Ding! 5 Minute Exercise for Negotiation Anxiety
Does the thought of negotiating for yourself make your hands go clammy, your throat dry and your heart beating fast?
I share the good news about negotiation anxiety, the tough news (not bad, just tough) and a five minute exercise for overcoming anxiety so you can take confident action towards your goals.
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello! Welcome to the eleventh episode of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee. I am your host, Jamie Lee. We’ve been talking about the key practices for negotiation success on this podcast, and I shared my free script on how to ask for a big pay raise.
I got unexpected feedback that some people thought it doesn’t apply to them. That this wouldn’t work for them because they haven’t contributed as much value as Karina did in the example that I give in this book. That clued me into the fact that I’ve overlooked one of the most important negotiations that we ever have. It’s the one we have with ourselves.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about negotiation anxiety. I’m talking about that clammy feeling in your hands, when your mouth goes dry and your heart starts beating really fast before you negotiate, and for some, it’s so bad they just don’t negotiate.
They let that anxiety hold them back from initiating a conversation, engaging and asking for what they want. How do we overcome this? I have for you, the good news, the tough news - it’s not bad news, it’s just tough news that we can process - and then a quick, five-minute exercise for overcoming negotiation anxiety so that you can articulate your value, advocate for your value, ask and get what you want.
So, what’s the good news? The good news about negotiation anxiety is that really, when you boil it down to the essentials, it’s basically just a thought. A stressful thought that causes a vibration in your body.
That’s the good news, because number two: it’s true that you’re not your thoughts. You can have the thoughts. What you feel, what you experience when you have that thought, it’s not really you, it’s just the thought.
And then finally, the third good news is that you can have new thoughts. You can generate new thoughts. This is basically not unlike reframing, when you create new perspectives, new ideas in a negotiation. Just like that, you can have new thoughts in your head.
So, what’s the tough news?
Three key news. The first is that no one teaches us how to do this, really. I’ve read many, many negotiation books, but no one talks about how to overcome your negotiation anxiety so that you can show up with real confidence. They just tell you, don’t be emotional. It doesn’t really help, because emotions drive our actions and our decision-making process.
And number two: the tough news is that without overcoming negotiation anxiety, we’ll never actually feel good, even when we get what we want. In other words, without overcoming negotiation anxiety, we never feel successful, so that’s kind of tough.
The third news is that generating new thoughts and feeling successful, it takes practice.
So, what do we do? What are the four key steps? Think about a stressful conversation or a negotiation that’s causing you anxiety. I want you to hear a bell go off in your head when you feel that dread and anxiety. The clammy hands, the heart palpitating, your shoulders stiffening up, and you feel that negative emotion and the vibration in your body. Feel a DING go off. What is DING? It’s basically an acronym, D-I-N-G.
D - Deep breath. Relax. Try to relax. And you can do it by taking a deep breath in and a full breath out. I learned that when you are feeling anxious, you actually don’t exhale fully. You’re trying to take a breath in, you’re feeling anxious, and you’re going like this (hyperventilating), but you don’t ahhhhhh, exhale fully. So, breathe in for four, exhale for six. Something I learned in elementary school that still works. Take a deep breath. (I do this as part of my morning meditation every day)
I - Identify your feeling. What is that vibration? Where is it in your body? Do you feel it in your neck? In your shoulder? In your solar plexus? In your hands? Just feel it. Identify it. Be with it. Observe it. Own it, so that you can release it. And now, the N.
N - Name that thought. What is that sentence in your head that’s causing the vibration? Ask yourself: what am I thinking? What is the stressful thought? And for many people it’s a variation on: I’m not good enough. I haven’t done enough. I’m a hack. I’m not good enough. There’s something wrong with me. Okay, so once you have identified your emotions and have named that thought or that sentence, it’s the G.
G - Go change the thought. Now, if you’re thinking oh, she’s gonna be like oh, just turn it around, make it all positive, happy-go-lucky, you’re thriving! No. Actually, no. Don’t turn it around to the positive just yet. And that’s because we want to train our brain to think in a new way, and when we try to give it new, positive thoughts, it just does this reverse thing.
It’s just like: Ugh, it’s too positive, I can’t believe it. In fact, it’s so positive that it turns me off, and I’m just gonna go more negative because I feel I can’t believe it.
So we want to train our brains to have new thoughts by training it to think in increments or baby steps. And so, from having that thought I’m not good enough, go to a neutral place.
A positive change to that thought I’m not good enough might be something like, I’m amazing! I’m thriving! I’m so happy! But when you try to believe that thought, you just feel kind of more turned down, not turned up, so go neutral.
What’s in between the thought I’m not good enough and I am amazing? Completely neutral might be something like: I exist. I do the work that I have.
So from there, go find evidence to support that neutral thought. I do the work that I have. Did you have a task item on your list that you crossed off today? Do you carry the function that you’re assigned to do? What is the evidence that you do the work that you have? What is the evidence that you simply exist? And now that you have a neutral thought, and you have evidence to support this new thought, can you believe it? And how does it feel?
It might sound a little self-help-y. It might sound something like: Wait, why aren’t you giving me negotiation tips and tricks and strategies? I just want to make the money, I just want to go close my wage gap.
But the thing is, in order for us to close our wage gaps, in order for us to show up as leaders, the kind of leaders that we want to be in the world, we have to have confidence, right? And confidence comes from taking action, but we feel so much anxiety that we’re frozen and can’t take action, we don’t get confident. And where does action come from? Confident action comes from a feeling that you have. The conviction in your body. And the feeling comes from a thought that you have in your head, the belief inside of you that you are worth it. That there is something to take action for. That there is something worth taking a risk for.
So, I really want to encourage you to take time to feel the anxiety that you feel when you have a negotiation coming up, when you have a difficult conversation coming up. The good news is that you can turn it around, and you can start with neutral thoughts. When you have neutral thoughts you are feeling something different and taking a different action.
So, I hope that this podcast was helpful for you. I hope that I have helped you see negotiation anxiety in a different light, and that you take action on the things that you want, you take action on becoming the leader that you want to be.
Thank you, and talk to you soon!