Overcoming Conflict

Imagine you have been given plastic bag filled with breadcrumbs to feed the birds on the beach.  You go out there, and suddenly the birds are squawking, diving, fighting over the handful of bread crusts you throw in the air as fast as your little arms can fling. It feels uncomfortable for you – you don’t have enough bread to feed these birds all day and they are plunging towards you wanting more, and you do not have more to give!


Conflict:  Someone wants one thing. You either a) do not know what they want or b) are not able/do not want to give them what they want.

So how can you overcome this?

Well, in the case of the birds, I RAN LIKE HELL off the beach as soon as I was out of bread crumbs, traumatized for the rest of my life and grateful for that blue visor shielding me from birds definitely trying to peck my eyes out.

In real life, sure, you can run from some conflicts. And sometimes you can’t. Sometimes, one way to handle conflict is to meet with your tribe.  Talk to your people. Perhaps they can join you in resolving the disagreement or offer their opinions on what they would do to settle it if they were in your shoes. Of course, you do not have to do what they say, however, something they suggest might resonate.


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You could also take a break from the issue. Go play. With your body in motion, solution oriented ideas may pop into your head. You return refreshed and with a creative fix.



Sleep on it…or maybe just snooze for 20 minutes. Naps improve mood and anxiety management.



Finally, I’m reminded of a turtle I saw while biking on the Legacy Trail last weekend. On the way out, she was crossing the paved path from the East to the West. You might be thinking, here comes the cliché! ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. Dear friends, while that is true– it is not the point I am about to make today, because on the way in, there she was again, crossing right back from the West to the East! The grass/marsh/swamp is not always greener. Sometimes realizing this makes us feel empathy for the other party. We can put ourselves in their grass/march/swamp and this paradigm shift can help us calm down and get through the awkward conflict. After all, can we really blame birds for eagerly expressing their excitement for delicious stale breadcrumbs?

What other resolution insights can we glean from animals? @kellymc247

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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