I am participating in a business mastermind I’ve written about here before. One of several things we do between our coaching sessions and workshops is answer the Question of the Week that our leader poses to the group. This week’s question was, “What is unique about you, and how are you infusing that into your business?” Here is my response:
In my personal life, I am a conflict-averse peacemaker (and recovering people-pleaser) whose professional life revolves around others’ personal conflicts and turmoil. Knowing the distress and discomfort their situation is causing them, I can relate to my clients and guide them through the process toward a solution, not a continued problem. With this seeming contradiction, I attract clients who value my approach. While they can be emotionally needy and draining at times, I typically work with clients I like and respect. And I know I am helping them at a critical time in their life.
When I was a baby lawyer, the conflicts I dealt with daily got to me, and the strain took its toll mentally and physically. When I look back, I see there were times I utterly hated my job. The wisdom gained over time has given me perspective, and experience has allowed me to develop skills for myself and create tools for my clients to deal better with conflict. Establishing and enforcing healthy boundaries was essential for gaining and maintaining my peace. I am a better lawyer and a much happier person because of this.
Getting better at handling conflict did not happen overnight for me, and it won’t for my clients either. It is a process that takes time and requires introspection and a lot of self-compassion. Allow yourself the time, learn the lessons, and be forgiving when an inevitable misstep happens. This is how you start making peace with conflict.