Piano Lessons: Avoiding Communication Discord

Contributed by Betsy Butterick - Founding Partner of Success for Teams and The Coaches Coach & Communication Specialist at Butterick Creative Consulting

“Life is like a piano. The white keys represent happiness and the black keys anguishes. Over time you realize that the black keys also make music.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

For a long time I self-described as someone who “hated confrontation”. I avoided difficult conversations for the same reasons many of us do; because they can be challenging, and sometimes they’re hurtful, and mostly because for me they were very, very unpracticed.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Until age 24 I’d spent most of my life only playing the white keys when it came to communication. I avoided the black keys - what I thought was discord - without realizing that only by engaging with them could there be harmony.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Imagine telling Beethoven or Chopin or Rachmaninoff that they could only play the white keys! Without the black keys these men could not become Master pianists.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Similarly, until we can skillfully engage in conflict and confrontation we cannot master the art of communication.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

We must practice - only by learning all the keys can we make conversational melodies.