It’s a tight situation, full of tension and conflict. All eyes turn to you as a leader, or as a key member of the team. Problem is, your own blood is boiling or at least your heart is pounding. You know you need to respond in a calm, measured way. But, truth be told, you are worried about what is going to come out of your mouth next. How do you say – and do – the right thing when conflict is high and the pressure is on? How do you respond in a Blue Zone manner?
When we are thriving through and not just surviving conflict, we speak of living in the Blue Zone.
The Blue Zone allows us to have conflict, even heated conflict, around ideas, values, mission, and strategy. While Red Zone (unhealthy) conflict moves us away from the team, Blue Zone conflict moves us beyond the team to a common purpose. The Blue Zone begins when you become aware of your own Red Zone and acknowledge it as your problem, not anyone else’s.
Creating the Blue Zone is essentially the life work of anyone who aspires to lead a deeply meaningful life. It requires that we are completely honest with ourselves and all of those around us in identifying our own core issues, which lead to conflict.
The Blue Zone is the willingness to accept responsibility for all our behavior and the consequences of that behavior. It is where we simply refuse to shift responsibility for our own actions to any person, institution or thing.
When we are living life in the Blue Zone we:
-observe our own reactions in the midst of conflict
-identify our own core issues which are being triggered
-decide on an alternative response
And we do this again and again, refusing to lapse into the Red Zone.
We can’t control what happens to us, but we CAN choose how we respond – this is the main characteristic of life in the Blue Zone: purposeful, mindful, self-aware response to conflict which allows us to live in a way consistent with our values.