Step 3 – Seek Understanding NOT Victory

When you get in a conflict with someone, do you find yourself trying to win a battle? Or trying to understand?

If you’re like most of us, you’re trying to win a battle. I have to fight that all the time. Especially with my wife of 47 years. I tend to want to win, and that’s so unhealthy. So step number 3 in dealing with and resolving conflict is to seek understanding not victory. The real victory is when we understand one another and can respond to one another the right way.

This young couple are looking at each other and talking; they’re seeking to understand, not just be victorious. To do that you need to learn to listen. How?

  • Concentrate on what the other is saying.
  • Try to understand at a deep level.

We all want to be heard and listened to. Perhaps you’ve heard this statement: People will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care.  

I remember some years ago, my wife was on the board of a non-profit organization. She came home from a conference with some questions about her role and said, “Can we go out to lunch and talk about it?” So we did and she started asking me questions right away. As America’s Life Coach I started to answer the questions—-that’s what I do—-and she leaned over and patted me on the hand and said, “Honey, don’t answer my questions.” And I thought, “Well, why in the world are you asking me questions if you don’t want me to answer them?”

I didn’t say anything but I knew what she meant. She was saying “I don’t want you to try to fix me.” (By the way, it’s never a good idea to try to fix people.) She said, “I want you to listen to what I’m thinking. I just want to process out loud and I want your love. I don’t want your counsel right now.” So for the next hour and a half, I listened. I made no declarative statements. I asked a couple of clarifying questions to help me understand. I made no statements of fact, though I wanted to!

When we got done, she took my hand and said, “Honey, honey, honey, thank you so much! This is the best discussion we’ve ever had.” Then she leaned across the table and gave me a big kiss. And I thought, “Discussion? Did we have a discussion?” But I got the point. She wanted to be heard, she didn’t need feedback at that point. She didn’t want to be fixed. She just wanted to think out loud and be understood.

That’s why we listen. The truth is that most conflicts are not about the state of issues, they’re about how people are feeling.

So when you’re listening

  • Listen to how people feel.
  • Try to empathize with them.
  • Remember the goal is understanding, not winning.

God gave us two ears and one mouth. That tells us how much time we should spend listening compared to speaking. So put that to work.

Please share your comments, questions and insights below. And, if this is helpful for you, please pass it on to your friends and family via email or social media.

Step 2 – Address your Anger Properly – Respond DON’T React


Once you’re able to embrace the idea that conflict is common and can be resolved, set your mind to address your anger properly. That’s the second major step. So how do you address your anger?

Some people think anger is bad. I want you to know anger is not bad in and of itself. In fact, even the Bible assumes that anger is a reality of life in words like these:

  • Be angry but don’t sin.
  • Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.

Anger is an emotion that identifies danger in your life. Your job is to learn.

  • How to respond to it
  • How not to react to it

Let me give you an example.

I’m driving along in my car on a freeway and someone pulls right out in front of me and cuts me off. So what am I feeling all of a sudden? I’m feeling angry. I mean it’s not like I would say to the guy, “Thank you very much. I appreciate that.”

No, instead what do I do? I react to it! It’s my natural inclination. Frankly—-I want to ram that car, which would be stupid.  I want to I want to yell at the driver like this fellow. I want to speed by and let theknow that I see their license plate number and I’m going to call the cops. Some people go to the extreme with road rage and actually get in fights, and even kill people over that kind of thing. Well, that’s the inappropriate response to anger. That’s reacting to anger. 

What should I let that anger tell me? Anger is a signal.  

I believe it’s a God-given signal that says, “Hey Ron! Step on the brakes, swerve to get out of the way, pull over and then move forward.” But don’t be hacked off at that driver. You don’t know what they’re going through. Maybe they were in a rush, or maybe there’s a tragedy in their life, or maybe they weren’t paying attention. You’re guilty of all those things at times, so cut them some slack, be gracious,and do the right thing. That’s responding to anger.

Remember this:

Anger isn’t bad. Learn to address it by responding not reacting. How?

  • Respond with your head and make a decision.
  • Develop a habit around right decisions on how to deal with anger.
  • Don’t react emotionally.
  • Don’t let your emotions or fear drive you to say things you shouldn’t say, do things you shouldn’t do, think things you shouldn’t think.
  • Commit to never inappropriately expressing your anger

Great things will happen when you get a handle on your anger and address it properly!

Please share your comments, questions and insights below. Finally, if this is helpful for you, please pass it on to your friends and family via email or social media.

Step 1 – Embrace and Resolve Conflict


So when you’re involved in a conflict how do you respond? Do you practice flight, or fight? 

These are the two extremes I see—fight, that involves yelling, being angry, being upset, being verbally abusive and sometimes even being physically abusive or emotionally and mentally even spiritually abusive. That’s very unhealthy. But there’s another extreme that’s just as unhealthy. Flight—those are people who say, hey I don’t want anything to do with conflict, I hate conflict so I’m going to run away from it. I’m going to not deal with it the right way. I’m going to react to it not respond to it. I’m going to bury myself. I’m going to anesthetize myself with some drugs or alcohol or entertainment or just quietness. I’m just going to do something to get away from the conflict.

Here’s what I want you to know: both of those are unhealthy responses, and I want to show you how to respond rightly. But I do want you know this, conflict isn’t bad. Conflict is simply a reality of life. Conflict is just two people disagreeing. There’s a difference of opinion that can be freighted with emotion and reaction and all sorts of hurt. Conflict isn’t bad; in fact, you’re going to have a lot of conflict in your life. So become a pro and learn not to practice fight, not to practice flight. Learn to deal with it the right way.

Step number one is learn to embrace and resolve conflict. Embrace it, don’t run away from it, and then resolve it, but resolve it the right way.

Please share your comments, questions and insights below. Finally, if this is helpful for you, please pass it on to your friends and family via email or social media.

I’m looking forward to our journey together as you become a pro at resolving conflicts and maintaining harmonious and close relationships.

12 Steps to Resolving Conflicts – Introduction


Do you have anyone in your life who absolutely drives you nuts? I mean they just drive you crazy? Perhaps you’re constantly struggling in the relationship. It could be a spouse, could be a child, it could be a parent, a co-worker, a friend. They just drive you nuts, and you’re constantly in conflict that you can’t resolve.

I want to talk to you about how to deal with conflict and introduce you to the 12 Steps to Resolving Conflicts. This is basically a process of dealing with conflict that I have found works well all over the world.

I want to begin by asking you two key questions:

  1. When conflict happened in your family growing up how did your family deal with it? Did people run away from it, did they get aggressive or assertive? Did they bury it? Did they react to it?
  2. How has your family experience affected the way you deal with conflict today in your personal and in your professional life? So often we either become a product of the way conflict was handled in our life growing up, because that’s how we learned it, or we react and go to another extreme. So if people were aggressive and offensive and even abusive in your family you may have reflected that aggression, or gone the other way and become passive, hidden any conflicts, or held them down.

The other thing I want you to think about as we begin this journey is the fact that conflicts are reality.

Picture some conflict that you have right now and think about it.

  • What is the impact of that conflict?
  • How do you react to that conflict?
  • What do you think you do well?
  • What don’t you do well?

As we go through this series I’m going to coach you how to deal with conflict, and I’m going to give you 12 steps on how to resolve it.

So begin to think about this, realizing that conflict is part of life. But if you are constantly struggling with people remember this as well, that whenever you have unresolved conflict, it leads to isolation. It’s like bricks in a wall. Each unresolved conflict is a brick, and each brick builds upon another until ultimately there’s this huge wall between you, and you end up isolated from your family, friends, and coworkers.

And you know what? There’s only one way to tear that wall down, one brick at a time. So I want to give you 12 steps you can use to resolve conflicts in the days to come.

Now for those of you who are faith-based people I want you to know that much of the wisdom I present here is built on key scriptures—Matthew 5:23-24, Galatians 6:1-2, Matthew 18:15-17.

These are the best passages I’ve discovered in all the literature. They deal with three types of conflict:

  1. Matthew 5:23-24 – the conflict where I realize that I’ve offended someone and I need to take the initiative as the offender to resolve it.
  2. Galatians 6:1-2 – this is where I see others who are having problems, and though I’m not the instigator of it but rather an onlooker I should restore that person and help them resolve their issues in a spirit of gentleness.
  3. Matthew 18:15-17 – here it says if someone has offended you, then you take the steps that are spelled out in this passage to resolve the conflict. In this case you feel like you’re the offendee.

So, you see that these principles of conflict resolution are reflective of, and apply to, whether you’re the offender, the offended, or even an onlooker. We’re going to learn about these different roles here in the days to come. Stay tuned.

Now, write down the answer to the questions I posed above and, especially, identify one of your conflicts and how you are handling this now. Let this become the person you keep in your mind as we work our way through these 12 steps.

And, please share your comments, questions and insights below. Finally, if this is helpful for you, please pass it on to your friends and family via email or social media.

I’m looking forward to our journey together as you become a pro at resolving conflicts and maintaining harmonious and close relationships.

One Word that Will Change Your Life Forever

If you had just one word for this year that could change your life what would it be?

Take a minute and think about this. Watch the video and then write down that one word that you would like to most reflect your life this year. So far, we’ve had words like happy, bold, courageous, kind, engaged, hopeful, listening, disciplined, intentional to name just a few.

My friends from around the world are joining me in this adventure. I invite you to join us. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Identify the word and write it down.
  2. Go to my Facebook Fan Page and “like” it. Then join our discussion there around the One Word feed.
  3. Keep an eye for updates on my blog and Facebook page where we’ll share together insights on how to maximize internalizing and utilizing our One Word this year in such a way that it DOES CHANGE OUR LIFE.

The journey begins.

1 WORD that can change your life!

Do you set goals for the New Year? Do you achieve them? OUCH.

I set goals every year (17 last year because I incorporate all 7 vital areas of my life – faith, fitness, family, friends, finances, firm and fun). But, having just evaluated my goals for 2014 I found that I hit some part way, fully reached other and missed some too.

The reality is that 50% of people fail on their yearly goals by the end of January and also 90% fail during the year.

So why is this? Well, I believe that many including me try to do too much and often too fast. So this year I am focusing on 1 WORD. That’s it. Oh, I’ll still have goals but I will focus on that 1 WORD.

In this video I’m going to sharing my 1 WORD challenge with you and I would like to invite you to write in your word in the comments area below.

Then, in the days to come I will give you more tools on how to live out that 1 WORD here in my blog.

Let’s see if we can see measurable and meaningful life change this year by focusing on that 1 attribute we would like to best reflect our lives this next year.

So, what is YOUR 1 WORD?