The Beauty of Conflict Tools: Check It Out
We’ve got a fun, mini-podcast for you today!
We’re sharing our tool Check It Out, something we teach in both our business book and our couple’s book because we really think it’s the crown jewel of the work we do with people.
This tool helps us slow down in making assumptions and helps us check out our stories to get to real understanding.
As you can guess, this is helpful in almost all relationships!
So we’re giving you a quick guide to this simple tool, how you can use it, and some examples on the show today.
We hope you’ll find it useful as so many of our clients have!
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CrisMarie: So we're going to do a mini-podcast on Check It Out because Check It Out is both in our business book, there's a chapter on it and in our couple's book, The Beauty of Conflict and The Beauty of Conflict for Couples. Because we really think it's kind of a crown jewel of the work that we do with people, is slowing down where people are making assumptions and helping them check out their stories to get to real understanding. Because we tend to be so right/wrong focused that we don't. We assume we're right, and we don't slow down and check it out.
Susan: Yeah. And that so often the story we are telling ourselves is what's creating pain, separation and distance from the person who we might not have all the information. So if we could find a way to get in there and check it out, we could re-make that connection again.
CrisMarie: So the way humans process, the way we process is we take in information through our senses and then it's sorted in our personal filter. It goes through our own personal filter, which is our significant emotional events, our gender, our experience, our education, our culture, everything. And what happens is, as that data comes in through our personal filter, which is all objective, it gets sorted, it gets deleted, distorted, and generalized. And out pops our story, which is our point of view, our theory, our hunch, our assumption, but we use the term story because we want to really emphasize that we're always making it up. Even when you have a lot of education on a topic, it's still just your point of view.
Susan: So a simple example of that may, be if I come home from being out grocery shopping and I walk into our house and CrisMarie has the door to her office closed and the dogs are in the kitchen. Now, it could be that I make up a story, "Oh, she must be mad ... " This has happened before. "She must be mad at me. I did something wrong." So if I don't check it out and she walks out, and I can even make my story go further, she's still not talking to me. She hasn't said anything. She didn't notice that I came in the house. She didn't thank me. I mean, you see how I start to even build up. She didn't thank me for going grocery shopping and all of this comes from this thing that I saw the door closed and assumed that she was mad at me. Now, what I could do is just, since there's no note or any of that, I could go gently knock on the door and go, "Hey, I'm home. I just want to check in, because I'm interested in connecting and my story is you have the door closed because you want some private time or you're mad at me. Tell me where I'm wrong."
CrisMarie: And I can give you information about that! [laughing]
CrisMarie: This happens in business all the time. We tend to think, "Oh," whether it's your boss or a coworker doesn't respect you and it's clear he doesn't respect me and we go, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Slow it down. How did you get there?" "Well, he didn't return my phone call. He didn't look at me in the meeting and his brow was really furrowed when he did look at me. So it's clear he's trying to give me some information." And we're like, "Whoa, you may want to check out your story," because what typically happens is people don't, and then they start, like Susan said, start reinforcing your story that your reality is true. As soon as somebody says, "Hey Pete, I want to check out with you. I saw that you didn't return ... " Whatever I said those pieces were. [laughing]
Susan: The funniest part about this, as you're talking about it, is I think of why this is such a profound thing when you work with horses, because when we do our work with horses, people show up out there and it's so funny when they walk into a session, because this is all a horse. There's no ... they're at liberty, so they don't have any reigns or any ... and right away the person, if the horse is away, "The horse doesn't like me. The horse doesn't do ... " And it's so clear. It's like, "Really? How do you know that?" And it's so obvious right then that, "Really? Does that even make any sense?" But it's not as obvious with each other, how quickly we can go to ‘this means this’, no matter what.
CrisMarie: And like with my example with Pete, if this person had checked out, "You didn't give me eye contact. You didn't return things, or you even glared at me." And so, my story is you don't respect me. Pete could actually say, "Wow, I have a headache. I was on a deadline." You can get new information that's probably very relevant to Pete, but not necessarily coming up with the same story. So it's important to check out your stories, otherwise you'll just keep reinforcing the one that you're telling yourself. And that's where we get the biggest sense of separation and angst.
CrisMarie: By not checking out your story. So what stories are you telling yourself about your boss, about your partner, about your kids, and can you actually break down what got you there and be willing to check it out and hear something different? And we go into a lot more detail in both books about this model because we think it's so crucial.
Susan: Well thank you for listening to the Beauty of Conflict podcast. If you're dealing with a difficult situation in your life or work, remember, every conflict is a chance for you to be vulnerable and curious and find creative solutions that you hadn't considered before and make your situation even better. Beautiful breakthroughs can be born out of conflict. We've seen this happen thousands of times over the last 20 years, and we know this is possible for everyone, including you. We're grateful you listen to this show and we're rooting for you.
CrisMarie: And if you enjoyed this show, please tell a few friends and/or post a five star review on iTunes. Your review helps new listeners discover this show. More people listening to this show means less friction and arguing and suffering out in the world. So that's a great thing for everyone.
Also, visit our website, thriveinc.com to read our articles, join our newsletter, buy our books, and learn more about the services that we offer. Thanks again for listening. We hope you have a peaceful, productive, and beautiful day.
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn.
Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It!