Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Change the Conversation

Guest Blogger: Nancy Oelklaus

Journey From Head to Heart: Living and Working AuthenticallySometimes we lapse into complaining, critical conversation just because everyone else is doing it. You know how these conversations work–someone expresses an opinion, and others join. It’s party conversation.

At a party last year a friend asked, “What have you been up to?” I answered, “I’m writing a book about excellent Texas school districts.” Her response was, “Are there any?” I said, “I’m writing about ten of them, and there are many more.” But by then her attention had gone to another person in the room. She was finished with the conversation. She had made her shot and moved on.

It’s in vogue to be critical of public schools these days. But I’m looking at the data that shows steady improvement since the early 90’s, even in the face of increasing diversity and population. Now I’m working with a group to discover how we can communicate this information to change the conversation.

Now think about your life. In conversations, does anything make you uneasy? Are you hearing complaining, critical conversations? Are you participating in them? If so, your life will be happier and more peaceful if you follow this process:

  1. Ask, “How important is it?” Don’t give your energy to everything; be choosy. Make sure it really matters.
  2. Ask, “What is the truth?” You may need to get more information, as I am doing. This takes time.
  3. Once you have determined it is important and you have the information you need, speak up. Lift your voice–not in anger, but in the spirit of truth.

Thus, you will have changed the conversation. Once you start, keep doing it.

I help people change. Learn how at

About the Author

Nancy Oelklaus

Nancy Oelklaus is a personal life coach based in Austin, Texas and the author of Journey From Head to Heart: Living and Working Authentically as well as Alphabet Meditations for Teachers and co-author of Rewriting Life Scripts, with Liliane Desjardins and Irene Watson.

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