Conflict cannot survive without your participation
In November, I am heading out to Namibia to run a colour retreat and one of the key themes we will be looking at is how to increase your authority. To understand what that is we need to have an agreed definition of authority. It comes when you have the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behaviour. In this article, I explore why that can be difficult and how to address it based on my experience with working with leaders who lacked authority.
It’s an inside job
If you do not feel a sense of power within then it is going to be very difficult to impossible to influence another. I have often seen women struggle to make a success of their business. It has nothing to do with the products or services and everything to do with the degree to which they exude authority. One of the challenges is that there are many who prey on this and suggest that the way through these challenges is to become an expert by gaining an accredited qualification. I have lost count of the number of people who have pursued this line of thought and have become highly qualified coaches and facilitators and are still struggling in business. Authority does not come from increased knowledge – this is a myth often sold by the unscrupulous.
Lack of authority is multi-faceted
Another element I have observed in my clients who lack authority is that they often also loathe conflict and will do almost anything to avoid it. This can lead to devastating consequences.
Recently a client of mine ended up in a very difficult financial position because they were reluctant to tackle the issue with their partner. The shame they felt was greater than the discomfort from being an ostrich and putting their head in the sand in the hope the difficulty would go away.
Often what is present in the etheric body is fear which can be paralysing and appear more real than the situation the individual is facing. More than that there can be a complex mix of emotions that need disentangling before you have clarity of thought on how to proceed. Let me share an example of something that happened in my own life recently so you can get more of a sense of what I mean.
Recently one of my daughters asked me for money to pay for a birthday lunch with friends. Although we give her an allowance I knew that this was an exceptional situation and so agreed and gave her more than she expected. About a week later I noticed that on the same day my husband had transferred the same amount of money to her. When I asked him about it he could not recall what it was for AND more importantly he could not see why I was so concerned about it. For him, it was a small amount that was not worth worrying about.
That was my first challenge: how to explain to him it was not about the amount rather it was the principle. If she had been paid by both of us having told me that she was uncomfortable going to him to ask for money then that was deceitful and sat outside my moral code. I tried and was unsuccessful in convincing him. This gave me pause for thought: perhaps I was wrong; maybe it was no big deal.
Step one: find a sounding board
Whether you meditate or have a trusted friend, it’s worth reflecting on these kinds of situations. I shared it with a friend who knows both of us and his response was that if my concerns were true then what had happened was deceitful and that was a trust issue. It reassured me that I had been right to feel a degree of concern.
Step two: tackle difficult conversations when both parties are calm
What I am glad about is that I did not take this up with my daughter when I found out about it initially. I was already heated myself so we would not have had a helpful discussion and it was late at night. Timing is everything that is part of what my husband tried to get across to me and so I am glad I heeded that part. And when I did have the conversation although the outcome was not what I expected. One thing I remain pleased about was how calm we both were navigating a very tricky situation.
Step three: have a clear strategy on how to address the issue
When I reflected further on my daughter, I was aware that she responds well to responsibility and being an advocate for others, especially those that are younger than her. I asked her how she would handle the situation if her cousin who is nine and with whom she has a special relationship, had gotten a sum of money from her and her Mum.
Step 4: where possible use clean language
I really thought about the words I was using to ensure there were no emotive words in my scene-setting scenario so I was less likely to trigger her. I stuck to the facts and then asked her how she would deal with it.
After she shared a response, I revealed what I had discovered and how it had made me feel. What I did not expect was to find out that it was not what I thought.
What would I do differently?
As I reflected on the whole scenario afterwards. I was reminded of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, one of which is never make assumptions. Here is an example of where I had made an assumption before checking the facts. If there’s one thing I would do differently next time the two of us have to have a difficult conversation, it would be to ask her a question like what was the £20 Dad gave you for?
I hope that is helpful and gives you some ideas on how to navigate your own difficult conversations going forwards. There was no conflict as the two of us navigated our way through the conversation. This was largely because I had already released and processed my own difficult emotions around disappointment at what had happened. That allowed me to come from a neutral space. And when we explored the situation it turned out that there was a perfectly innocent reason for the transfer of that money. Money does such a good job at revealing aspects of our shadow that need healing.
And as we conclude I hope that gives you a glimpse in how to access authority and the importance of clearing any shadow emotions before having a difficult conversation. This will allow you to come from a neutral space and to have much more influence in the situation. If you give it a try then do let me know how you get on.