I attended a training last week with a few other co-workers entitled Fierce Conversations. The main inspiration for this curriculum: "While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life - any single conversation can." This is HUGE. Just think about the conversations in your life that may have changed your trajectory - like when your husband or wife proposed; or when you announced you were having a baby (or adopting one); or that one encouraging conversation you had with someone you love and respect that gave the nudge you needed to start a new venture or take that big leap of faith. The training was very enlightening but at the same time, very convicting. It reminded me of all the ideas and great intentions to focus on people and relationships and having the right conversations this year - and how I have already allowed myself to get caught up in life's craziness and forget this goal. It was a reminder that the only two things that last forever are God and people. Although we may think our jobs or lives are really complex and difficult, with an endless amount of "to do's", at the end of the day, it's all about relationships. God put us on this earth for people. No matter what your profession or calling is, it‚Äôs all about relationships. One of the key foundations in Fierce Conversations is that conversation IS the relationship. When the conversation stops, so does the relationship. The power of our words can bring either life or death into our relationships. The right words and the right conversations can - and will - change outcomes for better or for worse.
Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:20-21 (NLT) The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 (NIV)Fierce is defined as "powerful or with heartfelt intensity." I would describe Addi Grace, our almost 4-year-old, as fierce (also, dinosaur-like!) Maybe we should all step back and take a few lessons from our kids in how to be fierce. When she wants something, she lets you know with intensity and there really is no questioning what she is trying to say. She does not beat around the bush or care about any elephants in the room. She is powerful and direct. She puts emotion into her conversations. She doesn‚Äôt give up when she wants something. She keeps asking. Now, sometimes, it involves growling or sounds like a broken record, like, ‚ÄúMommy, mommy, mommy, excuse me, mommy, mommy, mommy, I have to tell you something,‚Äù all just to get my attention and tell me a made-up story... Nonetheless, it‚Äôs important to not just talk - but to have planned, intentional conversations with intensity - if we want to move forward in our goals and in our lives. A fierce conversation is defined as one "in which we come out from behind ourselves, into the conversation, and make it real." What's an indicator that you are having fierce conversations? If you are enriching a relationship. You should always leave a fierce conversation with a resolution and plan to move forward in a positive way. Everyone is better and stronger for it. You shouldn‚Äôt leave the same as when you came in. These are the kinds of conversations we need to be having more of.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.‚Äù Ephesians 4:29, NIVIn fierce conversations, we are also encouraged to master the courage to interrogate reality. Great leaders seek the truth. You can‚Äôt have a fierce conversation without having a clear goal in mind and without being willing to ask the tough questions - and keep asking them - until you get some solutions. One of my co-attendees expressed the need for a reminder in the office to be brave. Thanks to the Bible and worship music, I had just the encouragement we needed and quickly put together a graphic for her office, also sending her the link to two songs to play on repeat: Oceans and You Make Me Brave!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1Lord, help us all to be brave. Give us the courage to ask questions and seek the truth in love. Encourage us to make time for people and to make sure we are having intentional, fierce conversations so we can all keep moving forward and running the race. Don‚Äôt allow Satan to clutter our minds with business and fear.
Psalm 19:14 (ESV) ‚ÄúLet the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.‚ÄùClick here to learn more about Fierce Conversations.