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Share Your Facts

In the last chapter we suggested that if you retrace your Path to

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Share Your Facts In the last chapter we suggested that if you retrace your Path to Action to the source, you eventual ly arrive at the (“acts. For
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Action to the source, you eventual ly arrive at the (“acts. For

 

 

STATE MY PATH 1 2 5

example, Carole found the credit card invoice. That’s a fact. She

then told a story-Bob’s having an affair. Next, she felt betrayed

and horrified. Finally, she attacked Bob-“I should never have

married you! ” The whole interaction was fast, predictable, and

very ugly.

What if Carole took a different route-one that started with

facts? What if she were able to suspend the ugly story she told her­

self (perhaps think of an alternative story) and then start her con­

versation with the facts? Wouldn’t that be a safer way to go?

“Maybe,” she muses, “there is a good reason behind all of this.

Why don’t I start with the suspicious bill and then go from there?”

If she started there, she’d be right. The best way to share your

view is to follow your Path to Action from beginning to end­

the same way you traveled it (Figure 7-1 ) . Unfortunately, when

we’re drunk on adrenaline, our tendency is to do precisely the

opposite. Since we’re obsessing on our emotions and stories,

that’s what we start with. Of course, this is the most controver­

sial, least influential, and most insulting way we could begin.

To make matters worse, this strategy creates still another self­

fulfilling prophecy. We’re so anxious to blurt out our ugly stories

See! Tell a Feel Hear –… Story –…

Figure 7-1 . The Path to Action

 

 

1 26 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS

that we say things in extremely ineffective ways. Then, when

we get bad results (and we are going to get bad results), we tell

ourselves that we just can’t share risky views without creating

problems. So the next time we’ve got something sticky to say,

we’re even more reluctant to say it. We hold it inside where the

story builds up steam, and when we do eventually share our

horrific story, we do so with a vengeance. The cycle starts all

over again.

Facts are the least controversial. Facts provide a safe beginning.

By their very nature, facts aren’t controversial. That’s why we call

them facts. For example, consider the statement: “Yesterday you

arrived at work twenty minutes late.” No dispute there.

Conclusions, on the other hand, are highly controversial. For

example: “You can’t be trusted.” That’s hardly a fact. Actually, it’s

more like an insult, and it can certainly be disputed. Eventually we

may want to share our conclusions, but we certainly don’t want to

open up with a controversy.

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