- Purpose– Remember why you decided to make these changes. Focus on the benefits for yourself and others.
- Patience– Expect that you will fall back into old behaviors under stress. Give yourself a break and ask others to do the same.
- Practice– It takes about a year of consistent practice, feedback and accountability to sustain a behavior change.
- Plan– Who will be your feedback and accountability partners? How will you deal with setbacks?
Unless you are a professional negotiator you may not enjoy this aspect of doing business. Many of us avoid negotiating because we don’t like confrontation, we are uncomfortable advocating for ourselves and/or we don’t want to lose.
Whether we are negotiating with a business partner or a family member, emotions can get the best of us. The author of this Harvard Business Review article Emotion & the Art of Negotiation says, “Bringing anger to a negotiation is like throwing a bomb into the process.”
One way to reduce negative emotions even in the most contentious negotiation is an exercise called “Just Like Me,” which asks us to consider:
- This person has beliefs, perspectives and opinions, just like me.
- This person has hopes, anxieties and vulnerabilities, just like me.
- This person has friends, family and perhaps children who love them, just like me.
- This person wants to feel respected, appreciated and competent, just like me.
- This person wishes for peace, joy and happiness, just like me.
- Because this person is a human being, just like me.
I invite you to try making these statements out loud. Then notice how you feel about the person on the other side of the negotiating table and envision how the outcome might change.
Do you ever feel like the puppy in the photo above? He’s so distracted that he can’t see the squirrel on the other side of the tree. I felt like that as I drove to the recent International Coach Federation conference in the Texas hill country. Luckily, one of the first exercises was to set our intention for the weekend. Since I was bringing a lot of distractions with me I decided on something I could remember:
Positive — Open — Present
At the first check-in most people admitted some challenges with maintaining their intention, even though we had several opportunities to practice techniques for increasing awareness and staying mindful. Not surprisingly, this was more difficult as the day wore on. At our final check-in the next morning, I realized that practice had made it a little easier to stay Positive and Open …which enabled me to stay Present.
I brought home some visual reminders of the positive things I want to focus on so I wouldn’t go right back to:
Negative – Closed — Distracted
If you’re like a distracted puppy, what will help you stay focused and present? How will you put that into practice in the next week and beyond?
If a boss made you feel stupid or a clique excluded you, you know what shame feels like. We’ve been hearing a lot about shame lately and it’s a very uncomfortable topic. Brené Brown, PhD, and well-known shame researcher says nothing shuts down a conversation like her response to the question, “What do you do?”
All of us have experienced shame because, as Brown writes in The Gifts of Imperfection, it turns up in the most “familiar places, including appearance and body image, family, parenting, money and work, health, addiction, sex, aging, and religion. To feel shame is to be human.”
We humans are hard-wired for belonging because it was critical to the survival of our ancestors who couldn’t make it alone. We feel shame when we believe that we don’t measure up to someone else’s standards for fitting in but we can win the shame game by cultivating resilience. Here is how to do that:
- Recognize the symptoms: you start down what Brown calls a shame spiral when you think, “I am a failure” instead of “I failed to deliver on my objectives this quarter.”
- Share your story: since shame thrives in secret, talking with someone you trust takes away its power. The #MeToo movement is a great example of this but you don’t have to go public.
- Practice self-compassion: give yourself a break and treat yourself the way you treat other people you love and respect.
The author of A Wrinkle in Time (now a movie starring Oprah Winfrey) wrote, “People are more than just the way they look.” How would you complete this sentence: “I am more than…”?
During performance review season did you find yourself wondering why people with similar qualifications differ in what they are able to achieve? Angela Duckworth https://angeladuckworth.com/ decided to find the answer to that question by interviewing high achievers like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll. She also conducted research at West Point and in urban college preparatory schools like YES Prep in Houston.
Duckworth concluded that the secret to outstanding achievement is a special blend of passion and persistence she calls grit, defined as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” The good news is that grit can be learned and improved over time. How can you leverage grit to keep working toward your goals even when you face frustrations and setbacks?
To find out how “gritty” you are, take the test here Grit Scale.
A friend was taking a cake to a party so he drove very carefully. He accelerated slowly, made gentle turns and approached stop signs well in advance. When people started honking and yelling at him he wanted to say, “Hey! I don’t usually drive like this but I have a cake in the back seat.” He thought they would be more patient and understanding if they knew. Now when my friend sees drivers doing strange or annoying things, he tells himself there’s probably a reason — maybe they have a cake in the car or they are from out of town or they just got devastating news from the doctor.
When I heard this story I was reminded that we don’t always know what might be going on with someone in the next lane or the office down the hall. As we head into the holiday season, what would it be like if we commit to giving others the benefit of the doubt?