When a client comes to me with a legal dispute, requesting my help with conflict resolution, most times the dispute relates to a “relationship gone wrong.” What does that mean exactly?
At the beginning of a relationship, even a business relationship, you’re in what’s referred to as the “honeymoon phase”.
At these early stages, novelty and possibilities drive the relationship. Expectations are high and everyone is excited.
As time passes, misunderstandings can occur and sometimes the relationship basically falls apart.
When a business relationship goes downhill so much that a legal dispute is on the horizon, a client comes to me feeling angry, confused, and yes, powerless. Emotions overpower objectivity; and I find that along with legal guidance, conflict resolution benefits from a good dose of good old fashioned moral support.
So why does one feel emotional and un-objective when a business relationship turns into a legal dispute?
That’s where the marble jar comes in. A marble jar is a great analogy for business relationships. When you first meet a new business partner of any kind (client, employer, employee, supplier), it’s like you receive an empty jar. When you finalize the partnership arrangement, you place the first marble into the jar. Over the period of the business association, as the relationship blossoms, each time your partner shows you trustworthiness, you place another marble in the jar. In a great partnership, the jar fills up quickly, in others, maybe a bit slower. However, as experience fills the marble jar, the trust for each other grows.
Along with the trust, you let down your guard. You then begin to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
When that partner lets you down: a client doesn’t pay, an employee gives away your creations to a competitor, a vendor doesn’t deliver, it’s as though that person picks up that marble jar and slams it to the floor. The jar shatters, the marbles scatter everywhere. In one conversation, one action, one inaction, all the trust that had been developed over the relationship is lost. For you, that sudden betrayal leaves you feeling emotionally exposed. You may feel hurt, confused, angry, rejected, and inadequate. The feelings of social rejection and disconnection this emotional betrayal creates may also cause real emotional pain. It’s proven that the brain chemistry will create emotional pain just as it would physical pain from an injury. This is a big deal.
So What’s the Point?
My point of writing this article is to help you if you find yourself in a legal dispute. For successful emotional conflict resolution, visualize what you’re feeling. Whatever you feel is perfectly normal and explainable. To heal, noticing and understanding is the first step. Once you can intellectualize the situation, you’ll be able to process new thoughts and feelings, creating positive results of growth and learning. Objectivity returns and with it your feeling of control and forward movement.
Are you and/or your business Florida based? If so and you need help managing the emotions surrounding conflict resolution of a legal dispute, we’re here for you. Contact us here.
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