As many of you already know, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith sat down on Jada’s show, Red Table Talk, this past week to open up about the reality of their relationship.

If you haven’t watched it, you can watch the 13 minute discussion on Facebook here, but you don’t really need to in order to understand the insights below.

In the Red Table Talk, Jada used the word “entanglement” as a synonym for “relationship.” In this article, I’ll be using the word “entanglement” to mean conflict or sticky situations in our personal or professional lives.

Ok, so many of you are probably thinking, “I don’t care about Will and Jada and what they have going on.”  Well, this really isn’t about Will and Jada.  Their experience demonstrates how the “entanglement” of our personal and professional lives is inevitable in some way, shape, or form. The solution is not to keep our personal and professional lives completely separated. The solution is to figure out how to fuse the two in a healthy and beneficial way.

So, let’s talk about how to do that in conflict resolution at home or at work! ?

Obviously, the growth process can be MESSY and difficult to navigate at times (as shown by Will and Jada).  One way or another, we’re bound to find ourselves in controversial “entanglements” in life. But, we don’t have to be afraid of these situations! Will and Jada took some KEY actions that you can follow when you face “entanglements” (conflicts or sticky situations) in your personal or professional lives.

1) Choose Your Battles Carefully

If you notice, Will and Jada talked about how they originally tried NOT to address the situation when it was being brought into the media.  They wanted to stay silent on the matter.  They did this because they understood that they should choose their battles wisely.

Not everything is worth making a fuss over.  Some things are.  In this particular case, they decided that this was a battle worth fighting, so they opened up to address it.

Having trouble deciding if a battle is worth fighting? Here are some starter questions to help you answer that for yourself:

  • What do I stand to gain by addressing this issue?
  • What do I stand to lose or damage by addressing this issue?
  • What do my loved ones or relevant others stand to gain if I address this issue?
  • What do my loved ones or relevant others stand to lose if I address this issue?
  • Based on the details of the situation, the people involved, and my relationship with the people, does resolution seem likely if I do address the issue?
  • How much time, energy, or money will it take to address the issue? Can I afford to spare that time, energy, or money?
  • Is the issue a one-time thing, or has it repeatedly been a problem?
  • Is this issue something I need to address for character, integrity, or value reasons?

2) Pick the Right Time, Place, and Approach to Address

When you decide the battle is worth fighting, the next step is deciding the best time and place to address the situation.  Just because a battle is worth fighting doesn’t mean that you should fight it anytime, anywhere, any way.  You have to be strategic and mindful of whether your approach will actually help or hurt the situation.

Identifying the right time, place, and approach can be tricky sometimes, so here are some starter questions you can use to identify the best way to address the issue:

  • How serious is the conflict or issue?
  • Is the issue time sensitive?
  • Have I gathered the relevant data or proof (if possible) that I need to demonstrate the validity of my concerns?
  • Is there a process in place to deal with this kind of issue?
  • Who is involved in the issue?
  • Who should be involved in addressing the issue?
  • What are the personalities and behavioral traits of the people involved in this issue? Knowing their character and communication styles, how can I address the issue in a way that they are most likely to understand and respond to?
  • How busy are the relevant individuals? What do they have on their plates? What would be the best time to bring the issue to their attention?
  • Have I expressed my concerns in writing to the appropriate and relevant individuals?
  • Have I addressed the issue privately with the relevant individual(s)?
  • Have I addressed the issue in the proper ways but haven’t been properly seen or heard? What other measures should I take?

3) Own Your Narrative

Now, it’s a little up in the air about whether Jada actually owned up to the situation, but that’s another discussion for another day. ?

The point is, Jada and Will decided to address the situation on their terms, in the way of their choosing.  Because they believed that this battle was worth fighting, they refused to stay silent and let others paint a picture of their situation.  They took control, owned their narrative, and gave the world something to discuss on their (Will and Jada’s) terms.

Don’t let others paint your picture for you.