Know Your Worth Then Add Tax
I was reading a book the other day called “Negotiate This” by Herb Cohen. This is a classic how to book that teaches the strategy of how to negotiate terms by caring, but not that much. One of the key points in this book is knowing what your absolute limits are. The book states that if you go into any situation knowing the things that you are not willing to compromise on, then you can be prepared to walk away from anything short of your desired outcome without hesitation. This certainty alone gives you the upper hand because the confidence in the value of what you in turn bring to the deal will create a desire for the other party to concede. If they do not in turn secure the deal, then the mindset of a winner is that it would not have been a benefit to you under the original proposed terms in the first place and winners do not waste their time in situations of no benefit.
Do you set clear boundaries in every area of your life? If not, what is the price that you pay for not doing so? Every day we compromise in our relationships, at work, and even at home with our families. Society teaches us that flexibility is king, but it is often the people that we see who refuse to be flexible on certain things who are the ones that move the furthest ahead in life. Earlier in my career I was often told that I was too direct. I was told that I needed to soften my approach to people so they would not take what I was saying the “wrong way”. Of course wanting to be “the nice girl” I learned to sugar coat things, and ask for what I needed in a roundabout way. This eventually drove me mad. I would notice that successful men often were just as direct as I was in their demands if not more direct touting the jerk line without a concern if the receiver took it the right way or not. Needless to say, I went right back to being my natural direct self and eventually learned how to express my thoughts in a more balanced yet direct way.
Weigh It Out
I thought about relationships that may have hindered me in the past. Whether it was a friendship, family member, or romance, there was always someone that wasn’t pulling their weight. There was always someone who wanted to take more than I was willing to give, but I found myself compromising on what I needed, which in turn lowered the value of what I was giving them. These kind of relationships are the hardest to break from because we compromise ourselves out of love and truly want the best for that person. But when the situation becomes so imbalanced that you are no longer able to sacrifice the things that you need, you will have to make the hard choice of either demanding what you feel you deserve and making adjustments in order to continue the relationship or walking away to save yourself because the burden of that relationship has become too heavy for you to carry.
At work, we go into this situation typically negotiating terms at hire. We negotiate our salaries, work hours, vacation time and benefits. Some of us even negotiate telecommuting and remote work locations as terms of our employment. Employers accept these terms because the more confident you are in the value of what you bring to the market place, the higher the chance of your terms being accepted. Many successful people bring such a high value, that they are scouted out by multiple companies and have their pick of offers based on the terms that suit them the best! On the other end of this spectrum, you have the desperate who take whatever is offered with no negotiation because they place more value in what is being offered than what they bring to the table. They sacrifice more and more as they over give to a situation where they are valued the least. In life they accept what is given to them never moving beyond the limits of what they see or what is presented.
Regardless of which scenario you relate to, the moral of this story is at some point there will be a bend (a compromise) that breaks you. The reality is that none of us can make it through life without bending at all. Some flexibility is necessary to maneuver through each graduation point of your journey. But the key to success is to know definitively how far you are willing to bend and at what intervals your bending is necessary. Are your morals and convictions flexible? Do you allow people to waste your time or worse, find yourself wasting your own time? What are you compromising that you shouldn’t be right now? What valuable gifts are you giving away at a discount? Take some time to do some serious evaluating and self-reflection. You will find that the area you are over compromising in is more than likely the thing that is holding you back from success and eventually will become the bend that breaks you and prohibits you from receiving the blessings that are truly yours.