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This could be over your salary, your employee’s raise, the prices of your services and products. Perhaps you are buying a home. You may need to negotiate in your relationships, with your loved ones, perhaps even with your children or your toddlers (which from what I hear is the toughest negotiation you’ll ever face!).

We all face negotiations, and we should therefore take time to learn to be great negotiators. However, quite often the most important skill that is not so frequently spoken about, is to learn to negotiate with ourselves.

Let's say there's something that you really want in your work life: a big promotion; a brand-new opportunity; to take on a new project; to try your hand at something different; to start your own business; or to grow and scale your current business.

When you’ve set your sights on something that you're hoping to achieve or build into your work life, it will often begin to dawn on you, that you may need to do something that does not come naturally to you. You may need to do something that pushes you into that stretch zone or zone of discomfort.

Perhaps you need to become a better presenter or be able to speak more confidently in public. Maybe you want to improve the way that you build connections with others in your work environment, beyond your usual circle of colleagues. Perhaps you need to get better at managing conflict and tough conversations. In order to achieve your goal, you may need to do more in your marketing or sales, which may be areas that do not come as naturally to you and therefore push you into a zone of discomfort.

When you hope to make some sort of meaningful change in your work life, it usually comes with needing to take a little risk. Taking risk usually comes with us having to do something different. And doing something different may force you to step into your zone of discomfort.

Despite there being something that you may really want in your work life, when experiencing discomfort about what’s required of you, it can become a force that holds you back. So, you delay taking action, you mull things over, waiting till the time ‘feels right’ and your progress begins to stall.

However, your desire to achieve that goal or create that opportunity hasn't gone away.

When I meet many of my clients, they are in this predicament. They know they need to take action, yet they remain stuck.

This is a good time for you to stop, take a step back and….. negotiate with yourself.

The art of negotiation:

Any good negotiation takes some preparation. You need to think through what it is the other person/parties would be prepared to give up or be flexible on, and what it is that they really would not be prepared to give away.

You also need to know your own position – where are your areas of flex? What will you give up? Where will you not budge?

The same is true when you negotiate with yourself.

The steps I take my clients through. You can ask yourself the same:

1) Think about the outcome that you are working towards. What would it mean to you? What would your life look like if you managed to build this into your work life? What would the payoffs and benefits be to you?

2) What is the thing that you are willing to give up on if you want to meet this goal?

What are you prepared to let go of if you were to have that work life of your dreams? To get that promotion, to start that business, to grow your business further, to create that new opportunity.

Perhaps you are camera shy or hate speaking in public, but in order to scale your business you may be required to give presentations and take up more keynote speaking opportunities. Perhaps it requires you to be on camera. You may believe that being in front of the camera or speaking in front of people is not for you, that you are not good at it.

This would be a good time for you to begin to negotiate with yourself. If you really want to be able to progress your business, and if it really does require you to be in front of the camera or speak more publicly, then you need to negotiate.

1) What benefits will growing your business bring you?

2) What is it that you are prepared to give up on to do so?

Are you prepared to give up the idea or identity that you are in some way not ‘good’ at being on camera? Are you prepared to give up on that feeling of comfort of not having to put yourself in the public arena and speak in front of rooms full of people?

Another example could be that you know, in order to progress in your career, you may need to get better at building connections and relationships with people in your work/industry.

Perhaps, like so many of us, you are an introvert and you feel that networking can in some way

feel sleazy or inauthentic. This leaves you stuck. You want to make progress, but you feel that the very thing that you need to do is something that doesn't sit well with you.

Again, this is a great opportunity to negotiate with yourself.

1) How would you benefit to get the big promotion, how would your life be impacted?

2) What will you give up on or let go of to do that?

Are you prepared to move into the zone of discomfort and find a way to connect with others and network in a way that is authentic to you? Are you prepared to let go of saying, ‘I'm an introvert, I can't do that’, and learn ways for you to build strong relationships with others so that you can keep progressing in the way that you had hoped and have that work life of your dreams.

In our lives, we will all need to negotiate. And many times, you will need to negotiate with yourself first!

Figure out what it is that you really want and how it is will benefit you/others in your life. What are the payoffs?

Then ask yourself the big question - where are you prepared to let go? What are you prepared to give up on?

These simple questions are a great way of helping you become a less stuck and begin to make progress towards that work life of your dreams.


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