#4Steps: Getting Clear about Our Intentions

#2. Pre-Step: Getting Clear

What gets in the way of speaking up? Usually it’s apprehension about how we’ll be heard. Will the other person be open to hearing our concerns? Or will they be  defensive and push back? Will they judge or blame us?  Will we get the desired result?

When there is a history of resistance or misunderstanding with someone, or when there’s a difference of power (speaking to our boss, for example) it can be especially hard to share our concerns, especially if we’re angry or impatient. What will the other person think? Will we burn bridges or make things worse?

Pre-step: Connect with our intentions

Especially when we’re nervous about giving feedback, it’s helpful to connect with our intention. This is a valuable pre-step to the actual four steps we’ll explore.

What needs do we want to meet by speaking up? It might be about simply expressing ourselves and being heard. Perhaps we also have needs for connection, shared reality, accuracy or support. Or knowing that our needs matter.

Below are some core human needs that often can drive or motivate our intentions. Take a moment and think of something you’d like to share with someone else. What exactly would you like to say? And, by giving this feedback or sharing this information, what values/needs would you like to meet?

  • Honesty
  • Authenticity
  • Expression (to be heard)
  • Trust
  • Connection
  • Understanding
  • Empathy
  • Shared Reality (being on the same page)
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Contribution
  • Meaning
  • Ease
  • Intimacy
  • Integrity
  • Support
  • Clarity
  • Respect
  • Responsiveness
  • Courage
  • Harmony
  • Closure
  • Movement forward
  • Trust about your needs mattering

Get ready:

For next week, reflect on this question: what need would you like to meet by speaking up? Write it down. Note that for a quality to be a core need, it must be universal (an abstract noun) such as choice, companionship, autonomy, freedom, sustainability, etc.

The list above gives some examples. You can also view a complete list of universal needs.

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