More than you’d imagine, I hear from folks who find themselves in uncomfortable situations with colleagues and/or clients that have them upset, concerned about something, feeling worried, or generally feeling off, sometimes for days.
Knowing that talking to me isn’t going to help resolve things, I always ask the logical question: Have you talked with the other person about this?
The answer is always no. The reasons are very similar, dealing in some form with fear of loss (of the relationship, the other’s good will, money, etc.).
I get that fear is real, and I’m here to tell you that if you find yourself in such a situation, you can’t let fear run you.
If your choices are made based on the fear of losing something or someone, you’ve already lost. You can’t pretend to be ok and have the relationship you want. If nothing else, you’ll end up resentful, and that will kill the relationship.
Your silence and pretending may mean you keep the relationship, the good will, the money, etc., but at what cost? Sucking down things that matter to you or that trouble you simply because you’re afraid of what they other will do only hurts you. It also doesn’t show that you have any faith in the other person, the relationship, or yourself.
If that’s true, why are you there to begin with?
As VAs, we work within the construct that we’re equals in the relationships with clients. If you put that person above you, especially out of fear, you’re not equal; you’ve made yourself less than. If there’s anything worse than being the victim of another, it’s being victimized (a martyr) by yourself.
What I know for sure is that there’s not a person on this planet worthy of your sacrifice who hasn’t been thrust into this world from your body.
You are deserving of standing toe-to-toe with any other human being and saying your truth—whatever that is. You are responsible for what you communicate, and how—so be clear and sure of what you say. You are not responsible for the other person’s feelings or response/reaction to what you say.
Have the moxie to tell your truth always. The people who don’t like it aren’t deserving of you. The people who meet you in the middle and happily have the conversation with you—even (especially!) the difficult ones—are keepers. When you speak your truth…when you have the conversations you dread, most often what actually happens is that things go much better than you imagined, and you end up wondering why you were afraid to begin with.
The biggest thing that happens, though, when you work through something with someone and get to a positive outcomes on the other side of the conversation, is that your relationship will be stronger for it.
So, take a chance. Risk it all. What you’ll end up with will be perfect, either way it ends up. Always remember that and you’ll be a-ok.