Archive for February, 2015

My journey to mediation – from a single snowflake to an avalanche
February 6, 2015

My journey started with a business partner telling me that a decision had been made. I had not been consulted, just told and, to me, it felt like I was being bull-dozed and bullied in a direction that was not of my choosing and that I did not want. And, what’s more, as my husband will tell you – I don’t like being told!

Now, I consider myself to be a good communicator, however, despite my best efforts, the other party decided to plough on and refused to discuss matters. I’m sure they had good reasons for their decision but I didn’t know what they were. And, to be honest I’m not proud of this – at the time, that lack of consultation resulted in me becoming stubborn. ‘How dare they!’ I thought.

And so, from that single snowflake of disagreement the dispute started to snowball, gathering momentum and weight, until it turned into an avalanche, destroying a lot of things in its path.

I already knew that the biggest failure in any negotiation is the failure to negotiate – and now I was experiencing it first hand.

At first I resisted getting solicitors involved. Surely we could sort this out. Wrong!

Solicitors became involved. Letters and emails went backwards and forwards for a number of years. I’m sure you can imagine how much this was costing both of us financially. And, it was all-consuming emotionally.

We were now both clear losers in this situation.

Mediation was suggested a few times. I didn’t know then exactly what it involved but was willing to give it a go. I guess I was curious about how it works too, if I’m honest.

Eventually, when the stakes became exceptionally high, the other party agreed to give it a go too. Deadlines really do prompt decisions!

I found that the process of mediation worked really well. We both got a result that we could live with. The situation that had been dragging on and on was finally closed. We would never be friends but we could move on with our lives. What a relief!

I have found throughout my life that I learn the most when I have made mistakes. So, as a result of going through this experience I learned a lot and decided to do something constructive with that knowledge! I trained as a mediator – to help other people when they are stuck so that they too can move on with their lives.

Each snowflake is different and interesting if you examine them carefully. Different points of view are too. But they need to be discussed in a productive way to avoid an avalanche of stress.