Speak Eagle

A Statement of Value

“Can we talk for a minute?”  I pull my friend into another room where we can talk privately.  And then I breathe deep.  I am about to enter into a courageous conversation.

Ironically, during the 8 hours prior, I had taught a few hundred C3 conference participants how to have a courageous conversation.  And like I wrote in an earlier blog post, I explained to them that negotiators recommend that we begin a tough conversation from The Third Story.  That’s the most objective way to approach – stating not what I think (The First Story), or what I think you think (The Second Story), but stating a shared desire and then defining the problem as the difference between our two perspectives.

Only now, with my own courageous conversation about to begin in living color, it never crosses my mind to start with the objective Third Story.  Instead, I’m thinking about wanting to care for the heart of my precious friend. The angst over needing to be honest and yet wanting to care for her brings hot tears to my eyes.  And as they roll down my cheeks, I sputter, “I love you.  You are so important to me.  And I’m scared to tell you this, but I want to tell you because you are my dear friend.”

She nods, tears welling up in her eyes, streaming down her cheeks.  I can tell she is anticipating the worst, but wants to support my vulnerability, too.  She listens, I share my heart.

I scan her face.  Will she receive it well?  I’m afraid she won’t.  Maybe that’s what propels the tears.  Too often these type of conversations in my life have led to rejection.

But my fear dissolves as through her tears she smiles, hugs me, talks with me, shares her heart, listens more, and keeps being my faithful friend.  I breathe deep.

Starting with The Third Story might work in certain circumstances when you need to begin with impartiality.  But for close relationships, starting with The Third Story might feel rather cold and robotic.  Now, I am starting to believe it’s best to begin with something else:  A statement of value.

It feels natural and right to begin a tough conversation by reminding someone of what they mean to you, how important they are to you, how much you value their ideas, and how much you love and care about them. After value has been established, then we can move to identifying our commonality and defining the problem as a difference in our perspectives.

Indeed, the statement of value is the whole reason for the conversation.  Because, the truth is, if you didn’t value that person or your relationship, you wouldn’t be broaching the subject in the first place.  Courageous conversations are risky, and we only risk it when it’s worth the risk.

I drove away from my friend’s house evaluating our conversation in light of what I had taught that day.  And I said out loud, to my children’s curious ears, “Value!  We naturally begin with a statement of value!”  I had felt all day that something was missing from my teaching, and now I knew what it was.  Those poor conference participants- they got the contents of my brain just a few hours too early.

And to my faithful friend reading this.  Thank you.  Thank you for your grace to love and accept me in the midst of my courageous conversation.  You are a true friend.

6 thoughts on “A Statement of Value”

  1. Isn’t the Holy Spirit wonderful? Through the Holy Spirit the Lord will ALWAYS lead and guide you into the truth!
    Our Father God takes good care of His kids. Thank you for being who you are, Heidi!!!


  2. Wow! My heart is bursting with mixed emotions, reflection (when I could have done it differently), hope that I have and will again, and encouragement to value! Thank you Heidi! You are speaking through the Holy Spirit’s counsel and teaching. Powerful & compassionate!

    1. Thanks, Mom! We have had many a courageous conversation, haven’t we? In those conversations you have often reminded me of my value to you. I am so grateful.

  3. Heidi– “thank you” is insufficient! This post, both in its vulnerability and content, is a huge gift. I feel like I’ve just received a Swiss Army knife with a ‘secret’ folded among the blades–and I know I will be reaching into my life pocket regularly to unfold the “Value” statement!

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