An unpaid bill, life lesson #38 + continuum thinking

 

This November it’ll be 20 years I’ve been self-employed (insert a loud & raucous woot woot here; & more on that later). In all that time I’ve never not been paid for a service I’ve delivered.

 

That recently changed.

 

I have a client who hasn’t paid me for a training I delivered & won’t respond to my emails. As I’m diving into what to do, I decided to apply my tried & true technique of continuum thinking.

 

 

What’s continuum thinking?

 

It’s avoiding a one size fits all approach. As a 5’ 10” tall woman I can tell you that one size fits all nylons decidedly don’t fit & neither do one size fits all conflict resolutions.

 

Continuum thinking is opening the fan, as Holly Weeks puts it, to find more than one resolution, more than 1 way to move forward. I write more about this concept here & here.

 

Continuum thinking is avoiding black & white thinking, dichotomous thinking to embrace the gray areas.

 

So what did I do to start continuum thinking in the case of my unpaid bill?

 

I posted about the situation in a well known, high profile women’s biz group. (And yes I kept my client’s name private.) The myriad of responses have been thoroughly enjoyable (from forget about it & wish my client well to take her to court).

 

It’s spurred my own conflict resolution responses & broadened my thinking.

 

It’s helped me take into account context, for context is Queen with a capital Q.

 

And speaking of context, this life lesson #38, sent to me by a friend, has also helped.

 

There’s a very narrow range where you can maybe, just possibly, avoid criticism.

 

You have to have the right amount of confidence. Too much & you’re arrogant, egotistical. Too little & you’re timid, milquetoast.

 

You have to have the perfect amount of empathy. To little & you’re aloof, insensitive. Too much & you’re a sap, a pushover.

 

You have to have the right amount of humour. Too much & you’re a joke who never takes anything seriously. Too little & you’re a soulless robot.

 

You have to have the ideal amount of generosity. Too little & you’re selfish. Too much & you’re just trying to show up other people, or, worse yet, you have an agenda.

 

And to top it all off, what’s too much to one person can easily to be too little to another, so you’ll never please everybody. Not even close.

 

So don’t worry too much about criticism. But don’t worry too little, either. Worry just the right amount.  Source

 

So what do you think? Have you applied continuum thinking to your own conflicts?  Here’s how.

 

Next time conflict rears it’s gnarly head try continuum thinking:

 

  • open the fan & brainstorm a bunch of possible ways to move forward (unlike multiple choice exams where your first impulse has a higher change of being right, your initial response to a conflict may not be!)

 

  • ask others for suggestions (like I did by posting in a high profile women’s business group)

 

  • check your confidence (as conflict can be rough on it)

 

  • hold onto your empathy & add a dose of humour if you can

 

  • let me know how it goes; I’d love to hear

 

Annnnnnnd take action

 

  • I’m offering an online course called Working Better Together(c), where we’ll tackle issues like conflict & communication. Email me if you want to get more info laragan (@) rpsinc.ca

 

 

  • Want some more tips on dealing with conflict? Check out this post & then add your input here.

 

 

Share

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply