• Priya Venkatesan

How to overcome internal conflicts?




Raghav (name changed) is a mid-career professional. He has been fairly successful in his career and is now being offered a higher role in his organisation. The role will require him to manage people who were his peers for so long. While he is very happy to have been considered for the role based on his capability, he is worried that the peer equation is going to change. He could lose their friendship or they could become un-cooperative. He keeps thinking about it all day long and is unable to enjoy his elevation. In every meeting that his peers are joining, he keeps debating what would they be thinking? This makes him lose his presence and his power. He is not able to assert himself and get things moving.

Internal conflicts are conflicts we have within ourselves. They are majorly of two different types:



a. Conflicts between two parts of us wanting two different things. In the above example, a part of Raghav values his promotion and wants to make it count and another part of him values his friendship with peers and wants good relationships.







b. Self doubt (conflict of worth) that causes us to feel like we are undeserving of our role/status, most popularly called the imposter syndrome. (Will be covered in my forthcoming blogs.)








Internal conflicts are within our control to resolve and we have the ability to regain our power.


The typical symptoms of having internal conflict are:



  1. Voices in your head occupying/paralysing you with different opinions.











Procrastination on activities that you should have done yesterday.











Dis-ease & Stress in any part of the body generally on the the line between brain, heart & gut.













Let's look at how we can approach conflict within parts of ourself.



In olden days, people used to drive chariots/carts that animals used to pull. Most often there are 2 or more animals doing the job. Each animal may like to pull the cart their way without the charioteer/master. The Master has the reins to control them, but most often he/she also gives-in a little to allow the animal to stop at some places or take rest/ food or take a detour. Resolving conflicts within ourselves has a lot in common with this metaphor. Below is one way to handle conflicts between parts.




1. Quieten yourself internally and identify/listen to the seat of conflict. Most often, the typical parts in conflict are your head, heart and gut.

  • Your gut tells you an instinctive opinion ( gut instinct). In Raghav's case - "My peers are going to be disappointed and not cooperate with me."

  • Your heart tells you an emotional opinion (feelings) - “I will feel sad if I will lose this healthy friendship with my peers/ I will feel sad if I fail"

  • Your head tells you a rational opinion ( logical ) - “You will have to take the hit to grow."


2. As the master of all the three parts, you need to decide what is the most beneficial and harmonious decision for you. Let's say like in the Kungfu panda movie - I give you a scroll where the best decision is written. Without thinking too much, what do you hope could be written there? That would give you a hint of the direction of the decision.













3. When you know what you want - you need to broker peace among all all your parts. This is because all they are doing is to get you to see/hear different perspectives. Once they feel seen/heard, it's easier to integrate. Ask each of the parts what do they need if you were to take a decision that you arrived in step 2? As an example: this could mean that Raghav goes out of his way to speak with his peers and draws clear boundaries that can work well for both.


The way to know you have done this well is when you feel

  1. Energy shifting for the better

  2. Light

  3. Your judgement is not clouded.

What if you don't have conflicts inside? What more can you be? What more can you accomplish?


#executive coaching #leadershipcoaching #conflict #power













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