Many of us are one awkward conversation away from our dream life. I heard this said by a guy I would call my American equivalent. He talks a lot about the place of nothingness that our 40s have thrown us into. He has a great podcast that’s worth listening to. I also like the title of what he does. Normal 40. com. Check him out on LinkedIn @Lon Stroschein. He’s a dude to follow, as he refers to himself.

The fourth floor has been anything but normal yet Lon makes us feel that it’s kawaida because almost everyone goes through this midlife crisis. I prefer calling it a midlife awakening. Because when I look back I see a lot of lights that came on under the matope of anxiety and confusion. It is like when we improve our eyesight while in the fog, we see much further and clearer when the fog clears.

I’m an extrovert yet I have grown up averse to confrontation. I will try and make my point heard but will walk away sooner than later if I’m not making progress. It’s not necessarily a good thing because I have on numerous occasions walked away with stuff I should have shed. Sometimes I rehearse the conversation I will have with someone but when the time comes I choke and ramble on. I hate it. I even read a book on vulnerability and another titled – The 5-second rule by Mel Robbins to fix this problem. She advises we count to five and after that short countdown, we act on the issue at hand. Not a second later for if we stall we will freeze.

That formula helps us not overprocess a matter until we kill it. Analysis leads to paralysis. Yet to those who are not major investors in our lives, we talk with relative ease. This is a private struggle that I continue to have even with my baby sharks sometimes. I have often confused them when reprimanding them using many words. Why? I don’t know. But we can’t give up improving our communication for our destiny depends on it. Awkward conversations have a higher chance of success when shortened. That’s my goal. To be brief and clear.

I admire folks who speak with confidence, are articulate, and remain calm and assured even in the heat of an intense conversation. Some conversations have to be had if we are going to move ahead in life. When they remain unspoken they are like a police roadblock that stops us from getting to our destination. We have to remove the elephant in the room if we are to enjoy living in the house.

So why are these chats so difficult to have? I long for the day I will say it as it is, to whom it concerns, and with the confidence and urgency that is required. Of course, some wisdom is still required here for the truth without love is cruelty. I’m of the view that the quality of a relationship is determined by the quantity of awkward conversations it can handle.

I feel our upbringing, including our education system has something to do with it. The majority of my primary and high school teachers were to be heard and obeyed only. Questioning them was not taken as confidence in the child as I see at my baby sharks school. On the contrary, speaking one’s mind only led to a summon to the headmaster’s office or the staff room which to a small kid felt like judgment day. Somehow we turned out ok. But did we? Maybe not when we look under the hood.

And that may be showing up in our difficulty in handling awkwardness. Confronting people or being confronted is so uncomfortable that most of us prefer to duck. We’d rather live with the discomfort than speak our truth. That qualifies as a lifestyle disease I believe. We have to find a way of standing on our rickety knees and stammering our deep convictions. That is the only way we will be understood even as we seek to understand others.

I bet we all have a pending or overdue awkward conversation. Can we commit to having it soon? Maybe start by giving yourself a deadline then if need be, write it down and rehearse it. Speak it out loud to yourself and imagine yourself speaking to the target person. Hopefully, that will make you more eloquent and confident. A thing I try is to keep it as short and simple as possible. The longer I talk the more confused and tense I become and just like that, I lose the plot and even confuse my listener.

But we can’t give up. Living without expressing ourselves is like being in jail with no release date. Do what you must folks but please show up and have those necessary awkward conversations. If they are too ngumu to have face-to-face then have them In writing. My daughter does that and we hear her. A pal once told me that we are more honest when we write than speak. And practice just like everything else will make them easier to have. Don’t be silent. We need to hear you and you need to hear yourself too. Speak up and thank me (and Lon) later.

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4 thoughts on “Awkward Conversations.”

  1. Mike Eldon says:

    Excellent reflections, Luca

  2. david says:

    “That’s my goal. To be brief and clear.” Mine too. And yes, to have those awkward conversations in a timely fashion. Thank you Lucas for telling is as it is.

  3. Angie says:

    Hey Lucas you have definitely hit a nerve with this one!

  4. Bonny says:

    I agree on the bit about education system and upbringing…but I believe our children have helped us overcome some of these challenges coupled with all the reading and coaching( like you do…)
    True lets get those awkward conversations out of the way so we can walk ” lightly” on our heels..
    Thanks for this Lucas

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