with the definition of words. When I say conflict, I mean an emotional, irrational disagreement between two or more people. And when I say confrontation, I mean maintaining your boundaries.
Confrontation is neither pushing nor caving in. Confrontation is about maintaining, neither being aggressive nor submissive. Think of a value-based boundary as being the walls to your frame (your perspective on what is right). They cannot move out or in. They just maintain and resist against attack. You are staying in your world and not buying into their world.
You do not “defend” yourself in a confrontation, because that gives evidence to the challenge, it says that you need to be defended. You do not require anyone’s permission to live by your values. There is nothing to defend.
But you don’t want to be pushed around either, so this is about resistance rather than defence. Think of being a “neutral force”. They simply cannot game you because you refuse to play… you don’t even acknowledge that there is any game to play.
This is an excerpt from the Confident Mindset Inner Circle episode on CONFRONTATIONS. If you’d like to hear the full episode, you can download the full series here – for free (worth $97)!
A “conflict” is two or more people having an emotional loss of control during a disagreement. If you can maintain your emotions, then there will never be a conflict. You will simply be there to witness the other person’s mental breakdown.
This is NOT the same as suppressing emotion or pretending to be unaffected.
This is about being completely open and honest. It’s about never allowing unhelpful emotions to build up and fester. People hide emotions due to shame; so confrontation must be shameless. You can feel fear, and be afraid to reveal how you feel, but through revealing you remove shame.
Let go of the need to win.
Try being fair and curious. Instead of trying to win, you try to understand the other person. They are attacking your values, so therefore there is something mentally wrong with them. You can care for them through their ordeal. They are a child having a tantrum, nothing more complicated than that. Poor little baby!
You don’t get emotional because the whole thing has actually nothing to do with you. The other person is upset.
B.E.I.D MODEL AND MAINTAINING YOUR FRAME
When delivering feedback, follow the BEID model as described here:
Maintaining your frame is all about reversing the challenge. When someone challenges your boundaries, you don’t prove yourself, you make them prove themselves.
Imagine that they have a good reason for their behaviour (in their mind). Use curiosity to explore their reasoning and explanation. Let them prove their frame rather than defend yours.
10 SECONDS OF BLIND COURAGE
Starting a confrontation is scary, because it triggers ancient social fears that we have genetically wired into our brain.
We are worried of being kicked out of the tribe and starving to death. This fear is no longer rational but we still feel it. We call it “worried about getting fired” or “worried about getting dumped”, to justify it to ourselves.
This fear is hardwired into your DNA, and it’s the main reason that we let others trample on us. We say to ourselves “it’s not worth the hassle” and “if it happens again, then I’ll say something”. This is a lie our fear tells us, and it always leads to more pain in the future.
Starting a confrontation doesn’t have to be pretty or smooth, it rarely goes to plan, so let go of a perfect outcome. Just get it done. Face the person, get their attention, and say “Hey, I need to talk to you about something”. Just give yourself 10 seconds of blind courage.
Then get what you have to say OUT, no matter how much you stutter or feel nervous.
Your first one will be the hardest. Get through that and you can confront anyone. Do it TODAY.