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Convictions

Lessons in Conflict

I learned a powerful lesson this week: You don’t know what your convictions are until you have to stand up for them.

This week I had to hold my line.  It was a lonely and, at times, frightening experience, but I knew I was doing what I had to do.

It made me feel sick to my stomach.  I lost my appetite and I lost sleep.  I sweat so much that I had to wear t-shirts every day to avoid staining my professional clothes.

I had to say, “I have to leave” five minutes into a meeting and walk out because it didn’t matter what they had to say.  It had nothing to do with what I needed to do.

My heart was pounding.  My face was flushed.  I was so shaken that I could barely think clearly.

But I held my line.

I learned another lesson this week about conflict: Fighting is like tug-of-war.

When people fight, it often feels like they are pulling in opposite directions, trying to force their opponent onto their side.  This week I did not have to prove that I was doing what I needed to do.  I just needed to do it.  I dropped my side of the rope and walked away.

The benefit of thinking of conflict like a tug-of-war, when you drop the metaphorical rope, you get to picture the other side falling on their ass.  It gives you something to smile about as you walk away.

Through this adventure I’ve been lucky that while I was holding my line, I had amazing friends to be my sounding board, to support me, and to hug me.  I probably could have done it without them, but they made it so much easier.

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