We negotiate with ourselves prior to a negotiating with others because we are afraid. We all feel fear prior to negotiations and we all make concessions to fear before we even begin negotiating with others. In this post, the last of our 3 part series, we discuss what we can do to avoid conceding to fear prior to a negotiation.
So how do we stop ourselves conceding to fear?
Strangely, recognition and awareness is actually the solution. That sounds weird, but stay with me. We know that we feel fear prior to a negotiation and we know that we’re likely to concede to that fear. So if we know these things and we know that they’re likely to happen, we can be prepared to feel those feelings.
Every time we’re about to enter a negotiation, we can remind ourselves that it’s likely that we will feel these feelings of fear and anxiety. But here’s the trick that may sound counter intuitive,…don’t try to fight them! Be present with them and let them flow into your mind. Accept that they are there and observe them. And instead of letting them overtake your mind and fill you with anxiety or doubt, just observe them as though you were observing traffic from the side of the street. They’re there. They’re floating about. Let them float about. You don’t have to succumb to your thoughts just because they’re in your head. You can just observe them with interest. Now this is not a new way of approaching fear. Meditation experts have been practicing this method of observation for hundreds of years. And while it may sound silly, it works. I know because this is what I do to ‘overcome’ fear any time I feel it.
Once we can recognize and observe our fear with interest instead of anxiety we can begin to determine whether it’s logical to feel that feeling. Most of the time there is no logical reason to feel fear because it’s not attached to danger. And once we realize that there’s no logical reason to feel fear and we can accept this, then we begin to realize that we can operate and execute on a negotiation without feeling fear and letting fear control us. It really is this simple.
Now, notice I said ‘simple’, and not ‘easy’. Emotions are powerful. So to observe our emotions without letting them control us is difficult. The discipline of observing emotion comes with significant practice. So how do we practice? Start meditating. I’m serious. Download an app called headspace or calm and start practicing meditation and learning how to observe your emotions. The practice of meditation has helped me significantly in my negotiation ability and also in my life.
Don’t cast this advice off as ‘silly’. Take the time to give it an honest effort and try it. Meditation can help you to ‘overcome’ your fear and will help you to stop negotiating with yourself prior to a negotiation.