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Conflict is Actually Healthy for Your Business. Here’s Why:

The truth is most of us, as humans, don’t really enjoy conflict. 

When a disagreement comes up, and I’ll use business as an example today, what happens is that many people revert to the least disagreeable point of view. Now, there’s some folks out there that don’t mind conflict at all (I’m one of them – raise your hand if you’re with me), but that’s certainly not the majority. 

Think of it like a scale – there’s a ton of wiggle room between both positions (agreeable and comfortable with conflict), but then there comes the extreme of avoiding conflict at all costs – even at the cost of your own happiness. 

Now that, my friend, doesn’t sound like an environment to thrive to me. In fact, it seems pretty miserable. 

Confession #1: Conflict is Healthy

Conflict – despite the negative connotations – is actually pretty healthy. I think so anyways. At the heart of it, it serves to be constructive. Conflict can promote new ideas, creative solutions and ways to improve certain skill sets within a team setting, or even for yourself. 

Pro  tip: Learning to manage conflict to create positive outcomes is essential. Conflict resolution is NOT the same as conflict management.

Confession #2: I Will Never Be a "Yes Woman"

I don’t want to the term “yes woman” or “yes man” to be given a bad rep. I know that for some, dealing with conflict is incredibly painful – even in situations where it would be beneficial to be assertive. But what I don’t ever want to foster – in my business or my personal life, is an environment of uncritical agreement.

Where I’m from, we have this term called “Minnesota Nice”. You may have heard of it a time or two if you’re from the States. What it really means, as a native Minnesotan, is a lot of times you don’t say what you actually think – it just means that you’ll say what others want you to hear. I don’t like to adhere to this perception – because many times, if there’s something constructive to add (even if it goes against the grain) I personally would want to hear it. Of course, time and place – but you get the jist. 

I don’t like to avoid conflict for the sake of being liked. Instead, I’d rather share ideas that may be contradicting the status quo (or not, you never know) for the sake of intentional growth and creativity. 

It fits in well with one of my favourite quotes of all time, ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Thanks to Dr. Seuss for that little nugget of wisdom.

Confession #3: I Wasn't Always Ready

I was a shy kid. I wasn’t comfortable with the spotlight for a long time – though it’s gotten better with time. I used to consider myself an extrovert when I was younger – because I loved to be around people (and still do), always chatting and finding new ways to connect. 

When I was in college, I decided that I didn’t want to have a traditional career path – I started my entrepreneurial journey when I was seventeen – and that meant that I’d have to get comfortable with rejection and grow a thick skin, fast. A few years later, I intentionally stepped into an industry spotlight and became recognizable for a super cool podcast and speaking on stage. Even though the first time was a total disaster.

My point is, just because you weren’t okay with conflict or uncertainty at some point in your life doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. The brain is like a muscle – your reality is what you continually repeat or tell yourself on a regular basis. If you give yourself the opportunity to shine – even in the face of conflict – sure, you might flop the first time (gosh knows I did), but you also might discover that you’re pretty damn great at what you do. 

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