The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women. Empowering Change.


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Conflict Resolution: 4 Things You Need to Know to Master It

Conflict. The word itself more than likely triggers you to think about a personal or professional challenge you’ve had or are currently going through with someone. Most of us do everything in our power to avoid it, particularly in work relationships, but I’m here to tell you, you can’t.

We’re human beings with differing beliefs, perspectives, and experiences, so when it comes to working together the goals are to find common ground and mutual purpose. However, more often than not – even with the best intentions – we don’t reach an understanding until there’s conflict.

It’s the great disruptor, helping us to be more conscious of our interactions and creating opportunities for open and honest dialogue. The key is to run (or if you’re really uncomfortable, maybe a slow walk) toward these opportunities rather than back away from them.

At an early age I realized trying to steer clear of “the great disruptor” was nearly impossible.

I tried avoidance, denial and benefit-of-the-doubt instead of communication, but all were detrimental to self-care. My frustration and dismay would make their way to the surface at some point, serving as a reminder to me that, as James Baldwin put it, “You cannot fix what you will not face.”

What really forced me to change was seeing how NOT dealing with conflict physically affected me: I was 28 at the time, excited about my new “grown up” job and putting up with a lot of mistreatment (constant criticism, meanness, and apathy) from my former supervisor. I developed horrible, blister-like breakouts. The stress literally showed on my face. When I noticed how badly I was breaking out I chalked it up to something in my diet, but my body was actually responding to what was happening at work.

How did I know it was work related? Two ways: 1) I’d not had acne since I was 13 years old. 2) Louise Hay. I’ll explain.

When I couldn’t get rid of the breakouts no matter what I did, I knew it was something deeper than eating too many greasy foods. I opened Louise Hay’s book Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them, turned to the page on the cause of pimples, and the first sentence said, “Small outbursts of anger.” The second sentence was an affirmation: “I calm my thoughts and I am serene.” I knew at that point my physical distress was about not confronting my supervisor.

I was angry but acting as if everything was OK. The only way back to “calm thoughts and a serene” state was to confront her, so I did.

Before the meeting, I wrote down my main talking points, provided examples, and also shared what I needed for a better work environment. Was I afraid? Absolutely. But Maggie Kuhn said it best, “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.”

My supervisor was shocked but receptive. I was relieved and liberated.

Things improved, but more importantly, after that meeting I made a commitment to always respectfully speak my truth and never let any situation get that bad again – no matter how difficult I think confronting it might be.

It’s years later and I’ve kept that promise to myself.

And yes, the breakouts disappeared.

 


I was so serious about learning healthier strategies of communication that I also worked to become a conflict resolution mediator. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I now use the skills and techniques I learned to help others navigate difficult dialogue.

Here are four tips I’d like to share with you.

Be COURAGEOUS about resolving conflict. Don’t let the issue fester.

The decision to resolve conflict is most certainly an act of courage, because no one really wants to face it head on. We ignore it. We make excuses. We wait until we’re forced to deal with the issue. I’m saying don’t let it get to that point. Be proactive, especially if you think it’s a situation that could potentially damage your work relationship.

Write down your thoughts before meeting with the person so you have a clear head and an open heart for resolution. And remember, the more you put it off, the more challenging the situation will become. You owe it to yourself (and the other person) to resolve it as quickly and thoughtfully as possible.

Keep in mind, what you think will happen is far worse than what will actually happen, so refrain from visualizing drama and instead think about what will go right.

If you feel the issue warrants having a third party present (conflict resolution mediator, trusted mutual colleague, etc) then be sure you and the other person are in full agreement about someone else being a part of the meeting.

Be willing to have a difficult conversation in order to move forward with clarity and understanding.

Everything doesn’t always come up roses when working together, unfortunately. So, it’s important to have courageous conversations. Don’t ignore bumps in the road; they are opportunities for personal and professional growth, and of course, better communication. The harmony and happiness you want when working with others is on the other side of that difficult (but necessary) conversation. Meet with a common goal and mutual purpose in mind, agreeing to clear up miscommunication and to move forward with greater understanding of what each person needs to sustain the work relationship.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High reiterates this point:

Mutual Purpose means that others perceive that we are working toward a common outcome in the conversation, that we care about their goals, interests, and values. And vice versa. We believe they care about ours. Consequently, Mutual Purpose is the entry condition of dialogue. Find a shared goal and you have both a good reason and healthy climate for talking.

 

Commit to directly discuss your concerns only with the person you have conflict.

This one seems simple, but it’s not. Why? Because the urge to vent your frustration and share the problem(s) you’re having with someone other than the person you’re in conflict with is almost second nature. It’s what we’ve all learned to do in order to avoid confrontation.

Venting is a quick and comfortable way to feel better and to validate your side of the story. But what does it really solve? You got it. Nothing. The problem still exists, and unfortunately, the person you’ve told is now indirectly involved, and that could potentially make things worse.

How many times have you consulted with friends and loved ones about an issue or challenge you’re having in a work relationship? Probably too many to count. It’s OK. We all need a listening ear sometimes, but sharing the same thing over and over again gets old quickly.

Work toward developing solutions not increasing complaining sessions, because eventually, your friends and loved ones will get tired of hearing about it.

Put another way in A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted:

Talking to someone other than the person who brings up your unhealed feelings is triangulation. If you’re unfamiliar with triangulation, it occurs when you have an uncomfortable situation with someone but discuss the problem with someone else rather than going to the person directly. Healthy communication is talking directly and only to the person you have an issue with. Talking to someone else is complaining; it’s triangulation and it perpetuates rather than solves the problem.

Really listen.

At some point or another you’ve heard this quote from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”

Listen to the other person without

  1. Interrupting
  2. Impatiently waiting for your chance to speak – fidgeting, lack of eye contact, etc. Body language speaks volumes.
  3. Focusing on who’s right or wrong. The purpose is to be open, to listen and understand, not to one-up each other.

So, first ask yourself (when you take time to write down your thoughts), “What is my intention for meeting?” If it’s just to give the person “a piece of your mind,” then you’re wasting your time. You may feel better for a while after doing it, but there’s no real resolution in that plan.

Remember, this is about your commitment to being a more thoughtful communicator and to developing a shared purpose that will strengthen your trust in and respect for each other.

Listening must be a two-way street.

Be patient with yourself when it comes to the process of conflict resolution. Take it one step at a time. Sure, it may be uncomfortable at first, but there’s definitely growth in the uncomfortable space, an opportunity to learn how healthy, productive communication works. So, take the leap. Do it afraid, because meaningful work relationships happen through courageous conversations.

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of and leadership development coach & trainer for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be working with contributing writers to provide resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.


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Be Honest About What You Really Want and Life Map + Goal Set Your Way to It

Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide [Phoenix Rising Collective]

It has been a whirlwind couple of months for me winding down the year and preparing The Phoenix Rising Collective’s calendar for 2016. Needless to say, I’ve been busy in a good way, very productive. It’s the kind of busyness I enjoy because I’m doing things that I absolutely love like giving you this awesome gift!

The Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide is a life mapping and goal setting tool to support you in creating a new year that aligns with your personal vision of joy, happiness, wellness, and success.

The guide helps you chart the course of your personal and professional goals, as a significant part of being self-love in action is taking responsibility for your choices so that you strengthen your ability to manifest what you really want and open up opportunities that are in alignment with who you are.

visionboardworkshop2015[ThePhoenixRisingCollective]

Manifesting Her Happiness Vision Board Workshop 2015

In fact, I’ve been sharing FOM this year with women who’ve attended my leadership and self-care workshops and the feedback has been so positive because it really helps to create action plans that work! For example, in November I led Manifesting Her Happiness, a vision board workshop (check out more photos), and before making the vision boards I guided attendees through FOM so they could identify specific objectives to fulfill rather than, as one participant put it, “creating a vision board full of wishes.”

The key to the guide is being honest about what you really want for your life, the kind of honesty that brings clarity and creates experiences you desire personally and professionally. It’s time to dive in. Seriously. No more back tracking, what-ifs, and second guessing your decisions; instead keep your attention on your intentions and build an inspiring workable plan you can bring to fruition one day at a time.

Don’t wait until January. Start now! This is self-love in action.

OK, download your gift: The Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide.  You’re ready!  Let’s truly make 2016 a happy new year.

 


 

 

Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder, workshop leader, and personal empowerment coach for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be working with contributing writers to provide resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.

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She Makes It Beautiful – An Interview with Entrepreneur, Suzan Bradford Kounta

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She Makes It Beautiful (SMIB) encourages and inspires women to follow their entrepreneurial dreams by interviewing and sharing the phenomenal stories of women entrepreneurs who’ve already taken that courageous leap and soared.

We’ve asked entrepreneurs in diverse, creative professions to participate, and they were more than willing to pay it forward. From opening a dance studio to starting a bakery to grooming pets and everything in between, you’ll read the unique and empowering stories about how these women decided to just go for it.

Don’t forget! Download your free SMIB Bonus Materials below. Use them as your personal toolkit to help get that dream off the ground. All bonus materials complement the advice and tips give by the entrepreneurs.

 

PhotoGrid_1425438086959This SMIB interview is with Suzan Bradford Kounta, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Thiossane West African Dance Institute.

When and why did you start the Thiossane West African Dance Institute?

Thiossane was conceived in 2000. However, I had been working toward its birth since 1990. My life experiences encouraged me to become a CEO, Chief Executive of Opportunity; I was directed to manage businesses in a creative and innovative way that blended the past and present.

What sparked the inspiration?

I wanted to create a career from my passion. I am fueled when I can provide or create opportunities that allow people to grow through their creativity.

How did you know this is what you are meant to do with your life?

When I learned about whom I belong to and who I am, it was very clear what I was supposed to do. My ancestors and mother were always an example of my purpose. My lineage found through my mother’s DNA reiterated my character, values, and beliefs. Everyday, I am reminded of my purpose on this earth. Everyday I am faced with challenges that propel me forward, even when it is a struggle. I was planted to prosper, and nurtured to endure and witness my accomplishments. I am humble and grateful always to be a vehicle for the greater good of people.

What was the process like getting started?

It was a struggle. My business was rooted in social services and the not-for-profit art world. It was not popular and people shunned the activity and were ignorant to the significance of the art form. I taught myself the nature of the business and learned through my jobs how best to grow it through the skills I acquired and the knowledge gained over the years.

What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from the process?

I learned several, but the one that has provided longevity for me is to measure and evaluate from my own statistics. If I were to measure the success of The Institute to that of larger companies, I would have and should have failed along time ago. I believe wholeheartedly in what the Institute has provided for children, young adults, families, single moms, single dads, grandparents raising grandchildren, families who adopt outside their race, and people with special needs.

Was there a pivotal moment when you recognized what you were doing would be successful?

Because I have been nurturing this passion for 25 years all the while having an awesome supporting cast and great friends who are intelligent, passionate, and share in my likeness, I was able to align the mission and vision of the Institute into a place of upward mobility that is steady and strong. That coupled with nostalgia and innovation allowed multiple opportunities to grow our audiences and increase our revenue. Yes, by business standards, profits, profits, profits are the measure of success, but for the Institute, the number of people who are impacted by participating, engaging, or performing within Thiossane is and will always be our greatest success.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love that we empower young people through a set of values to govern themselves not only on the dance floor, but also, specifically, in their lives. These values will encourage and support their endeavors and will strengthen and provide resilience in their challenges. I love that people can dance and play music as if no one is watching, and I love the richness of the African Diaspora and how it is threaded through our daily lives – giving peace, harmony, and overall good feelings to one’s soul, to one’s spirit.

How do you maintain a healthy balance in your personal and professional life?

My maternal grandmother’s adage was “A Healthy Body is A Healthy Mind.” I was taught early to take care and manage myself, to exercise all my beings – mental, physical, emotional, and most importantly, my spiritual being. I taught myself to be selfish about my time and the energy I receive from others.

Lastly, what advice can you give to women seeking to fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams?

  1. Stay true to your vision.
  2. Be confident in what you know.
  3. Take risks.
  4. Seek knowledge.
  5. Be creative.
  6. Have your own measuring stick.
  7. Create a welcoming space for yourself – personally and professionally.
  8. Demonstrate due diligence in all that you do.
  9. Travel the world.
  10. Speak another language.
  11. Manage only what you can; slow growth is good growth.
  12. Don’t be greedy.
  13. Protect your passion and ideas.
  14. Potentiate those around.
  15. Make money.
  16. Be happy in all that you do.

 

Learn more about Suzan Bradford Kounta HERE.

Tell us what you think, Phoenix!

We want to hear about how you are inspired by Suzan Bradford Kounta, as well as your experience goal-setting and planning for your business in the comment section below. You can also share a snapshot of how you used the SMIB bonus materials on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag: #SMIB 

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SMIB_GoalSettingWorksheet[thephoenixrisingcollective]


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She Makes It Beautiful: A Professional Development Series for Entrepreneurs

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We’re so excited, Phoenix!

This week we are launching, She Makes It Beautiful, a new professional development series that caters to the entrepreneurial spirit in you.

The series is part of Shed Light, our continued commitment to offer resources that support your personal and professional growth.  She Makes It Beautiful (SMIB) encourages and inspires women to follow their entrepreneurial dreams by interviewing and sharing the phenomenal stories of women entrepreneurs who’ve already taken that courageous leap and soared.

Put it this way, if you’ve always wanted to start your own business doing what you love every single day, THIS is the series for you!

We’ve asked entrepreneurs in diverse, creative professions to participate, and they were more than willing to pay it forward. From opening a dance studio to starting a bakery to grooming pets and everything in between, you’ll read the unique and empowering stories about how these women decided to just go for it.

That’s not all we’re offering with She Makes It Beautiful. Free SMIB Bonus Materials will be available for download that complement each interview in the series. Why Bonus Materials? Well, this is all about your growth as a budding, ambitious entrepreneur, so just think of this as your personal toolkit to help you get that dream off the ground and also keep you in alignment with your plan. Plus, the bonus materials have been created based on the advice and tips given by the interviewees, so think of them as your very inspiring accountability partners!

No more waiting on the right time and circumstances to give that great idea attention, especially when it really deserves to be front and center now. Shine a light on it. Nurture it. Make it beautiful. This is the moment that matters.

Again, SMIB launches this week; our first interview is with the dynamic Suzan Bradford Kounta, co-founder and creative director of one of Ohio’s leading dance institutes. We can’t wait to share!

Thank you for your continued support of us. And please, if you haven’t already, join our Facebook and Instagram communities. Share what The Collective is doing with others who are looking for a spirit-affirming space to grow, learn, and shine; spread the word.

Be self-love in action! Happy Monday.

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ayanna_sidebar[photo]Ayanna Jordan is founder, speaker, and coach of The Phoenix Rising Collective, and editor-in-chief for Phoenix Shine, The PRC’s blog. She is happy that Phoenix Shine is a positive space for sharing information on topics related to building and sustaining healthy self-esteem, as she believes wellness begins within, and includes healing old wounds, forgiving others (and yourself), letting go of the past, eating healthy foods, making room for change, sustaining a positive attitude, and taking time for spiritual practice. She is committed to empowering women to be self-love in action.