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Not for profit communications, Therapy, Uncategorized

10 Conversations That Have Changed Me

One-on-one conversation is probably my most preferred form of communication. Especially if there’s coffee involved! And many such conversations have had a lasting impact and provided opportunities to learn and grow.  Here are such 10 conversations that have changed me.

1. My mum telling with great empathy that there were ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ – after I’d been unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend. She was right – but most importantly, she was kind.

2. Over coffee, Indigenous leader Paul Briggs providing me with a glimpse into what it might be like to grow up with people crossing the street to avoid you – a child.

3. My psychotherapist telling me I was ‘lovely’ at my ‘final’ session (turned out to be a break). Wow, if she truly meant that after everything she’d heard about me – maybe, just maybe, I was! Lovely is now one of my very favorite and intentionally frequently used words.

4. A young woman telling me the best thing about working with me was ‘the confidence I’d shown in her’. It’s given me more confidence to be a better manager and mother – and reinforced my understanding of the value of promoting self esteem in both myself and others.

5. Confirming with my son when he started making inquiries that he had Asperger Syndrome – and ending the conversation with a High Five!

6. In another recent conversation, helping him understand that it was okay to be a “round peg in a square hole” (his words) – that he wasn’t alone in feeling or being this way – and that my job as his mum was to shape a world that fitted better around him – not the other way around.

7. Not exactly a conversation – more an ‘inner dialogue’ – taking on board deeply the Dalai Lama’s message to Never Give Up. I often reinforce this message with my kids, and they seem to get it.

8. One of my last conversations with my mother a few months before she died – tackling the tough stuff and not running away from it. Leaving nothing unsaid. No regrets.

9. My CEO telling me “I’d changed the way we communicate as an organisation,” – which has given me more courage to keep on trying to make it better.

10. Too many conversations with my husband David to single out just one. I often forget to take advantage of his great capacity for deep conversation and insight. When I do it’s always enlightening, always honest. Always, ah ha!

What conversations have changed you?


About Di from the Y

Dianne McDonald is Executive Manager of Communications with YMCA Australia, and a parent of two primary school aged children, one with additional needs (Asperger Syndrome). She has a strong interest in sharing life's learnings with others.


6 thoughts on “10 Conversations That Have Changed Me

  1. A frank conversation with one of my travel buddies early into our trip, as we were having trouble getting along. Even after 15 years of friendship I hadn’t realised how different we are as people, until we travelled. She helped me to understand more about myself, to be patient and considerate. I love her for that.

    Posted by Jaimee | May 27, 2012, 7:00 am
  2. Di, a ‘lovely’ piece from you – as always, you are so open, and this makes it all the more inspiring. I remember a conversation that I had with my sister when I was recovering from a broken heart after a relationship ended. She told me that ‘happiness is the sweetest revenge’. It helped me focus on the future of my life, rather than looking back. I have taken this with me into so many situations – learning that bitterness & sadness is not something I want to hold on to as I deal with the ups and downs in life. I am going to take your Dalai Lama’s thought away with me today – thanks so much. Caroline

    Posted by Caroline | May 28, 2012, 12:25 am
  3. When I first started working for the Y at Melbourne Youth Justice Centre – I was listening to a conversation between a volunteer i had taken into youth justice and a young indigenous person. The young man thanked the woman for “coming inside to see me – can you come again at Christmas” (i later learned that was his first vistor that he had in 9 months of being locked up) it certainly out my life into perspective and made me realise the small things we can do can make a big impact in someones life

    Posted by Sherilyn | May 29, 2012, 1:07 pm
  4. Wow. That’s a heartbreaking story and a powerful one, all in one. My mum always smiled at everyone. I try and follow her suit. It doesn’t cost a thing, and certainly makes me feel better to be open in that small but important way.

    Posted by Di from the Y | July 9, 2012, 11:20 am

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