There’s Never Enough

The problem is that just like the word “fair,” the word “enough” means different things to different people.

And just as there will never be “enough” (and a person should watch using words such as“never” and “always” as well, but for the purposes of this point, we’ll ignore that philosophical admonition)—time, energy, effort, focus, attention, care—there will also never be a truly “fair” solution to a conflict.

Because, what’s “fair” for you, may not work for me. And vice-versa.

So, since there will never be “enough,” let’s instead pursue a process, rather than an outcome; connection rather than avoidance; and relationship rather than keeping track of who’s ahead and who’s not.

Let’s instead pursue managing ourselves, becoming more and more self-aware, and ruthlessly pursuing the truth of our own stories.

Because there’s never enough.

[Strategy] The Unfairness of Courage

In a conflict, the courageous don’t always win.

Making a Dent in the Universe

And this is not fair.

Winning can be defined as “getting an outcome beneficial to them and their perspective on the issue.”

Winning can be defined as “making change in the face of opposition.”

Winning can be defined as “seeing my ‘enemies’ defeated and driven into obscurity.”

Winning can be defined as “living long enough to see my values and story become dominant and see other values that I oppose recede into obscurity.”

The courageous are those who seek to do three things well:

  • Engage with the hard emotional labor of dealing with other people and trying to see the world through their lens.
  • Establish the boundaries and lines that are non-negotiable for them, but understand that the other party might be flexible.
  • Energize the other party (or parties) with the ability to become allies and friends (at least for the moment) in the pursuit of a greater goal.

If this all sounds hard, that’s because it is.

If all this sounds impossible, it’s really not.

If all this sounds like the purview of diplomats, generals and politicians, rather than auto mechanics, nurses or office managers, it is both.

But, because we deal with other people, with mixed motives, hidden agendas and other issues, the courageous don’t always win.

And this is the output of emotional labor.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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