January 17, 2023

238: How to Talk About the Hard Things with David Wood

You probably know the feeling of ‘there’s an elephant in the room’ and no one wants to address it. But letting things go unspoken creates problems in the workplace. This is true of the large and small things. Are you letting the ‘mice in the room’ go unaddressed because they’re just not a big deal? By raising small issues, we are able to address potential areas of concern before they become bigger problems. Plus, by acknowledging these small things, we’re able to better understand one another.

Today’s guest is David Wood. After life as a consulting actuary to Fortune 100 Companies, David built the world’s largest coaching business, becoming #1 on Google for “life coaching”. He believes the tough conversations we avoid are our doorways to confidence, success and even love – in both work and life. David coaches high performing entrepreneurs, executives and teams – and even prison inmates – to amazing results AND connection. One conversation at a time.

David and I talk about the lessons in his book Mouse in the Room. He explains the concept, shares some of the common mice we experience and how to raise small issues so that we can have meaningful conversations.

Members of the Modern Manager community get a free, personalized gift basket from David that includes a 15-minute Double Your Revenue Strategy call for qualifying businesses, the Online Double Your Revenue Replay, a cheat sheet, and the Mouse in the Room minibook. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community.

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Read the related blog article: How To Have Those Conversations Everyone Prefers To Avoid


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Key Takeaways:

  • We learn to avoid honesty as we grow up.
  • The conversations we’re afraid to have are the ones necessary to deepen our relationships.
  • We need to name the more subtle “mice in the room”. Unlike elephants that both parties are aware of, mice are the little issues that get in the way, but only one person is aware of.
  • The ‘Storytelling Mouse’ makes assumptions about how others are acting. Check if these beliefs are true before taking them personally.
  • Acknowledge your ‘Desire Mouse’ by asking, what do I really want?
  • What are you tolerating that’s quietly driving you crazy? This is your ‘Toleration Mouse’.
  • Our ‘Mirror Mouse’ gives us insights into who we are and why we react in certain ways due to past experiences.
  • When deciding whether to share a mouse in the room, go through the 3D’s of Discover, Decide, and Disarm.
  • Discover what you feel. Decide if you can tolerate possible negative outcomes and if the potential positives are worth it. Disarm a defensive response by getting consent first. Share your worries and hopes and ask if it’s a good time to talk.



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