I’m in Santa Barbara this week, attending an annual coaching conference offered by the Hudson Institute. Today’s session was about working with relationships in systems and helping members of those systems (including ourselves) manage the inevitable conflict that occurs when different people with different needs start to pull in different directions. As we began to work through a model for conflict resolution we explored a powerful question: “What is trying to happen?”
What is present in this system (relationship, team, organization) that is expressing itself in this conflict? What change or shift or transition needs to be made that this conflict is calling our attention to?
I recognize that I am especially drawn to this question because I am in the middle of processing a conflict of my own – a recent loss that feels abrupt and painful. As I reflect on this simple question I begin to ask what this loss is trying to show me. I find myself appreciating in the pain of the loss the powerful answers that are emerging around opportunity and possibility – that I am challenged to simultaneously hold and work through the loss as I respond to a significant pull towards a bigger self.