What’s a “Perfect Discussion” and Should We Really Want Them?

My friends and I have been talking about how often we have “perfect discussions.” For us, a perfect discussion consists of a few specific things:

  • The most perfect thing to say in the moment
  • In the exact moment when it should be said
  • With no regrets afterward (or very few, or of another kind)
  • Sometimes they have a finality that redirects a relationship — or closes it altogether
  • It may create a path of life-changing circumstances
  • We want to set the record straight about our perspective on an issue (although there are perfect discussions that explore more than one side of an issue, they are called “co-regulated discussions”)
  • We realize there are emotions connected to it on both sides, but somehow, we are able to control or disconnect our hottest emotions from our statements so that we don’t damage others

We all agreed that these discussions happen very rarely, but they are ones that you remember forever. We don’t seem to be the ones having the discussion; rather, the discussion seems to have us.

I can remember 2–3 of these in my entire life and one in particular that was so exactly perfect that it closed the chapter on a working relationship.

These discussions are full of emotion, and yet, the emotional control inside ourselves within the discussion is largely contained, measured, and well-regulated to have a maximum effect at the moment, and not hurt others.

The “perfect discussion” I remember most vividly was presented by me in a calm manner, yet the words that were chosen contained such truth by my higher self that I still, to this day, marvel at the exchange. There was so much emotional intensity in this one interaction — on both sides of the discussion. And yet, it was the putting aside of my emotional intensity in the moment to think straight, to quickly judge the situation, and to analyze/determine the complete set of thoughts on both sides of the interaction almost in an instant that would lead to the best outcome for all. The result of this one particular discussion was for me to resign. Think later, but resign immediately.

And whereas I would have loved to have laid this at the feet of my own strategic thinking prowess, I must be truthful and say I still have such a long way to go in this area, that it humbles me to have had this experience. It really had nothing to do with my OWN strategic thinking, but with the strategic thinking of one of my mentors that happened three days before my own perfect discussion. In this case, my mentor shook me to my core the weekend before my discussion by telling me how disappointed he was in me. “Can you truthfully not see how this is going to play out? Are you going to stay for another 2 years, another 4 years? Because, frankly, nothing is going to change! If you can’t see this as the case, then my belief in your abilities has ended.” Ouch! We then walked away from each other and got back into our cars to drive away. I was crestfallen. He didn’t believe in me anymore. How had I changed?

A lot of soul-searching went into my thinking from that point on. Little did I realize that I was approaching my “perfect discussion” though. And yet, as soon as the crux of the discussion was at hand, the preliminary words inside the discussion triggered a tug o’ war inside my head. I heard my mentor’s voice reverberating inside me: “Are you going to stay for another 2 years, another 4 years? Because, frankly, nothing is going to change! If you can’t see this as the case, then my belief in your abilities has ended.”

I then had to make a decision on my own worth: Who WAS I anyway? Who did I believe I was? Was I who my mentor thought I could be, or who others in the room thought I was? In this moment — CHOOSE!

Then I calmly sat down beside the other people in the room and delivered the perfect discussion which ended my involvement in the company. We had other discussions on subsequent days, but this was THE perfect discussion. I was articulate somehow, caring yes, but there was some form of finality in the discussion.

I had chosen well — but well beyond what I thought I was capable of choosing. Somehow, I believed in who I could become.

Years later, my mentor (who is still my mentor — thankfully) told me, “I didn’t know how you were going to take that comment and I thought, ‘Have I pushed her over the edge? Did I do damage to her or to our relationship?’ I knew you were capable of so much more. And I wasn’t willing to let you die on the vine. I wanted you to reach way down inside yourself to the ‘you’ I KNEW was there. You needed to see what I saw and I didn’t think you could see it without that final comment. I know it hurt you to hear it — and now I can say how very sorry I am that I needed to say it. You had lost so very much of yourself in that position. I’m very grateful we got to have this discussion today because it takes our relationship full circle.” For him, and for me, this small whirlwind contained three “perfect discussions.”

“Perfect discussions” happen very rarely in life, but they will be brewing nonetheless. You will usually notice one coming up because you feel of two minds on a subject, and you don’t know what to think or do. Take notice of the thoughts — your ability to be yourself is at stake. Maybe you need to ask others you trust to think about what is holding you back from having the discussion. Take their thinking into account — let them and your own thoughts ruminate inside you for a while if possible. Be thoughtful. Do not choose NOT to have the discussion, but step into it. When the time is right for the “perfect discussion”, you will know and you will be true to yourself. You will have stepped even further into the core YOU, who can do amazing things in life if just given the chance. Life is made up of many things, and “perfect discussions” have a distinct place in our lives — they free us up to be our authentic selves and to become the fodder that can help us grow ever stronger in our callings toward true clarity in our life purposes.