Making Lemonade

By Denisha Harris

Many of us have heard the phrase, “turn your lemons into lemonade.”  It was a childhood adage that motivated us to see the bright side of things, and it was affirmed in our adulthood by Queen Bey herself who let us peak into her own struggles of taking her lemons and turning them into something sweet.  Despite its tongue in cheek quality, the age old saying speaks volumes to us today.  As women on the move – dreaming, building, and making it happen every day – we are bound to run into obstacles to our path.  It would be easy to get stuck in defeat and give up or try to change course in hopes of a smoother sail, but many times our path encounters these obstacles because they are precisely the stumbling blocks that will turn into stepping stones to move us along on our journey. 

That is my goal in life – to enjoy the journey!  As you get to know me through this blog, I hope to bring words of wisdom and encouragement to help you enjoy your journey as well!

In this article, I want to share with you some wisdom and practical knowledge to help you when you run into the stumbling block called conflict.

How do you feel when you read that word?  Are you reminded of that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that is a tell-tale sign that something is awry?  Or are you energized by your competitive spirit that engages in a battle of wills with only one acceptable outcome – to win?  Perhaps you fall somewhere along the continuum, but no matter where you land on the spectrum, it is a dynamic that we all face.  It is the twin sister of change and progress that always seems to come along for the ride when we are out here doing our thing and living our best life!   It creates and consumes energy that must be managed.  So, how can we turn our stumbling blocks into stepping stones?  Keep reading.

In a recent professional development course, I had the chance to take a hard look at this dynamic and learned that one of the first ways to overcome a negative reaction to conflict is to change your perspective on its occurrence.  In fact, perhaps we should not see conflict as either good or bad.

What??  Yep, that’s what I said. 

Perhaps we should see it as simply energy that has something to tell us.

Similar to a change in the weather or the seasons, conflict is a symptom of some variation in the environment.  Yes, we may prefer one season over the other, but we still manage and move forward.  We must simply adjust.  It is the same with conflict.  If you are in conflict with a friend or family member, perhaps there is a long overdue talk that needs to happen so that the relationship can get back on course.  If conflict at work seems to be the order of the day, perhaps you can take the opportunity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and learn how best to create a safe space where the conflict can be resolved.  The important thing is to remember that conflict is not a stop sign but a caution sign that will inform your next steps.  

Next time, we will discuss knowing self and knowing others by thinking about conflict resolution styles.  In the meantime, enjoy some refreshing lemonade