Have we all arrived?

I like to think of myself as being a coherent whole person, but that description isn’t fully accurate.

I’ve got some parts. (I’m betting you have some too.)

On the one hand, I’ve got a very analytical, rational, and logical side—that part of me that loved calculus and engineering, who turns everything into a puzzle to solve, and who loves ruining any police procedural for my family by solving the mystery halfway through the show.

On the other hand, I have my “spidey-sense,” which is more intuitive. It often tells me that something doesn’t feel right or smell right. It’s not very verbal, so it can’t always tell me what’s “off,” but I’ve sure learned to listen to it.

There are more parts in there, too; I’ve got a weirdly romantic side that loves nature and poetry, a spiritual core, and a hard-nosed boss. If you ask those closest to me, they might mention my grouchy-say-no-to-everything side and my party-pooper side that comes out when I’m tired or hungry.

Some of those parts move faster than others. My analytical self can get hung up on a piece of data that doesn’t fit; my intuition might feel off without the ability to articulate why…and there are a million other combinations.

I need all those parts for me to be at my best.

This is a problem when making a high-stakes decision, communicating a nuanced topic, or navigating a disagreement with people I care about.

If I’m in a hurry or feeling uncomfortable (and I want that feeling to end), I might try to rush through the conversation or decision quickly. If I move too fast, not all my parts can keep up, and I might get a hangover once all my other parts “catch up.”

Then I ask, “Why did I agree to that? I felt something was off with that guy!”

Or I hang up the phone and suddenly see a much better solution to the problem.

Taking time to get everyone in the room

When I know that a conversation will have high stakes or risk misunderstandings and hurt feelings, I’ll schedule extra time before the meeting to “gather my parts” and let everyone settle. I might check in with everyone to get a baseline, and if possible, I’ll slow down the conversation and leave a little more silence so that none of my parts get lost.

Do you have a ritual for making sure you’ve got “all your wits about you” before going into a high-stakes conversation? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Hit reply and share your insight!

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