One of jobs throughout my years on this earth has been as a waitress. Now I have witnessed the magic of a amazing wait staff many of time. I was not one of those people. I was okay. One of the moments I was most proud of myself was when the ENTIRE restaurant filled up with customers, I was the ONLY wait staff on duty, and pulled it off with the supportive help of some of the kitchen staff.

The area I struggled with throughout my waitress years was the timing of when I would ask customers how their meal was shortly after I had served the table. Typically I would come around to ask just as they were putting tasty morsels of food in their mouths. Regardless of how observant thought I was, I would end up asking when a customers mouth was filled with food.

“Ask any comedian, tennis player, chef. Timing in everything.” Meg Rosoff

Timing has a place in all of our daily living. Timing has a place in when we have conversations, especially those difficult, courageous talks. For many years my timing on having those uncomfortable conversations would suck. I would ignore the cues of the person I wanted to talk with. Perhaps they were rushed with other things to do, not in the best head space, not feeling well, tired, or not wanting to talk when I wanted to talk. It’s not like they were biting into a yummy meal. Even in my waitressing days sometimes the meals where not yummy to the customer. I wanted to talk to this person about serious stuff.

Wiley Cash said “Some of the most uncomfortable conversations are conversations we need to have.”

What I learned through my poor timing and ignoring the cues of the person I wanted to have this awkward, difficult conversation, is that I could make changes that would help to have a better, healthier conversation. Where real listening and exchanges of thoughts and feelings happened. I began with my timing. Yup timing. I would email, text, or ask the person “I need to talk to you about some things so what is a good time for you.” Not what is a good time for me. What is a good time for them so they could be in the best place emotionally and mentally. I knew I had some tough stuff to discuss. They did not. Giving them the opportunity to do it on their time increased the likelihood of a healthy dialogue.

From there I used all those uncomfortable conversation helpers like “I statements” examples of what I had experienced, sharing of my emotions and listening to what the other person had to say. There were times I would do a reframe to help them understand. I would NOT state my point over and over. This wasn’t about proving them wrong. This was sharing my feelings in the hopes of improving our relationship. This was also about listening to them in the hopes that this relationship would grow. This holds true for all my relationships personal to professional.

My changes with my timing with my uncomfortable conversations helped to make them more comfortable. There was less surprise. It gave everyone the opportunity to be mentally prepared, increasing the likelihood to have a conversation filled with tough learning where you can work through challenging moments that help both people grow emotionally. Did all of these conversations end on a positive note? Nope. Yet doors where left open to continue to work. Who need a simple tweak of timing can learn to such positive outcomes. In my life changing my timing has helped in many ways.

May your timing be with you💜

Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash