Are you finding you need to be ‘right’ all the time?

In a recent short survey, one of the biggest challenges in conversations identified was the need to win at all costs.[1]

While winning may feel good in the moment, the truth is it’s followed by a wake of destruction.  Words fly and emotions run high. Our individual perspectives feel like the best and only ones.  What most people don’t realize, in this moment their brain is releasing stress hormone cortisol and they lose the ability to listen.

One of the fundamentals our clients have identified is the desire to feel seen, hear and understood.  This is how we build strong, authentic relationships necessary to thrive. The question then always becomes, isn’t it possible to win and have successful relationships?  Short answer, NO.

When people are focused on being right they are stuck in a place of reacting rather than responding.  Their bodies go into stress mode.  Their focus on self-drives their relationships into the ground.

Why this doesn’t work

When we are reacting to conversations, we are telling, judging, blaming, and shaming.  We talk at people rather than to them. We do it all without even realizing it.  This shuts people down and always leads to conflict.  It also limits our learning, understanding, possibilities and opportunities.


Wealthy Woman Warrior - Kirsten Siggins - focused on being right 

What does work?

Perspectives are like fingerprints; no two are ever the same.  Understanding others’ perspectives is how we learn, collaborate, innovate, and exercise critical thinking.  This is how opportunities and possibilities that otherwise would not be available to us became available.  This is also how we serve the needs of our clients, teams, families and selves.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to like what others say or even agree with them.  It just means that you can listen to understand them.  Being open and choosing to listen with a focus on the speaker to learn, rather than win, shifts you from a place of reacting to RESPONDING.  Curious conversations allow you to stay in control of your emotions and words rather than having them control you.   Curiosity also releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin which helps you build stronger relationships.

3 Ways to Stay Curious in Your Conversations:

  1. BE OPEN: Research shows that when a person determines they have the right answer then they stop listening to others. This means they stop learning and understanding.  Being open allows you to listen and learn different perspectives and experiences.  This is how you serve the needs of your clients, or engage and inspire your team.
  2. STOP JUDGING: When you are focused on being right then you are also focused on proving the other person(s) is wrong, judging/blaming/shaming them along the way. Not only is this disrespectful, it shuts conversations down. It leads to conflict.  Pay attention to how often you have judging thoughts. Judging limits your ability to learn and make change.
  3. ASK OPEN QUESTIONS: This is how you learn!  Asking open questions allows you to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of what is going on for others.  Curious open questions release oxytocin, making you feel good creating a connection with others.  They also help keep you calm when things heat up. This means you to stay in control of your emotions rather than having your emotions control you.

[1] Short Survey conducted by the Institute Of Curiosity, 2017.

Kirsten Siggins

Kirsten Siggins

Co-Founder of The Institute of Curiosity, Co-Author of The Power of Curiosity, Communication Ambassador for Wealthy Woman Warrior™

We specialize in high-quality conversations that build high-quality relationships. That means we help people STOP reacting (to people, emotions, events) and learn to start RESPONDING to engage and inspire others, especially in emotional or high stakes situations.


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