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  • Writer's pictureShirley Owens

Handle Tough Conversations Like A Pro with David Wood

Updated: May 27, 2020

“Speak your truth 30% more than you do now. It will give you so much more range and so much more influence with the other person.” -David Wood

Is there something you've been wanting to say to someone, but can’t find the words to say it? Tough conversations aren’t easy to have, but could change your relationship and create a closer connection. Today, Shirley and David discuss how to recognize situations in your life where you might be needing to have a tough conversation. Most of these are never had, because actually doing it is scary, anxiety provoking, and just hard. David shares the CASE Model of tough conversations, a four-step process you can follow to keep your wits. The goal of tough conversations is to get what you want and build better relationships. Learn how to weave accountability into the conversation as you make your point manifest in a dignified way. No more putting off tough conversations! Tune in and be motivated to get what you want by having tough conversations.


03:23 Dare To Do The Most Daring Things

08:01 Benefits of Having Tough Conversations

12:45 Recognizing The Tough Ones

15:57 The CASE Model For Tough Conversations

21:06 Beware of the Traps!

31:38 The Curiosity Game

38:10 Accountability Conversations

46:27 30% More





The toughest thing we have to do is speak up but we know it’s better than harboring resentments. Join in as @SfbaldwinOwens and @_playforreal discuss how to handle tough conversations effectively. #getwhatyouwant #toughconversations #CASEmodel #emotions #acknowledgement #agreement #accountability #dare #30%more


  • 06:19 “If I'm afraid of something, I didn't want it to have any power over me. So I… tend to lean into that. And I think it's created for a very rich life of experiences.” -David Wood

  • 11:11 “I've done some tough ones. But each time, I get more confidence and I liked myself more because I was willing to be a human with another human and take that risk.” -David Wood

  • 20:06 “You don't want a tough monologue; you want a tough conversation.” -David Wood

  • 21:29 “The biggest trap that we fall into is we both have charged on something at the same time and we're both desperately trying to get a point of view across but it cannot happen.” -David Wood

  • 46:32 “Speak your truth 30% more than you do now. It will give you so much more range and so much more influence with the other person.” -David Wood

Connect With david:

David Wood is a former Consulting Actuary to Fortune 100 companies including Sony Music, Chanel, and Exxon. David left his cushy Park Avenue job 20 years ago to build “the world’s largest coaching business”. He became #1 on Google for “life coaching”, serving an audience of 150,000 coaches, and coaching thousands of hours across 12 countries. Alongside his clients’ successes, David is no stranger to overcoming challenges himself, having overcome a full collapse of his paraglider and a fractured spine, witnessing the death of his sister at age seven, severe anxiety and depression, and a national Gong Show!

He is the author of “Get Paid For Who You Are,” with the foreword written by Jack Canfield. He was nominated to the exclusive Transformational Leadership Council alongside such thought leaders as Don Miguel Ruiz, John Gray, and Marianne Williamson. David believes that the tough conversations we avoid, are our doorways to confidence, success, and love. They become the defining moments that shape our world. He coaches high performing entrepreneurs, executives, teams, and now prison inmates to create amazing results and deep connection one tough conversation at a time.

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Shirley Owens: My guest today is David Wood. David is a former Consulting Actuary to Fortune 100 companies - such as Sony Music, Procter & Gamble, and Exxon. David left his cushy Park Avenue job 20 years ago to build the world's largest coaching business. He became #1 on Google for life coaching, serving an audience of 150,000 coaches and coaching thousands of hours in 12 countries around the globe. Alongside his clients' successes, David is no stranger to overcoming challenges himself, having survived a full collapse of his paraglider and a fractured spine, witnessing the death of his sister at age seven, anxiety and depression, and a national Gong Show. He is the author of Get Paid For Who You Are by Jack Canfield. He was nominated to the transformational Leadership Council alongside such thought leaders as Don Miguel Ruiz, John Gray, and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. David believes that the tough conversations we avoid are our doorways to confidence, success and love. They become the defining moments which shape our careers, our relationships and our lives. He coaches high-performing entrepreneurs, executives and teams, and now prison inmates to create amazing results and deep connections. One tough conversation at a time.

Welcome, David. I'm so excited to have you today.

David Wood: Thank you Shirley. I enjoyed listening to that bio. I'm like, that sounds like he's done some stuff. Yeah, thank you. You said you quoted me, but doorways to confidence and success, and I think that's so true. Tough conversations, we'll get into it, but there were some really huge upsides to leaning into tough conversations and I understand that they can be scary, and why people might want to sweep them under the carpet even subconsciously. We don't even realize it, but I'm here to say, let's pick up the carpet. Let's dust them off and let's lean into them, and good stuff can come.

Shirley Owens: I'm excited about this. I have to say I've always been an open book, and so I think I have tough conversations with people sometimes when they're not ready to have them because I think this is going to be really good. I know a lot of my clients really struggle with this part, but something that stuck out for me was The Gong Show. I actually watched that as a kid, The Gong Show.

David Wood: Oh, it was the Australian equivalent.

Shirley Owens: Okay.

David Wood: It was called, Hey, Hey,it's Saturday, and they had a segment called red faces. So it was national television and I walked out wearing a kilt and dressed as one of the proclaimers and saying 500 miles in a very bad Scottish accent. And I'm one of the most terrifying, top two or three most terrifying things I've ever done in my life.

Shirley Owens: Oh, I can't even imagine.

David Wood: I'm not a great singer, and I was worried I get the words wrong, and I just worried that I had not hit the right key, and I was playing guitar at the same time, screwing that up. It was so terrifying that as I'm in the green room getting ready, I started feeling such bladder pressure and I actually lost a few drops, drops came out, so I was now even more scared because I had an image of paying myself in a kilt.

Shirley Owens: Oh, my gosh.

David Wood: On national television. It was horrendous, and I had an overnight bag with me and I put on two extra pairs of underpants to do that. So yeah, sometimes I talk about daring because I think daring is a wonderful thing in life and that's probably one of the most daring things I ever did.

Shirley Owens: I have to say, I was feeling what you were saying during that, because just recently I had done a morning show and she had asked me if I would participate in this thing that has never happened before, and it was a comedy show, she's a comedian. She was the comic relief and I was the relationship expert, and it was such an improv thing that she wouldn't tell me what to prepare for it. And I had not been on a live stage in a situation like that ever because it's like nobody does this where you go on a comedy stage and not be funny. But relationships are funny, so I'll just figure it out. So we were in the green room, I had a couple of kids in the audience, and our opening act, he was amazing. He's an amazing performer, but I didn't realize that it was a little more inappropriate than I expected. And I was watching him on the stage knowing that my kids were out there listening, and these are adult kids, but just was not aligning with what you're saying. And I remember the same thing, I also had vertigo a few days before that, and so I was getting ready to go out on the stage, and I was stressing about this, and I didn't want to get dizzy and fall off the stage in front of all these people. And it was that same moment where I don't know what took over and how I got through it. Did you get through it? Did you get gonged?

David Wood: Of course, I got gonged but I lost it 60 seconds before getting gong, which I consider was a huge win.

Shirley Owens: For sure.

David Wood: Out of three contestants, I lost to the 80 year old lady playing a ukulele.

Shirley Owens: If you're going to lose to somebody, right?

David Wood: But I did beat the two stoned guys who are juggling chainsaws, so I consider it quite a win.

Shirley Owens: That feels like a win. So you're not a stranger to putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.

David Wood: Oh, God, no. I've had a lot of history with anxiety and depression, and maybe now it's making more sense why I have a lot of anxiety with all the things I do.

Shirley Owens: Yeah. Right.

David Wood: But my psychiatrist recently said, it's almost counter phobic, and I'd never heard that word, but it makes sense to me if I'm afraid of something. I didn't want it to have any power over me, so I would lean into it because I find whenever I walk away from a fear, I feel small and I like myself less. So whether it's asking a woman out that I'm attracted to, or stepping off a mountain in Nepal strapped to a paraglider, or having a tough conversation, and that feels really awkward, or embarrassing, or I'm scared of what's going to happen. I tend to lean into that, and I think it's creative for a very rich life of experiences, and I'm not saying everybody should just go and face all their fears. I'm just maybe suggesting if your life was 30% more daring, what would that provide for you? If you're willing to be uncomfortable, if you're willing to be afraid, what might that provide in your business, in your relationships? It's an interesting question.

“If I'm afraid of something, I didn't want it to have any power over me. So I… tend to lean into that. And I think it's created for a very rich life of experiences.” -David Wood

Shirley Owens: It's very relevant because I realized that with each thing that I do, stepping out of my comfort zone and conquering, I become more powerful, and like you said, more confident in myself. We went to Costa Rica and I, well, first of all, I flew in a little tiny plane, which was scary for me, and then I learned how to surf, and I'm not even that great of a swimmer, but I'm out there just rolling with it, thinking I'm going to pop up somewhere eventually, and I did that for five days. And then we went zip lining, and I do not like heights, and it's not even me. It's like something inside my body just reacts to the heights. But I agree. I've already conquered this fear, and this fear, I'm going to conquer this one. And I did it, and I hated it, and I don't ever want to do it again. But there was some power that came from just stepping off that platform, right?

David Wood: Yeah. So that's the first benefit of having tough conversations is the confidence. Whenever I speak up with someone, I'll give you an example, this is another embarrassing one, but this is often where the tough conversations are, they're over to booze, they're over things that feel vulnerable to us. I was on the phone, I think it was last week, and I walked out, and I live in the mountains, I live alone. All those tenants live below me, but no immediate neighbors. I look out over this valley, I'm on a phone call, it's a glorious day, I'm out on the balcony and I need to pee, and I'm thinking I don't want to go back inside into that little bathroom. No one's around, my tenant's been away for five days, I'm going to pee over the balcony. This glorious valley, I pee I the balcony under the grass, I think you've seen a theme with my stories of,

Shirley Owens: Yeah, I was just thinking that.

David Wood: And then this door shuts down below me, a sliding door shuts. I'm freaking out, I'm mortified because it's a younger woman. It's my tenant, and I'm now thinking she was sitting out on her veranda having a cup of tea and this ream of urine, so I tell you what, I was upset, I've got a lot of empathy for people who lose sleep over some tough conversations or issues with people that aren't resolved because it's horrendous. For four hours, I'm so upset, I couldn't focus on anything else. I couldn't quite see how to handle it because I like, how do you just go and knock on someone's door and go, Oh, yeah, about me peeing off the balcony. I was so embarrassed and I was scared as well. I was worried about getting in trouble partly because of the landlord power dynamic, but also in the Me Too movement with a guy doing something and she might feel unsafe. Anyway, I got coaching from four different friends and tried to look at how to use my own methodology in tough conversations, and I did. I applied it to myself and it took me four hours to get up the courage and I went and knocked on her door and said, can I talk to you about something I'm mortified about. I'm just so embarrassed. Can I talk to you about it? And she's like, yeah. Turns out she hadn't even seen it.

Shirley Owens: Oh no.

David Wood: Yeah, right. And I said to her, there's a chance I'm going to make this worse. And she goes, well, I didn't even notice it. I'm like, great. I just made it worse. But we had a lot of fun--

Shirley Owens: Maybe she has a visual of that, right?

David Wood: No, she does. But we had a lot of fun and she said: "Look, people pee in the woods, I like to pay in the woods, it's not a big deal." And I said: "All right, well, I won't do it again." And we had a great conversation, and I feel closer with her now each time. This was a big one for me, in the scheme of things, this was like, these are maybe an eight and a half to 9 out of 10 in terms of tough conversations, and I've had some tough one. I mean, I've risked prison to confess a crime. I've called a bully from 30 years ago at school and said: "I represented you for all this time and I'm letting it go. I've done some tough ones and this one was up there." But each time I get more confidence and I like myself more because I was willing to be a human with another human and take that risk. So that's the first benefit. And then the second benefit is connection. I often feel, even if the person disagrees with me, even if she'd been disgusted, there's more connection available in talking about it in an artful way. If you follow the model, which I'll share with listeners in a bit. And then the third result, the third wonderful thing that we get out of tough conversations is success. We all want influence over people. We all want to be leaders. This is how to do it. This is how to get influence and be a leader. And then whether it's that promotion, or that person's stopping smoking, or the person picking up their cigarette butt, or your kid's not going and playing with people, you get often, not always, but you'll often get that external result that you want, that success that you're seeking. So those are three reasons that we might want to get over the discomfort and the awkwardness and lean into that tough conversation because you'll be a superhero.

“I've done some tough ones. But each time, I get more confidence and I liked myself more because I was willing to be a human with another human and take that risk.” -David Wood

Shirley Owens: I love it. I agree. I really agree. Seeing someone that comes to you because they have a tough conversation and they're listening to us talk right now, and they're like, that sounds great and all, but how do I get myself to that place?

David Wood: Yeah. Well, firstly, I realize sometimes when we talk about this, people are still going, I don't really have one. I can't think of one, and if you don't have one, you said that. And if you don't have one in mind, then it's a bit harder to take in the information and remember it. So maybe I could just give some more examples. So some of the top expressions that people might avoid or they might not even seem like it's possible. A confession, you might have broken an agreement and never told somebody, so this is a great tough conversation. What about at work? I screwed up, I did something wrong. Never told anyone, want to tell someone. It could be some secret you've kept from your partner that they don't know everything about you because you're too embarrassed. That could be a wonderful, tough conversation. Someone's behavior is annoying you. You don't feel valued by your boss or appreciate it and you want more appreciation. Most people don't know that. That's a possible tough conversation you can have that people want to know. They can go and ask for more appreciation. I'd like a pat on the back when I do something well, would that be possible? What do you think? So these are some examples, and then right now around covid-19, people are having others, like how do I tell my kids they can't be with someone else? How do I set boundaries with people? Hey, you live in my house and it's not okay with me. The practices that you have right now because you're putting me at risk. How do I talk to my staff about productivity when they're working from home and ask them to actually still be productive. How do I lay off people? There's so many conversations that are popping up now, so hopefully listeners can get a handle on, all right, I can see that I might have a few looking if anyone's ever disappointed you, there is a potential tough conversation. If there's anybody you resent or don't like, there's a potential tough conversation to resolve it.

Shirley Owens: It's crazy because like you said, I think sometimes we don't even know that there's the possibility of bringing that up.

David Wood: Exactly. Look, I can be a chicken. I've still got a couple if I think who haven't I really had a tough conversation with. My ex girlfriend has been out of communication with me for three years and she kinda got the dog in the breakup, and then didn't give me access to the dog, and that's still hard for me to this day. And I don't think she's available for a conversation, but it's been a few years. If I really wanted to be brave and resolve that, I could reach out. Apparently I'm not ready to do it.

Shirley Owens: And that in itself is tough, right? That's almost a tough conversation, sometimes it's even just making the decision to reach out knowing that it may not be the time and that person may not be ready to even go through with it.

David Wood: Right. I might feel upset, she might feel upset, I might not get what I want out of it, which is probably an apology. I did actually reach out like 5, 6, 10 times over the years, and I've decided to let that one go. So not all of them have to be had. In fact, in the four steps that I'm going to share with you and listeners, the first step is clarification, and there's a worksheet for that. We'll give you guys a free download at the end of this episode where you can download the worksheet and you can fill it in. You get clear about the issue for yourself. You might decide not to have the conversation with the other person once you've gotten clarity, that's great. Or once you've got clarity, you might be like, I know how to have this now, I've got the clarity. I had a lover and she just didn't get back to me. It might be a week before she'll respond to a text, and then the last text I got from her was, I'll look at my calendar and get back to you with the time, nothing, and I got sick of following up, so that's a tough conversation we'll have at some point. And also when you do the clarification step. Step one, that might be enough for you because you can literally do all the work on your own. It is possible.

Shirley Owens: Yeah.

David Wood: There's a caveat though. Most people can, and a lot of issues, and if you have the conversation with a person, you can transform them as well as you. It can be a wonderful healing.

Shirley Owens: Yes, for sure.

David Wood: But you can do the work, and if you truly can let it go and get to a good place with the clarification step, you might say, I don't need to bring it up or I'll tell them, look, I wanted to have a tough conversation, but I'm letting go of it now. I really am good. It can be that easy. So those are the four steps. There's one word to remember and that word is CASE, C-A-S-E, because this is a case model of tough conversations. And CASE stands for CLARIFY the issue with yourself, and then if you go forward, you'll do the next three steps with the other person. And the next three steps, A, stands for ASK PERMISSION to have the conversation.

Shirley Owens: That's a big one.

David Wood: Yep. The S stands for SHARE THE ISSUE, and here's what you'll make a request if you have one. And the fourth step, critical, and I forget it so often, ENQUIRE into their world, their point of view. How is it for you to even hear this? Are you feeling defensive? Do you have a better idea than what I have? So that is a really wonderful step. This is where you get curious about them. You listen and it's a chance for you to work it out together.

Shirley Owens: Most often, their perspective is completely different, and their experience is completely different than what you had.

David Wood: Yeah. And they might have a lot of charge. So I just did a demo every week, Fridays, 2:00 o'clock Eastern, I do a free call, I do a zoom call, anyone can come on, and they can join that call, and we'll role play their tough conversation. And I did a role play recently where the issue was a woman felt upset every time her husband was impatient with the kids, which is happening a lot with people working from home and whatever. And she wasn't sure how to have the conversation. So I, we did a role play, and in the role play, I was her and she was the husband and I said, look, I want to talk to you about how we are around the kids and particularly impatiens. And when I see you seem impatient with the kids, I feel upset. And then I realize he's probably got a lot of charge coming up. He's probably feeling defensive already so I just switched to step four straight away. And I said: "I just want to check, I've got more I want to say and I've got a request, but how is it for you that I'm even talking about this and bringing it up? I really want to know." And boy, he has a lot to say. And by He, I mean her in the role play. It was like, well, you know, Luke's just a little monster, and when he does it, I just don't know how to handle him. I'm blah blah blah blah blah. And I'm like, tell me more. And I just did the [inaudible] step early because I could see it as a lot of charge. So it's a really wonderful thing to do. You don't want a tough monologue, you want a tough conversation. Now did you tell me in the pre-interview that you had a couple of examples from some of your--

“You don't want a tough monologue; you want a tough conversation.” -David Wood

Shirley Owens: I do. I have a couple clients who are working through some stuff and so I asked him if I could use them. I won't use names or anything, but just use them as an example so that we could work through a conversation, maybe super helpful to them. And I love what you talked about, like the charge coming up, I feel like a lot of times we do just immediately go on the defense, and then there's like this ping pong that goes back and forth between two people because when one comes up, the other one elevates, and to have the woman that you're talking about not elevate right when her husband is, like immediately going into that. So a lot of this, it really aligns with what I teach. So I'm super excited about this because these are brand new conversations that need to be had. And I'm excited to hear how you would do this.

David Wood: Yeah. Well, can I double click on what you just said, so powerful, one of the biggest traps. Unfortunately, we're humans, and when we get charged, when we get really emotional, there are changes in the brain. And if you get triggered, and upset, and angry, some of your prefrontal cortex shuts down, and you don't have all your faculties online. So the biggest trap that we fall into as we both have charge on something at the same time, and we're both desperately trying to get a point of view across.

“The biggest trap that we fall into is we both have charged on something at the same time and we're both desperately trying to get a point of view across but it cannot happen.” -David Wood

Shirley Owens: To be right. We both gotta be right, right?

David Wood: Yeah. But it cannot happen. It's like there's a pipe between us and only one thing can travel through the pipe at one time. Either you're talking and I'm listening, or I'm talking and you're listening. We have to take tons basically. And if we don't do that, it's still useful, it can be entertainment, we can have a nice fight. If you're gonna have a fight, have a good one. But I try and catch that when it's happening. And switch and say, you know what, I've got more to say, but it seems like you have a lot to say right now. How about we switch and I'm going to listen to you, and I really want to get what you're saying.

Shirley Owens: And actually listen. My husband, I have 10 rules for fighting, we have our own rules. But one of them is allowing the other person to speak and then actually listening, not just waiting for them to get through it so that you can get your perspective in. But to actually sit and inquire with yourself as they're speaking, and listen to who you're being in that, and how they're seeing you.

David Wood: Yeah. And it's hard when you're feeling so defensive, and you're feeling attacked and they're so wrong, and if you cannot listen, that's okay too. You just want to realize it and name it. You know I can't even hear it right now. I'm so upset and angry. Let me calm down and come back when I can really listen. I'll go and do my own work. Alright, what's your example? We'll do a demo.

Shirley Owens: Okay. So I have a friend who is really close to his dad, and he has sisters, and one of his sisters is very close to the dad. And he's just grown up his whole life, he's 40 something years old, and he's grown up not really having a deep connection with his parents and realizing that now because we have all these conversations right about connection. Realizing just in the last year or so that, wow, I might want to create a deeper connection with my parents or with my siblings. So the one sister that he is close to says: "Dad came over the other day and is really struggling with mom." And this friend is like, I never knew that they struggled. He's like, I want to know more, I want to know more. And she said, well, he just didn't tell me that much, but there's this and this going on. And he said to me: "I don't know what to do because I really want to know about this. One, I've never been that close to my parents." This is not a conversation that we have ever had.

David Wood: I missed the topic, what was the conversation we wouldn't have ever had?

Shirley Owens: He wants to talk to his dad about what he's struggling with in his marriage and in his relationship because his dad keeps hinting towards it to other siblings, but he hasn't said anything to him. So he's just like, how do I approach this conversation? And where do I go with it? Because we've never had this kind of conversation. So it's somebody who I've known my whole life, obviously it's his dad, but he's always looked at his parents' relationship being sought and whole, and he's realizing that that might not be it. So he wants to approach his dad. And before I even gave my opinion on it at all, or my coaching, I told him I was going to bring it to the table in this conversation.

David Wood: Great. Okay. Alright. So it's an awkward topic, it's a vulnerable topic for, we will call him George, and George wants to bring it up to his dads and talk about it. So the first step is to clarify, and in the worksheet it's going to ask a very important question. What's a hope that George might have out of this conversation? And I imagine if George was here, George might say, my hope is that I feel more connected with my dad, that's what I want. The next question is, what's your fear? How could this go wrong? Well, my fear is my dad might judge me.

Shirley Owens: Yes.

David Wood: My dad might not listen.

Shirley Owens: And his fear, because I did ask this question, one of his fears is that they're just going to sit there and have some awkward silence, and his dad just not gonna know how to answer it. I fear that because I did ask certain questions like, what is your fear? My fear is that I'm going to approach it and then he's not going to say anything, and then I'm not going to say that there should be this awkwardness.

David Wood: Yeah. My goodness, I can relate to this. I had a very similar experience with my dad. I wanted him to be more emotionally available. I wanted him to like, as we talk about deeper things, I wish we'd spent more time together. I had all that stuff. And then one day, I had his epiphany during a personal growth course that my dad is my dad, exactly how he is. He doesn't really have those skills. So I called him and I said: "Dad, my God." In fact, I woke him up. I've never been up before my dad in my life. Woke him up at 5:30 AM and said: "Dad, I've realized I've been wanting you to be different. I love you just the way you are, you don't have to change." And there's a pause for about eight seconds. And then he goes: "Oh well, I'll think about that. So how's the weather down there?" And I got upset again, I went straight back into the trigger. I lost where I was and then I realized the junk. It's like, this is my dad, this is how he is. So I can totally relate. Alright, so now we've got a fear, we've got a hope, and now what we want is a request. Is there something that George can ask his dad for that would be of service? And my guess is what might be really useful, and this is particularly important in this case because the dad could use a little coaching, the dad could use a little training on what George is looking for. So I think our request would be, just hear me out, just hear me out if you have any advice on my, one at the end. But if you just hear me out and be with me, and just remember what you love about me, that would be a win for me. That's what I would possibly create. And this is so important because the dad's going to need a little guidance in this, right?

Shirley Owens: Oh, for sure.

David Wood: Because he's going to be, ah, I don't know what to do with these issues. Dad, you were here as a win. Right? So let's try that now, we've done the first step, which is to clarify. And then in that worksheet, you decide if you're going to have it. I'm going to decide, yes, George is going to have it. Check the box. I'm willing to risk those bad consequences of awkward silence, I'm willing to risk it. And now, the next three steps are ask permission, share and enquire. So let's do it right now, Will you be George's dad?

Shirley Owens: Sure.

David Wood: Alright. And you say whatever you think George's dad might say, you can channel him, and I'm going to be George. So, Hey, dad, there's something I haven't been bringing up, and it's because I'm afraid they might be awkward silences, and I don't really want to feel awkward. But I decided I want to bring it up anyway because I want to feel more connected with you, and I want to talk to you about real things that matter to me. I want to feel more connected with you. I don't want you to have to be this perfect, shiny image of a perfect human. I want to know more about what's really happening with you, so I want to talk about how things are with you in the moment. I want to get what it's like for you, and I wonder if you'd be willing to share a little bit about it. What do you say?

Shirley Owens: I don't know what you're talking about. What are you talking about?

David Wood: Right.

Shirley Owens: Mom and I have no issues.

David Wood: Oh, well, okay. Well, that's one thing that I'd like to know. So, alright, you've got no issues. What can I ask you? I'm curious. I'm actually curious about, you know, we don't ever talk about what it's like for you. Maybe I'll tell you about something that's happening with my girlfriend, but I don't ever know what's happening with you. So can I ask you some questions about your relationship with mom, and you can say whatever you want.

Shirley Owens: Of course.

David Wood: Alright, great. So what was it that first drew you to mom? So let's pause it right there. I would maybe just see what I'm curious about. What was it that do you want mom? And what do you most appreciate her about her right now? And what's one thing that she does that bugs you? And I might just get curious and get into his life and ask, this is called the curiosity game. It's a wonderful thing that you can play with anyone who's willing to play, and your dad might actually enjoy being asked some questions like, has she ever frustrated you? A lot of people want it. Well, yeah, let me tell you. So that might be a fun conversation, and then at the end of it, no matter how it went, I would probably thank him for it. And I might enquire into his world. Dad, how is it for you to have me ask you all these questions?

Shirley Owens: Yes.

David Wood: You know? And would it be okay if I do it again sometime? I'm inspired now to do this with my dad. He's over 80 and he had industrial deafness for 30 years, so it's really hard for us to have a phone conversation, but he just got a cochlear implant. So I'm excited, and I think I'm going to play the curiosity game with him and say, let me just ask you a string of questions off the top of my head and see what comes up for it. We'll do it for five minutes and see how it goes. That's another thing he can do with these dads, set a timer.

Shirley Owens: Thinking that might be nice to make almost like a little playful game out of it to start, because then once something is said, then you can dive deeper and more serious into something said.

David Wood: Yeah. So this is an interesting one with George. I guess the tough conversation is actually probably very brief. It's really just, the issue is dad, I want to know more about your relationship with mom. I feel like I want you to let me in more.

Shirley Owens: Yeah.

David Wood: And then I could just switch to step four, and my request is can I ask you a bunch of questions. And then step four would be, how is that for you to hear? And are you willing, and you think about that, and we could talk about that without even getting into the relationship, but just talk about this tough issue for me, George, that would be having the tough conversation. And then if the dad was a yes, boom, then that's a separate conversation. Alright, we'll play the curiosity game right now.

Shirley Owens: Because he feels that his dad won't open up to him, but he's not going to know that. And his dad might even be like, I wish so badly I could have a tough conversation with George and let them know what's going on in my life.

David Wood: Yeah. You never know. See, he can ask his dad. Often what happens is we get attached to the outcome, and we need them to say yes or give us what we want. If we can let go of that and say, well, I'm just going to share myself and my dad will decide what's best for him. Then it's easier to go in and just say, I'm even nervous to ask you about this because you might feel like it's prying, or maybe there are problems and you don't want anybody to know about it. Like, what a wonderful thing to at least talk about that. And your dad might say, yeah, I don't like to talk about that stuff. At least we can relate around that and get shared reality.

Shirley Owens: That's great.

David Wood: We might still have time to do a second one, do you want to bring on the other one?

Shirley Owens: So this is some that I've worked with. It's a husband and wife, and both of them have had extensive coaching, and have had really tough conversations and have learned all of this about expectations versus agreements and everything. And they have an agreement where he is supporting her with her business. And in that agreement he gives her so much time and space to do business and financial, whatever it is that she needs. And then she, in return, does her place at home, and with the kids, and meals and all that. So they have an agreement where she is able to work and create, and then he is still taken care of and doesn't feel like it's taken from the family. But she's been feeling lately--

David Wood: I didn't hear that last bit. He's still taking care?

Shirley Owens: She still feels taken care of.

David Wood: She still feels taken care of, yeah.

Shirley Owens: Because at first when she was diving into her business, he and the kids were suffering because there wasn't a good balance there. It was like all, it was all or nothing.

David Wood: So they've got a deal now?

Shirley Owens: Yeah. So they had made an agreement that she would be able to continue certain aspects of her business as long as while at home, she wasn't as stressed out and she was still doing what she needed to do to keep their home together. So they had made this agreement and she's feeling that she's doing all of her part of the agreement, or a lot of her part of the agreement, and she's not feeling as supported by him, but every time that she brings it up, he's a little on fire about it. Charged, whatever you say. But they have all this training and she just doesn't know how to quite dive into that, and she's just getting more frustrated with figuring out how to talk to him. So we call her Sally, we'll call her Sally.

David Wood: Okay. So my guess is her hope is that they could, firstly, have a loving conversation.

Shirley Owens: Yes.

David Wood: About her desires. That'll be a win. And then maybe a second hope if we imagine Sally filling in the worksheet might be that he would step up more and perhaps do A, B and C around the house to help out. Let's say that's what the hopes are. Her fear, I think I'm hearing her fear is that he might get really charged about it and defensive, and she might not even be able to--

Shirley Owens: Yeah. She's tried to bring it up to him and really she just wants, I think she wants more acknowledgement on how well she's kept to her side of the agreement, and wants to ask him to continue to keep to his side of the agreement where that might be a little more sloppy on that side. But without, they've had so much coaching and she doesn't want to be accusatory, or she doesn't want to tell him that she's having expectations of him keeping the agreement. But just that conversation about, Hey, you may not be keeping your side of the agreement. But the time she brings it up, he just gets very charged and defensive.

David Wood: Right. So this is an accountability conversation, and maybe this is a flashback to what we talked about before, a callback where they're not taking turns possibly. Alright, good, so let's do it. I am Sally and you'll be Tim, who's the partner, and I'm going to use the formula in the case model under A, which is ask permission, a beautiful formula in the download we're going to give you listeners, and the formula goes like this. There's something I haven't brought up because, and you insert your fear, here from the worksheet, but I've decided I do want to bring it up because, and you insert your hope in the worksheet, do you have 10 minutes now? That's the simple formula. So let's start, Hey Tim, I realized there's something I'd been scared to bring up with you. And I think it's because I'm worried that you might feel defensive and attacked, and a lot of emotion, and I may not get heard. I may not be able to actually say it all and be heard. So that's my fear, but I think it's worth bringing up. I've decided I want to talk to you about it because I want to feel closer to you, I want to feel connected. I think I might feel more appreciated out of the conversation, which is a desire I have, and I want more joy in our relationship. Do you have 10 minutes now for me to bring it up?

Shirley Owens: I do. I have 10 minutes.

David Wood: Okay, great. Well, why don't I set a timer to honor that, and at the end of that time, we can either decide to extend or defer it, alright. So I'm going to manage that, I want to honor that time. Setting a timer. So what it is is, and I know we've talked about it before but I want to talk about it better, and my request is that you give me two minutes right now of space and silence for me to get it out because it's a bit hard for me to talk about this, and then I'd like to hear anything you've got to say. Is that okay?

Shirley Owens: Sure.

David Wood: Thank you. Alright, so the issue is, it seems to me, I feel like I'm holding up my end of the agreement that we made. And one thing I would like if I'm honest, is a pat on the back and an acknowledgement of how well I'm doing it. If you believe that, I noticed that's one desire I have. And two, I feel like you are not fully showing up in all areas of agreement, and I have some specific requests. And I had a really important thing I wanted to say in it, it just fell away. So that's one thing, acknowledgement. And two, Oh, and the other thing is, Tim, I'm also realizing maybe the agreement doesn't work for you. Maybe it's something we need to renegotiate so I really am open to talking about it, so I have more to say, I want to talk about how I want to be acknowledged. I have three specific requests that I wrote down that I want to make, but firstly, let me jump to step four right now and inquire, and check how is this for you that I'm even bringing it up. Do you feel open to us talking about it? Do you feel attacked? I really want to know how this is for you. Boom, I switch it over to you.

Shirley Owens: I feel open to talk about it and I can acknowledge that you're doing your part pretty well, but if you don't think that I am doing my part, I do this, this, this, this, all of these things. How do you not see that as me doing my part?

David Wood: Right. Okay, great. So it sounds like we both, what might be really useful is I'd like to share the things I'm doing and have them be acknowledged, and maybe have you tell me what I'm doing, that would be great if you just point out the things and we do a bit of an appreciation round on me, and then I tell you what I think you might've missed, and then maybe you'll appreciate me for that. And then let's switch, I'll do an appreciation round for you, boom, boom, boom, boom. I love these things that you do. What did I miss? And then you tell me, and then boom. So we set right each other with appreciation, and then we might look at requests.

Shirley Owens: I like that.

David Wood: In fact, the logical part of me is now thinking, what if we both each make a list? I'll go and write down all the things that you do that are awesome, and then anything that I would make a request on, and you do the same for me. The things that you've noticed that I do, and anything else that you'd like from me, and let's come together and talk about it and come up with an even better situation than we have now, and love each other up.

Shirley Owens: Yeah, I like that.

David Wood: Alright, great. Let's stop that there. I love where that ended up.

Shirley Owens: Me too. That was really nice. I think that'll be a good way for them to just connect on a different level. And maybe make a new agreement.

David Wood: Yeah. I want to say what happened with the model. We did the clarification, we asked permission and got permission, we shared the issue, and we enquired into the other person's world, and what we discovered is they had a lot of charge and they had desires as well. So great, we got into collaboration in that final step. Let's work together to get what we both need, and we both want to feel appreciated, and we both might want more support from the other person talking out. That's a great thing to relate to.

Shirley Owens: So I feel like everybody, after listening to this today is going to want to go have a difficult conversation. It's just going to happen, all of my listeners, it seems every time I get all these inquiries that saying, Oh, that just really inspired me to go do this. So I know that there are people out there that are inspired to go do this. So I want to ask you two questions, and then I would love for you to tell everybody where they can get the download, and then where they can get in contact with you for their coaching or whatever, and just tell me a little bit about what you do. So my first question is, do you have any regrets in your life? Just something that you regret or wish you would've done differently?

David Wood: Yeah, I really regret the one time in my life that I cheated on my partner when I was 18, I got drunk at a party and had sex with someone, and then the next day was horrified. It was the worst feeling ever. And I confessed, repaired the relationship. We ended up getting married, and I'm still, we're divorced now, but I just went and stayed with her, and her new husband and her six year old child.

Shirley Owens: That's awesome.

David Wood: And I really regret breaking that agreement, and it taught me the value of keeping agreements and renegotiating them when they don't work instead of just breaking them, it's so much better to tell someone ahead of time, this doesn't work for me, I'm not going to do it anymore versus breaking it and creating a betrayal. Yeah, that'd be one of my biggest regrets.

Shirley Owens: I love that you just said that out of all my guests, because something that I've noticed with all of them has been, everybody says, no, because it's made me who I am today. And I am still looking at you and knowing who you are in the world, that did help you to be who you are today. But I love that you just set it on air because that's just another tough conversation, and this is what we've been talking about this whole time and you just stepped up and just said something about yourself that is probably tough to share in the world. So I really loved, Oh, my gosh, I was just the perfect thing that you just shared that just shows who you are. So I love that. The second question I want to ask is just, what is one thing, just one word of advice that you could leave our listeners today that would help them to get what they want out of this conversation? Out of this tough conversation.

David Wood: Yeah. I'm inviting every listener to speak your truth, 30% more than you do now. 30% more speaking who you are, what you're feeling, your requests, your desires, sharing your tolerations. Use the case model to do it, which will give you so much more range and so much more influence with the other person. Speak your truth 30% more, and you don't have to go and share the big scary ones first, go and practice with the little ones. Hey, I want more of this in the bedroom, that'd be okay? Or I wonder if there's something that bugs me a bit, I wonder if you could do it less. Would that do 30% more of that. Because as you practice on the little ones, start to build your confidence in your agency and your leadership, and you'll be more prep when the bigger ones come along.

“Speak your truth 30% more than you do now. It will give you so much more range and so much more influence with the other person.” -David Wood

Shirley Owens: I love it. That's just perfect. So tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you. It'll also be on my website and in our show notes, so let us know how we can get that downloadable. I want to get it today and hand it out to everyone, and also how we can get in contact with you.

David Wood: Yeah. Wonderful, thank you. The website is, not a .com, we're playing a game, but we're playing it for real in this game of life. So, and I have three invitations. The first is download the blueprint, keep it handy and just fill it in. Whenever you're upset with someone, just fill it in, and maybe have the conversation, maybe you don't. It's a free download, and also that'll put you on my email list. I send out about two or three nuggets a week with tips, and videos, and little clips that are gonna support you in being a master at speaking a truth, or mistress. And the second invite is I have a podcast called Tough Conversations with David Wood David Wood, and you'll listen in on some real life demos with people who are struggling with some stuff, and it's quite beautiful. And then the third invite is I coach people who identify as high performers, whether you're a business owner, executive or manager, an athlete, or a leader of some kind. And if something resonated for you in this episode, see if you qualify for a discovery session with me. If you qualify, I don't charge for these sessions, I'll help you create a plan for your life and business or career, and that might be all you need, off you go, but if we both think that coaching could have a big impact, we can talk about setting up coaching. So those are my three invites and you can do all three of those things at

Shirley Owens: That's awesome. Thank you so much. And listeners, I know that David is very well known in this area, and I really feel getting in contact with him, and having that discovery session will be super helpful, so thanks for offering that to us. Thanks so much for being here, you're amazing, and I can't wait to go work with my clients on this new way of having tough conversations.

David Wood: Yeah, you're welcome Shirley, and come and join us on the weekly Zoom call on Friday sometime.

Shirley Owens: Oh, I will.

David Wood: We can role play stuff and just hang out.

Shirley Owens: Awesome. Thanks so much.

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