Negotiate Your Life: Part III – Negotiating With Yourself

I’ve said if before, I’ll say it again.

All of life is a negotiation. It may be the most important skill you learn.

This  ‘Negotiate Your Life’ series is designed to get you thinking about how you can take control to negotiate the life you want and deserve. So it’s not surprising that in exploring how to best negotiate your life, I’ve mentioned the importance of negotiating with yourself. People have asked me to expand on that idea. So here goes.

We’ve talked about the various relationships you negotiate on a daily basis – whether with your kids, your partner, your boss or employees. It makes sense that before you can refine those negotiations, the most important negotiation to master is with yourself. And so, that’s where you need to start.

The good news is that you can apply the same skill set we’ve been talking about to tackle your primary negotiation with yourself. Remember our ARE FIT mnemonic.

A is for assertiveness. As much as I harp that negotiation isn’t all about the bark and the bite, I’m going to invite you to get assertive with yourself. Choose your mindset. Choose how you’re going to show up in every moment of every day. Whether you’re stepping into a boardroom for a high stakes negotiation, a presentation or a sales pitch (or maybe it’s a retail store for you or a parent-teacher interview) make a conscious decision before stepping through the door, who you’re going to be in that encounter. And do that with every interaction. When you come home at night, take a moment outside your door – tap the door frame to ground yourself, take a deep breath and decide how you want to show up before you cross that threshold (for whoever may be waiting on the other side, or even if it’s just spending a quiet night with yourself). This simple practice will have a profound impact on your state and your relationships.

Once you’ve gotten sufficiently tough with yourself that you’re confident you can control how you show up (or maybe even while you’re in that process) turn to rapport building. Yes you can and should build rapport with yourself.  Check in to get to know yourself. It’s probably been awhile since you’ve done that – if ever. Do you know your negotiation style? Do you know your own triggers and how to best respond to them? Do you have a clear sense of your strengths and weaknesses and how to stay focused on those strengths? Do you know your favourite flavor of deprivation and how to snap out of martyrdom? Are you in touch with your fears? Do you know how to use them? You get the idea. It’s important to dig deep to be as self-aware as possible. That allows you to play to your strongest suits and avoid being bled by the other party.

Tied to rapport-building, and also falling under the empathy category, is knowing your why.  We talked about this in our blogpost on the 5 W’s in negotiations, but it’s worth repeating. Negotiations are almost never about what they appear on the surface. There’s a web of hidden motivations on both sides of the table. Being aware of your own deep why is a powerful asset. What it is you’re really seeking and why? Tapping into the emotion of that is a potent motivator that ups your game.

Once you know your why, you’ve allowed your seed to sprout. Now you need to push it up through the dirt to reach for the sky. Flexibility for yourself comes, in part, from knowing the limits of your comfort zone and being willing to push past it. Are you willing and able to stretch yourself, both in how you negotiate, and also in opening to ideas that may be outside the box and outside your comfort wheelhouse.

Intuition, as always is key. We’re aware of getting in touch with our intuition vis-à-vis others, but we often forget to trust our intuition when it comes to ourselves. Be careful not to make the mistake of listening to that inner critic (and we all have one) and mistakenly believing that it’s your intuition talking. No. That inner critic is born of all your unresolved little girl hurts. It means well – it thinks it’s protecting you, keeping you safe – but undermines you, sapping your strength as it spreads like a toxin.  Your intuition is not the scared voice, holding you back. Find the voice that says ‘why not me?’ and then you’ll know you’ve found her. Let her know you hear her. Heed her. Respect her. And she will show up more and more.

Which leads me to trust. As your real intuition takes front stage, you’ll learn to trust her more and she’ll keep you on track. But for those times when you can’t hear her, and you’re feeling insecure or uncertain, you just need a healthy dose of trust in yourself. One way to easily tap into that is to remember as many past successes as you can – play a running list of circumstances where you succeeded and bringing your attention to that will remind your subconscious that you have credibility. It will allow you to relax into trusting the competent women that you are.

Getting to know yourself can be a liberating and enlightening experience. Chances are it’s long overdue. And you’re never done. We need to keep digging, unearthing more valuable resources in our self-exploration. We’re also constantly evolving, so staying on top of this process is key. As you get to know yourself more fully, you’re better positioned to negotiate with yourself to bring the best version of yourself forward on demand. Then you’re ready to tackle negotiating the other relationships in your life.

So, get started. Allow me to introduce you to … you. I think you two will like each other if you give it a chance.




A.R.E. F.I.T, assertiveness, choice, Flexibility, intention, intuition, Negotiation, Rapport-building, Trustworthiness

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