Getting over ourselves to break through conflict, adversity and crisis

We get in our own way often. What’s more problematic is we either don’t see it or we deny the difficulty, adversity or crisis we are creating for ourselves and our best life.

It’s uncomfortable to take responsibility so we rationalize or blame, or both.

Yet that not only does little good outside of sticking a pacifier in the mouth of our ego, it can lead to a loss of trust, credibility and reputation.

Draymond Green talked about it recently.

If you have not heard of him or do not know his background, Green has long been a winner in the sport of basketball. In college he was highly decorated for his accomplishments at Michigan State University and was a leader on very successful teams.

He plays professionally now with the Golden State Warriors and is accomplished, respected as a player and wealthy because he has continued to be successful individually and as a winner. His achievements are too impressive and long a list to write about here in a story that is not about sports. He is quite possibly headed to the NBA Hall of Fame one day.

A season ago he and Kevin Durant, a teammate and co-worker of his, who just happens to be considered one of the best players in the game and of all time, had a contentious relationship. It eventually led to Green being suspended for his unprofessional behavior for how he interacted with Durant.

At the end of the season, Durant, who had become a free agent, as expected left the Warriors organization, heading to New Jersey, for new employment.

Durant recently talked to sports reporters and media personalities and confessed the relationship damage between he and Green was a factor, although not the only one, in his decision to end his relationship with the Warriors, even going so far as to add “I’m not gonna lie about it.”

Green was interviewed about it and to his credit, showed high self awareness and maturity. It spoke to what so many people, famous or not, struggle with in their professional and personal lives, at great expense.

It was a shining moment of poise, honesty and humility.

“I had to accept the fact that I was wrong,” Green said. “Once I was able to get over my stubbornness and accept the fact I was wrong, I was able to move on (emotionally and maturely). It’s one of those things in life that you hold on to this one thing — that one thing holds you back from whatever it is you’re trying to reach. I had to have a deep talk with myself — ‘you were wrong,” he said.

Let’s look at the strongest, most wise points here:

“I had to accept...”

It’s difficult when we should accept or do what is uncomfortable and painful, especially when our behavior and evidence about it is contrary to how we see ourselves or our actions. Yet that is courage, strength and maturity.

“I was wrong.”

This can be extremely difficult to come to this conclusion and even more so to confess it to other people, especially to those who may hold it against us or want to hear and maybe deserve to hear it.

“Once I was able to get over my stubbornness and accept the fact…”

We’re not stubborn as human beings, are we? Of course we are. We rationalize it or deny it yet rarely do we admit to the wisdom of and need for moving past that emotional obstacle to smarter thinking and actions.

This can be a hard road to travel for all of us yet it is only by walking that path that we grow past emotional traps and behavioral traps to be our best selves and be more trusted, deeply respected and appreciated.

“I was wrong.”

No, that’s not a mistake that I addressed this twice. Notice how Green mentioned it twice now in a short period of time. He has come to a peace about it. His self awareness and social awareness are high in the moment that he was being interviewed. His empathy was high.

When we can do the same we are walking out the wilderness of our mistakes or errors, working more wisely and skillfully in relationships, conflict, adversity and crisis, in a manner that is next-level corrective and protective.

When we instead hold on to arrogance and low self awareness, low social awareness and weakness of empathy and compassion, we might feel strong and might show bravado yet we are in reality still stuck in the wilderness, captive to our emotions behavior that is not strong, high character and admirable.

We are not developing emotionally and behaviorally to stress, conflict or crisis.

“You hold on to this one that one thing holds you back…”

Insightful. We do this, don’t we, at times? We hold on to something for one or more psychological reasons, which holds us back and prevents us from problem solving, especially within a relationship, professionally or personally, or both. Green came to realize this eventually.

“I had to have a deep talk with myself — ‘you were wrong.’”

Are we having deep, honest talks with ourselves, raw as need be about our assumptions, beliefs, attitudes and behavior?

When we’re emotionally triggered or flooded, we can run a certain narrative in our minds that is not entirely accurate all the time. Sometimes it may be, yet not always, although we believe that falsehood.

Our assumptions can often be result of past experiences with no connection to our current negative emotions. Yet we believe otherwise. Convinced we are.

Yet Green, a very emotional person, especially when on the job, which has served him well in some respects, has come to learn that it is not weakness at all to see with clarity that he contributed greatly to a toxic relationship and he was a mature enough adult to confess it when that is a very difficult act to do with ego screaming at us.

Michael Toebe is a specialist for reputation and crisis — communications and risk management, serving organizations and higher-profile individuals. He is an advisor, consultant, educator and coach. He publishes the newsletter the Reputation Times, has written for Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, Corporate Compliance Insights and the New York Law Journal, and is writing a book on reputation crisis.

Writing on reputation, risk, decision making and crisis in business, politics, sports, entertainment, higher ed, healthcare and social media.

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