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Let’s start off on the right foot   

“Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They're there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.” –T.K. Coleman 

The skinny

Difficult conversations are inevitable. And you should have them more often.  


Did I miss something? 

Millions of people have watched, shared, and meme-ified the now-infamous moment at the 2022 Oscars between two of Hollywood’s most recognizable entertainers. Both Black men, their 90-second interaction has taken over the internet, inspiring conversations on a variety of important topics. 

Hey, I’ve been busy. 

I’ll let you Google what happened. Enjoy the rabbit hole of engaging takes on
beauty standards for women of color and how the public can take back the conversations happening in pop culture, especially as the awards show was already feeling outdated for many viewers.  

Just a joke.   

If only it was as simple as that. The fact of the matter is whether it be their hair, how they dress and express gender, or their differently-abled bodies, a portion of your workers may be at the butt of some stomach-churning punchlines. Thankfully, many employees are speaking up and HR teams are no longer laughing off these comments.  

Hooray for anger! 

Something like that. When managers refrain from knee-jerk reactions, heated moments can be an
opportunity to lean in, learn, and build trust. Job responsibilities lead the pack in sources of stress, so while it’s indisputably unwelcome, anger in the workplace is nothing new.   

When the G.O.A.T. is being a goat.   
A little too much pun. But your best performers often succeed because they are unashamed of the passion they have for their work and their ambition to exceed expectations as often as possible. And as we all have witnessed, when two passionate people work together, they can butt heads.   

Totes awk. 

Whether the issue on the table is a colleague’s tasteless joke, a leader’s public failing, or conflicting ideas for a critical project, as tensions rise during difficult conversations, people have a habit of shutting down right when open dialogue is most necessary. So, let’s talk about it. 

Easier said than done. 

At the metaphorical water cooler, some topics are safer than others. Plain and simple. For example, the ease with which we can talk about mental health versus physical health is night and day. Many employers have good intentions to commit to today’s toughest issues, but employees at every level lack the practical skills to navigate hard conversations with empathy. 

Visualizing the Venn diagram. 

 The good news is, we already have a place to start. Being vulnerable not only paves the way for an attitude of gratitude, but also can help colleagues find overlapping values from which to launch meaningful discussions and move forward with respect. And if that doesn’t work… 

Frustration, boredom, and rage.   

Give it 30 minutes. Feelings like these always pass, and the time will leave you with a clearer mind. Whether you’re a leader hearing some feedback that stings or an employee on the other side of a crossed line, everyone can benefit from taking a Twix moment and returning to the conversation with a cool head. 


Date with data: Nearly half of Black and Hispanic employees have quit a job after experiencing or witnessing workplace discrimination   

Further reading: 4 skills to improve workplace dialogue 

The skinny   

A curious mindset is totally free and freeing. 


Curiosity killed the cat.   

A phrase with an interesting backstory, today it advises you to stay out of trouble and avoid asking questions you don’t want the answer to.  


Questions are good. Like, really good. Developing a habit of asking questions will give your career longevity, minimize blind spots as you brainstorm, and help you avoid a variety of missteps. 

But wait, there’s more! 

 Yes, there is. Asking more questions can transform nearly every aspect of life, deepening personal relationships by making others feel heard and jumpstarting empathy.   

And what’s behind door number three, Bob? 

Developing curiosity as a mindset can establish you as an open, approachable colleague. Why? Because inquisitive people, while they may still make assumptions, are less likely to act on them. Plus, during high stakes conversations, others can clear their fears before pushing into emotional topics.  

Curiosity actually did kill the cat, though. 

 The feeling of uncertainty can range from uncomfortable to excruciating. And the more questions you ask, the more time you spend sitting in anticipation. Reframing the ambiguity as exciting, picturing the positive, is key to riding the wave. 

The water is warm. 

Learning to embrace uncertainty is good for your brain, refocusing efforts on what you can honestly influence. With practice, the combination of curiosity and calm is unstoppable.   

Double date: 24 questions to ask in your next 1:1 Meeting 

For you: Ask Yourself 4 Questions to Move You Toward the Life and Career You Want 

Now a break from the news…

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