Clean conversations

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I write this blog particularly for those of you who are feeling that you’re running on empty and don’t have much energy left in the reserve tank.

If you’ve been reading my work for some time, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in paying attention to the small, ordinary moments in a day – in particular, to the conversations you participate in. Today, I want to share a practice with you that allows you to conserve energy when talking with other human beings. It’s about having ‘clean conversations’. I don’t mean grabbing a broom before you start talking: what I’m referring to is using plain language to speak clearly and truthfully.

In work and in life, you most likely will be faced with uncomfortable moments, criticism, misunderstandings and conflicting opinions, particularly when you interact with people all day. These scenarios often have people speaking in riddles, codes and flowery language that can be misleading or confusing and energetically draining. Perhaps more dialogue is spoken than needed, or the situation is not resolved, and as a consequence, much more energy is expelled than necessary. This can be avoided if you have a clean conversation from the get-go.

If you spent some time hanging out with me and with my team behind the scenes at ServiceQ, and listened to our conversations with friends and loved ones, you would hear the term ‘clean’ used a lot. At first, you might think we’re referring to avoiding swear words, but in actual fact, we mean that the conversation is clean from dirt and clutter and is simple and clear – speaking consciously and honestly.

My meditation teacher uses the term ‘ruthless compassion’ – making sure that we are clear and direct when we need to be, and that we’re not being so ‘kind’ that we avoid talking about what we need to or saying what the truth of a matter is. Brené Brown, in her book Dare to Lead, says something similar: she shows us that ‘clear is kind’.

Clean conversations are a practice, and they demonstrate a position of strength. Words matter and they carry energy; and cleaning up your conversations throughout each day will preserve some of your energy.


How many opportunities have you had this week to have a ‘clean conversation’?


Next time you find yourself in a conversation that feels energetically draining, where something is a little off or there’s an awkwardness in the air, pay attention. Maybe there’s something that needs cleaning up?

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