1.) Ground yourself. When lightning strikes, lightning rods take the electrical current and run it harmlessly to the ground. So, too, can you take the jolts and divert them harmlessly away if you have a well-constructed foundation of core values that you adhere to. Having designed a personal mission and business statement that clearly articulates who you are and where you are going will help provide guidance and direction before the conflict even occurs. The old country song says it best, "If you don't stand for something, then you'll fall for anything."
2.) Look for warning signs. Be in touch with who you are. Part of handling conflict is to be aware of your own personal strengths and weaknesses, your beliefs and perceptions and how they shape your response. For instance, if you perpetually run behind and you've got an important date, leave a little earlier than normal so that if you encounter traffic, you won't lose your cool and overreact. Build "fluff" into schedules. Likewise, set realistic deadlines for yourself and others or attempt to avoid those situations or people that cause the un-needed stress/conflict in your life.
3.) Stay in control. Recognize that when you're dealing with people, not everyone will live up to your expectations all of the time. Reframe the stressful situation to keep your composure. Instead of overreacting when someone flames you on the boards or acts like an "ass" at work, look for opportunities to be "nice" and stay positive, their intention is to create a reaction – don't give it to them, instead raise the bar. Don't sink to their level. When you lie down with dogs you get fleas.
4.) Keep a positive outlook. If you expect good things to happen, they will. Conversely, if you expect bad things to happen, you better believe you won't be disappointed. Your attitude will govern your response. If you continually leak bad feelings and language on the boards or to co-workers do not be surprised when it is returned. Hate is a waste of your valuable time.
5.) Maintain a sense of humor. Learn to laugh – harder and more frequently. Remember how hysterically upset some people can get and how comical it is. Don't let your boorish behavior provide comic relief for someone else. Laugh it off. In setting a higher standard the comments made or actions against you are shown for what they really are – spiteful and childish.
6.) Establish ground rules. When conflict happens, set goals for how to resolve it. What would happen if we don't fix this? What would a successful resolution look like? Look for common ground. Keep focused on a positive, solution-based outcome. Perhaps the only thing you can agree on is to agree to disagree, but do it in an agreeable manner. If you do not accomplish this that the time you pour into it will ultimately affect your success whether it be financial or physical.
7.) Drill down to the roots. Try to find the cause of the disease instead of just treating the symptoms. What is causing the conflict and why are you reacting the way you are? Everyone involved in the conflict needs to agree on a definition of the problem before the problem can be tackled. This could mean describing the problem in terms of each person's needs. There's an old saying that a problem well defined is already half solved. If you come across anyone not wishing to do so, then keep emotion out of the equation and simply resolve within yourself that hopefully within time they will reach a point of maturity that they will – but until then, you will move on.
8.) Think win-win. In conflict, one party does not have to win and the other loses. Sometimes disagreement will lead to a more effective solution. A good decision is often reached when everyone gives a little. To change is not to lose your own identity. As a matter of fact, by changing you find yourself. And you find others. The only way to find a solution that benefits all sides is to learn more about each other. It beats a power struggle any day, and keep in mind that each day you should be a better person than the last. This may also be a personal growth time.
9.) Eliminate emotions. Separate your feelings from the problem. When your emotions get mixed up in the conflict, the outcome is in doubt. Emotions color your perceptions and your logic and cloud the rational thinking that is essential to arriving at a solution.
10.) Brainstorm. There might be a variety of solutions if everyone is focused on a positive outcome and engaged in the process. Challenge yourself and others to be creative about the possibilities available to you.
11.) Concentrate on what you can control. What should you take ownership of and fix? What falls under your sphere of influence? What impact will you have on the desired outcome? Learn to focus your attention and activities, where you can make a difference. Don't get caught up in areas beyond your control. You've got to learn to let go of those.
12.) Take action. Once you've arrived at a win-win solution, accept it and implement it. Don't second-guess. Make sure each person takes responsibility for agreeing with the decision and following through.
When we accept and understand conflict, we allow ourselves to grow, change, and to be empowered. Family may never resolve the fact you work in porn – that is their choice, but the decision or choice to accept or reject is a right they must have. Lying or withholding truth means you are attempting to control those around you. By manipulation you have created a world around you of friends that are false because they do not know the "true" you.
In admitting you do not want to tell anyone (family, girl/boy friends or friends) may suggest you have feelings of guilt or embarrassment in who are you are a person. Stating that they are simply not mature enough to handle the news is yet another way of controlling how they think of you and that you are not giving them the chance to grow and learn from the experience. This is how the world sees us, not because of what we do, but because they have no other information other than what Hollywood and movies tell them. Once they realize that their neighbor, brother, sister or friend works in porn and surprisingly isn't what the media makes us out to be – the change will begin.
Acknowledging that this is the direction and job category you want means you first have to accept within yourself that you work in Porn. You need to come to terms with it yourself so that you can share that knowledge with others in your family or friends on how you decided this path.
Those who have children around have a more difficult decision. I have found those within the industry are more strict when it comes to having any child know of their work – while others proudly walk through malls and stadiums with "Pornstar" or an adult webmaster T-shirt boldly showing their allegiance to a board or company. What that teaches me is this.
We do have a responsibility to each other and to those who look in on us – to train younger webmasters and those who work in the industry a more ethical and proper way of doing business. In addition as the world becomes more hostile towards the adult industry, we have a choice of joining together to train them, or simply scatter by fighting amongst ourselves. Military leaders will tell you that to win a war – divide and conquer is the best assault. Sadly, we are already doing it to ourselves. The adult industry is the only army I know of that shoots its own wounded. We attack one another on the boards, in person and to each other.
To accomplish victory of stress and conflict within the industry we have to follow the steps above on how to work together properly while presenting a unified front to the world. Shame and hostility have no place in anyone's life – family or otherwise.
After all this is a business, it is a billion dollar industry! We can easily make more money if we shift the attention from ourselves and back onto the content and strategies that made it successful from the beginning. Playboy's Hugh Hefner is a prime example of character under conflict. He showed himself as a "playboy" not as a "player."
Hugh's classy demeanor brought positive accolades worldwide. He was interviewed on talk shows, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, etc. always showing respect for women, the industry and those working in it. He had no shame in what he did, instead he was proud. Those who disagreed were allowed, too, but never did he assault them. Rather, he left them to mature themselves if they wished too. His legacy was that it was not his concern that everyone loved him, but that he loved and respected everyone.
The conflicts arising merely from "egos, self-worth and greed" show a lack of concern for each other and the overall well being of the industry. Take a page from Hefner and the likes of him, who have grown old with the industry with class and resolve for who they are.