Personal and Career Development: How to Negotiate for Anything

Posted By: Shauna  //  Category: Career, Personal Development

Part of personal development and of creating a life you are ecstatic with – and that’s always our goal! – is learning to get what you want.

Negotiating, like sales, is a skill we all use to some extent every day. We may think of these as skills or tactics used only by business people or salespeople, but in nearly every interaction there is some of one or both required. For instance, every time you see your boss and have a casual conversation you are performing a little salesmanship, trying to put forth a certain image and impression. Every time you talk with your kids about something that needs to be done – going to bed, doing their homework, etc. – you are negotiating. Your style of negotiating may be dictatorial or it may be wishy-washy, but you are still negotiating. You may even do a little selling there too (‘if you do x, Mommy will do y’)!

While in truth negotiating skills are gained and refined over a lifetime, and the possible tactics would (and do) take up many books’ worth of pages, there are certain basics we can cover here. Following are some of the more important keys to successful negotiating – those which leave you with a) what you want, b) happiness, satisfaction and integrity.

One major concept in negotiating is win/win. As author Stephen Covey tells us in his classic book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ ‘Win/win is not a technique; it’s a total philosophy of human interaction.’ Wanting everyone to ‘win’ at the negotiation table means thinking in terms of higher solutions. It’s not selfish and not unselfish – it’s holistic. It means creating solutions which work in everyone’s best interest – no caving in for anyone and no walking away feeling used or abused. Many, many people fall to one side or the other because of self-esteem or other issues. For instance, many people either get bossy or manipulative in relationships to get their way, while others allow things to happen that are not good for them because they don’t have the nerve or the confidence to speak up. This happens of course not just in personal relationships but those of all sorts – interactions with people at work, people trying to sell or convince us of something and more.

Another important caveat is to know your desired outcome and what you will and will not be flexible about. This means being clear about you want before you begin discussions, and at the same remaining open for optimum, alternate solutions. All good negotiations require openness and give and take, and you must be prepared to make some concessions, or ideally to propose new solutions where no one has to make concessions. If everyone is working on genuinely creative and positive solutions, often new, unexpected outcomes will occur that are even better than anticipated. As mentioned, however, be clear about what you are after going in, and don’t be willing to settle for less; different and possibly better, yes – less, NO.

One last tip is to know as much as you can about the ‘other’ side before beginning. Try and learn what you can about the person or party with whom you’ll be negotiating so you can empathize with what their concerns are. Understanding the perspective of the other party also helps you handle emotional reactions on both sides with care and more patience than you otherwise would. There may be something of deep concern to them that, if addressed, could make everything go smoothly. This issue may not even be a big deal for you at all, but knowing that it is to them can make all the difference in how you approach things – it may even save the day!

Do You Think You’re Awesome?

Posted By: Shauna  //  Category: Conscious Creation

Do you approve of yourself and think you are a good, worthy person? In your opinion, are you more or less worthy of your dreams than other people? More than the jerk around the corner, but maybe less than Oprah?

I’d be willing to bet that you may feel less worthy than you should, because sadly we all do it. We are harder on ourselves than we should be, and we wonder why we can’t attract wonderful things…

We try and teach our kids to have high self-esteem, yet often we do not have loads of it ourselves. How can we model something we do not feel? I remember reading once about a fabulous parent who taught her child respect by respecting herself. She would say to her daughter, ‘I respect myself and therefore I won’t allow you to talk to me that way.’ She didn’t demand respect, she demonstrated it…a far deeper and more effective lesson, I would guess. I was so impressed with this, and the more I read and the more I learn I see that many of our problems, especially when it comes to lack of abundance – of love, of money, of anything that is important to us – stem from feeling we are somehow not worthy.

Now where would we get such ideas? Do you believe you feel this way somewhere inside?

Perhaps on the surface of things you think you have great self-esteem; you feel happy generally, you are liked by others and don’t worry too much about what people think. Great! Here are a few questions and suggestions for exploring whether this issue actually affects you, and to help you think about where these thoughts may have come from:

  • When you try something new or unfamiliar, what kind of words do you hear in your head? If you do not meet your expectations when trying something, what do you honestly say to yourself? You may be surprised at how much you beat yourself up, even though you may simultaneously try and console yourself. The field of psychology tells us that the voices in our heads in such situations are usually ‘old tapes’ running from things we heard when we were kids, and unless you had spectacularly effective and positively encouraging parents, these tapes are not always good for our self-esteem. If you ever call yourself stupid, or are embarrassed, or have regrets, or hang on to hurts you feel were done to you, you may have lower than optimal self-esteem. You don;t feel great about who you are in the world, and take your learning experiences with humour and gratitude and self-love. Luckily this can be remedied, because you are a truly fantastic person who just needs to be more aware of it (I promise!). Everything you do makes perfect sense for you, and there are no mistakes. Consider your whole life as you would a child learning to walk, and give yourself a break. Have fun, lighten up, encourage yourself (if you don’t, who will?…), and be a good friend to your fine self.
  • Are you impatient, easily frustrated, or easily discouraged? Do you think there may be something wrong with you? Are you to slow, or too old, or too young, or not of the right cultural background to fulfill your dreams? These are all either limiting beliefs or symptoms of not believing in yourself and all that you are capable of. (Related helpful article: Finding Limiting Beliefs) Impatience can seem like confidence, but often masks an inability to have faith and see things through in a longer-term plan. We lack the trust in ourselves and the Universe to just KNOW that things will work out as they should, and we want to force the issue because we are afraid ‘it’ will never happen. When we do not feel we are capable or worthy, we hold our dreams away or give up on them entirely. Oh, what a sad state of affairs! Luckily, many, many tools exist to help you relax and just BE the person you are; to accept your exact self and love your life. This doesn’t mean you have to accept everything in your life, as people fear…instead it empowers you to choose differently from a place of confidence.
  • Are you critical of others? Are you afraid of meeting people, or speaking in public? Do you worry about what you wear or drive or do for a living, more than you enjoy the actual experiences of getting out into a beautiful day, talking to and learning about people, helping others with your knowledge and experiences, smiling and chatting, wearing things that make you comfortable and happy, feeling a breeze on your face? When we worry about what others think we are discounting our own lives and our own opinions. More importantly, we are not being authentically ourselves and thus not sharing ourselves with others in a meaningful way. When you can enjoy your life experiences every day (fully thinking about yourself and how you like things, not worrying about appearances) AND take pleasure in meeting others and thinking about THEM instead of yourself, you have an appropriate balance. This means taking care of yourself and coming from a place of happiness and completeness as you go out into the world. In this state, you would not allow anyone to take advantage of you (a fear many have) because you respect and love yourself; you can open up and just listen and learn and enjoy your interactions.

These are just a few thoughts that came to me today. Life is indeed precious and short, as we all see whenever we lose someone dear. Our joy is to be had in the everyday things, and the time in which to create and attract a life you love is shorter than you may realize. Love yourself, KNOW that you are a fantastic, beautiful creation, and enjoy every moment! Call your dreams to you like the creator you are, and shine like a light of inspiration for those around you. No more hesitating or thinking thoughts of unworthiness…there isn’t enough time…and you are AWESOME!

finding joy