Stress is High and We Can't Agree on Next Steps

Oct 07, 2022

This is the heart-centered challenge we delved into during this week’s Monday Kickstarter's session. How might we utilize our Conversations Worth Having skills to move to a place of connection? Read on to find out!

When a loved one’s health is on the line, it is especially difficult to make decisions about treatments when that person is unable to fully participate and several family members are involved. Being in that situation can elicit emotions, behaviors, and feelings that limit our ability to reach consensus about what to do, how to do it, who should do it, and when. Here’s how one person we know wrote about her experience:

Love, memories, and intention

Mingle with fear, anger, sadness, and worry

While skipping meals and spinning plates to keep things moving.




Name it: “When stress is high, we are unable to agree on next steps.”

Flip it: When stress is high, we are united on next steps.

Frame it: We recognize that this is a tough time for everyone and create space for that. Better communication through listening, slowing down, and reflection to envision what unified outcomes could be.

Other suggested frames:

  • Unity toward a collective goal.
  • Better understanding of others’ drivers.
  • The stress brings us together.


Generative questions create trust, positive energy, and the transformative power to move relationships or systems forward in a positive direction. They focus on what adds value, the best of what is, and what might be. One participant noted that because this is a high stress situation, the Conversations Worth Having technique of tuning in should be the first step: Pause. Breathe. Get Curious.

Questions for a Group (Family)

  • How might we slow this down a bit?
  • I’m curious to know your thoughts on the next steps.
  • What assumptions are we making?
  • How can we approach this differently?
  • Are we making sure all voices have been heard?
  • When have we worked together at our best?
  • What would our loved one (the patient) want?

Questions for Self

  • What conditions are present in this space to support me in being my best?
  • When was the last time I felt heard? What made that possible?
  • What rituals do I have to help me tend to things I cannot control?


This personal scenario could also happen in professional relationships, especially when close-knit or collegial bonds have formed over time and there’s something that threatens someone you care about.

Our Cool Tip from this week’s session is to include the word “might” in your questions. It’s the past tense of “maywhich, by definition “expresses possibility.” When we talk about what might be possible, we’re better able to create the space that invites people to explore, reflect, and become aware so they’re better able to take next steps together. It encourages possibility thinking instead of one right solution. 


Sign up for our Free newsletter

Get valuable resources, information and events that spark curiosity and invite exploration into Conversations Worth Having.

You're safe with us. We will never spam you or sell your contact information.