When coaching clients and leaders, I’ve witnessed the uncertainty they experience when having to confront uncomfortable situations that involve others. Uncomfortable situations: unresolved conditions between two or more people, causing emotional discomfort. The struggle is anchored in the basic human need to belong, juxtaposed against the need for authentic self-expression. “I feel the need to share my thoughts … but I don’t want to overstep a boundary.” Unresolved discomfort rarely dissipates without conscious intent to bring closure. Left unchecked it will build; eventually erupting and causing collateral damage that could have been avoided if promptly addressed. Learning to focus on patterns is a viable alternative.
Focusing On Patterns
Focusing on patterns is an approach to identify the situations that matter most. We are imperfect humans that don’t always present our best self to others creating uncomfortable situations. Yet, not every uncomfortable or challenging situation is worthy of effort and attention. Sometimes “being right” should take a back seat to maintaining harmony. Being authentic isn’t a license to be annoying and there is real danger you’ll be labelled as a “right fighter” if you always carry the touch of unwelcome righteousness. Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern! Focusing on patterns brings focus to the uncomfortable situations that matter most. This approach supports authentic self-expression while avoiding the “right fighter” label. It’s the big rock solution that eliminates the need to count every pebble.
Be Compassionate With Yourself
Have you ever berated yourself with negative self-talk because of a single mistake from the past? Turn compassion inward by asking yourself “Was it a mistake, a coincidence, or a pattern?” If you’ve been learning as you go there is a good chance you could be dwelling on mistakes instead of celebrating a valuable life lesson. What would be different if you were able to “bless it and release it”?