What would be possible if you took this promise with the people in your life?
“Any time there is something on my mind that I’ve been unwilling to express out of fear of either rejection or criticism, I will invoke the Pink Elephant and request that, in doing so, we both recognize that this is an issue that is being brought up only with the goal of strengthening our relationship; that we agree to listen to and communicate with each other without anger, judgment, or defensiveness; and that we allow this conversation to act as a basis for further discussion, so we can understand, explore, and learn from each other’s perspectives.”
Invoke the Pink Elephant? How do I do that?
Imagine taking this promise with someone that is important to you and that you both agree that if you said “Pink Elephant” it would mean that there was a conversation that need to take place that was a bit uncomfortable but the goal of the conversation was to strengthen the relationship? What if there was an agreed upon designated statue or totem that was visible in the household or office to remind everyone to have the “Courage and Commitment to Communicate,” and when an important conversation needed to take place one could place the totem on the table. What if before every potentially difficult conversation, you reminded each other of the promise you made to each other? What would be possible?
…the vision was crystal clear: The Pink Elephant symbol in the home of every family, in the office of every executive, on the desk of every leader, constantly reminding them of the Courage and Commitment to Communicate. The invocation sets the stage and the reiteration of the promise sets context for the conversation. Imagine a world that has the courage and skills to courageously communicate and be fully self-expressed…where creativity, innovation, collaboration, and cooperation are possible; where people feel acknowledged, heard, relevant, known, and part of whole; where solutions can change the world.
Hmmm….The Courage and Commitment to Communicate?
Has there ever been something on your mind that you’ve been reluctant to say because you fear the anticipated response? Whether it involves your spouse, child, or co-worker, we all dread initiating those “important” conversations.
Have you ever brought something important to the table and were met with defensiveness and/or apathy, and have been reluctant to bring issues like that up again?
Through these varying life experiences, we develop a reluctance to put ourselves “out there”, to risk ever experiencing such uncomfortable moments again. We learn very quickly to guard ourselves and be mindful of the next time we bring something to the table.
So how do we handle it? We suppress our thoughts and ideas, our emotions and needs, and carry them with us…unspoken.
These unspoken conversations end up as rust on our psyche…leading to silent resignation, apathy, and a lack passion… typically,
We act like we’re FINE, that we’re DEALING.
But are we really?
Let’s face it – the feeling of being in love, the excitement of new opportunities at work – it all begins to wane. We lose our incentive to go above and beyond – in relationships, in work, in school and at home. Spouses are no longer inspired to lavish each other with romantic meals, or bring home tokens of affection “just because”. The desire to put in extra hours at work with the motivation of friendly collaboration and a common purpose slowly diminishes. Children and teenagers don’t talk with family…and when they do, the air is punctuated with meaningless, one-word replies. People aren’t necessarily unhappy, they simply end up “going through the motions” because the courage and commitment to communicate has been all but eliminated.
Well…what if we didn’t have to live this way? What if we didn’t have to go through periods of unnecessary apathy and discomfort? What if, on a day to day basis, you felt excited and inspired to actively participate in your life?