There are predictable mistakes that often happen when you're talking about race. Predict and avoid the traps that could hamper your progress.
- Now, when it comes to the common mistakes to avoid, this was tough for me because I only had to choose three, but there are so many mistakes we can make. But let's focus on the three most likely mistakes we can make in these difficult conversations about race. Mistake number one, it's easy to get defensive. Especially, if we're confronted with information about ourselves that we find to be unflattering. And instead of getting defensive and immediately defending yourself, take the time to listen. Appreciate what the person is saying. Because they're sharing a perspective of you and your behavior that you can't see, and it's an opportunity to improve. So instead of immediately fighting back, take the time to listen. Because think about how that defensiveness registers to the other side. I'm sharing an issue that affects our community, that affects me personally, and you're more concerned about your image about your reputation? Let's focus on what's most important here. And so make sure you avoid that defensive response. The next thing is vilifying the other side. Listen, I've mentioned it a ton of times before. These conversations are difficult, they are highly, highly emotional. And one of the emotions that we can feel, anger, that's real, that's real. And oftentimes if we're angry, we come in too hot in these conversations and it creates unnecessary resistance. And so I think about the law of physics and how it applies here in these difficult conversations. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And if we come in too hot, sometimes we invite resistance that we don't need to experience. So make sure you take the time and win that internal negotiation. Calm down and approach it in a way that is strategic and calibrated to meet your goals. And lastly, the mistake that people often make is burning out. If you care about this issue, which I assume you do, because you're listening to this course, it often happens that we focus too much on helping others, and improving the situation, and not enough on our own self care. You need to listen to your body. Listen to your mind. Listen to your emotions. How are you feeling? Because if you push too hard, you can reach that breaking point, and then you're not performing at a high level. So it's important to take the time to take care of yourself, so you can be that ally and advocate that we need as we march toward progress. So really what we're doing here is we're creating a system of unnatural responses to these difficult conversations. Think about it, your instinctual response in these conversations, what you really want to say, what your emotions drive you to say, oftentimes it's going to be the wrong answer. And so we need to start to train ourselves in these conversations with the Compassionate Curiosity Framework, and other negotiation techniques, to make sure that when we are faced with these difficult conversations, we respond appropriately. And as you start to develop this habit, you're going to recognize that your outcomes are going to become significantly better during these difficult conversations about race.