I want my coffee in my hands before 7:45 AM so I can get to work on time, but the line is long at Starbucks.
I want my team to gel around our strategic vision but they keep asking questions and don’t seem to feel confident about their roles.
I want recognition for my hard work on the project but my client points out a mistake.
I want cheap gas but the prices keep going up.
Conflict, at the most basic level, is a difference between what I want and what I am currently getting.
Conflict generates energy
That energy shows up in a variety of ways. It could show up in racing thoughts, increased heartbeat, flushed face, an overwhelming desire to fight or flee, clammy hands, or a pit in your stomach. For most people conflict is stressful. The more conflict we experience, the bigger emotional, physical and psychological toll it takes on us.
Conflict is unavoidable
It is part of who we are. I’d even go so far as to suggest that conflict is part of the grand design of the universe. I’m convinced that conflict is a necessary part of our human experience. Humanity is diverse. Because of this we will inevitably have different needs, wants, and pursuits. When these come into conflict with each other energy is generated.
The purpose of conflict is to create
Michael Meade, a friend of mine and poet, psychologist, mythologist and musician suggests that the purpose of conflict is to create. Wow! That’s a pretty strong statement and I couldn’t agree more. Thank goodness conflict generates energy because creating something takes a lot of energy. If conflict is inevitable and it generates energy, if differences and disagreements are integral to humanity, and if creating something new requires energy, then all the pieces are in place.
The question then becomes…will you use conflict to create something amazing today?
Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. The energy of conflict is rarely used to create. More often it is misused through passive-aggressive, avoidant, or violent outlets. We call this drama.
The real energy crisis in our world is the misuse of conflict
How much creative potential is being squandered by the misuse of conflict energy? What is it costing you, you company, your family? What else could you do with this energy?
Copyright 2017, Next Element Consulting
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Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability. This book is the foundation for our Leading Out of Drama program, a comprehensive guide for balancing compassion and accountability to build relationships and cultures that are safe, curious, and consistent.