Lions don’t have the five steps. Don’t be a lion.

Every year, people all over the world promise that this year will be different. They’ll be happier at work, healthier in their daily lives and spend more time with family. At SIYLI, we know that you can achieve these goals with a few mindful practices. Make 2013 the best year for you and your family by becoming the best you possible.

We’ve established in our blogs that happy is our default setting as human beings. So why is it so hard to reset your emotional state? Studies have shown that the way you think can actually alter your brain chemistry.

What does this mean? It means that thinking negatively can actually train you to be negative. Luckily, it also means that thinking positively can affect your brain too. So how do you turn a negative outlook into a positive outlook? The answer is SIYLI.

A great way to promote happiness is to learn that difficult conversations at work are necessary and not nearly as stressful when you’re mindfully prepared. Difficult conversations are, as you might imagine, conversations that are hard to have. They are often important, but because they are hard, we would usually rather avoid them. Two classic examples of these conversations in the workplace are asking for a raise and giving a valued employee critical feedback.

Conducting difficult conversations is a skill, an extremely useful one, indeed. There are five steps to conducting a difficult conversation:

1. Prepare by walking through the “three conversations.” In every conversation, there are actually three conversations going on. They are the content conversation (“What happened?”), the feelings conversation (“What emotions are involved?”), and the identity conversation (“What does this say about me?”).

2. Decide whether to raise the issue. What do you hope to accomplish by raising this issue? Is it a productive intention (for example, to solve a problem, to help somebody develop themselves) or is it a nonproductive intention (for example, just wanting to get someone to do something “your way”)?

3. Start from the objective “third story.” The “Third Story” is the way things happened from the perspective of a third- party who is aware of the whole situation and observing. Use statements like “I observed….”, describe what you saw. When you do this, people see the conversation as a way to address this together, instead of you versus them.

4. Explore their story and yours. Empathize. Explore how you each perceive the same situation differently. Reframe the stories from one of blame and accusation to one of learning about how each contributes to the situation and the emotions involved.

5. Problem solve. Invent solutions that meet each side’s most important concerns and interests. Find ways to continue keeping communications open and taking care of each other’s interests.

Once you prepare your steps, you’ll feel confident. Confidence inspires trust in others and will help you accomplish your goals. When you aren’t afraid to speak up, even when the subject is awkward, you’ll feel happier about your job and your place in the company.

If you’d like more tips on being happy at work, visit our website, where we offer free MP3 exercises to help you get happy and fulfilled this year.

Be prepared to listen.

SIYLI Suggestion: This year, make a resolution to have a difficult conversation using the five steps. Ask for a raise, discuss how to improve the company. Let us know how it goes!