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September 2009: Pay attention to your intention.

In difficult conversations, when we're caught up in the heat of the moment, we are often unskillful in our response and react in ways that can do damage to our relationships. Our reactions happen as a knee jerk and most of the time they don't get us the outcomes we desire. One way to improve the trajectory of these conversations is to pause and ask ourselves before responding what it is we want as an outcome from this conversation. Do we want peace, collaboration, or some other value that we cherish? Identifying our intention and keeping this in the forefront of our awareness often helps us better navigate the conversation and create a win-win for both parties.

In the following month, start paying attention to your intention in conversations. See if you can identify clearly what your intention is and then frame the conversation around that. It might be easiest for you to start with an easy conversation, one where the stakes aren’t too high. Notice what happens as a result of this practice, both for you and your partner and in the relationship space that gets created. Once you feel confident, try this practice on for size in a more challenging conversation and notice the results.