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Self-Worth and Negotiations

Image: Ann Hamilton

I’m lying in bed reading the latest Jo Nesbo thriller, Macbeth, and I’m enjoying every minute of this decadence! Not because it is a rainy day in Cape Town and I have the luxury to stay in bed, but because I chose to say “No”.

Choosing me, is better for my sense- of- self and self-worth, than working for the rate the company offered to pay me. Had I taken the job, I would have felt resentful, taken for granted and devalued.

We often accept whatever comes our way because we are scared of not getting the gig, or the consultation or the client. Or we look at our cringe worthy bank balance - panic - and meekly accept the offer. And so starts a vicious circle of doubting ourselves and the value of what we offer.

I know most negotiation articles or books don’t start at this point, but I firmly believe that your sense of self-worth and value, impacts your ability to negotiate directly.

Before you start your next negotiation think about:

Do I believe I have value?

Remember there are two sets of value.The intrinsic worthiness as a human being (a whole new topic for a different day!) and the value you believe you add to your business or customers.

If you don’t value yourself, no-one else will.

If you don’t believe you are worth a certain amount of money or deal or that your service or product or time offers value and is worth the price, you will not be able to negotiate for it with authenticity and conviction.

Be realistic.

Do your own reality checking. Know your market. Know you perceived and actual value. Know the going rates. Know what you are willing to compromise on.

Be aware of your imposter syndrome

If you doubt your competence or value or self-worth you end up negotiating against yourself.

You need to decide what will work best for you to believe in your value and bolster your negotiation ability, but this will help you:

1. Focus on the positive

Frame your value as what you stand for, not what you stand against.

2. Keep the future in mind

Be clear on what you want the future to look like and not what you don’t want because of the past.

3. Be clear and trust yourself

Get clarity and congruency for yourself about who you are and what you stand for and consistently show up as that. People love something or someone they can trust. Consistency creates trust.

4. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare

Write it down, think about counter arguments, keep a creative mindset, practice in front of the mirror, do your power poses, see your shaman, sing to your dog. Do whatever makes you feel valued and worthy and in charge of pulling your own strings.

5. Have a personal BATNA and stick to that

BATNA is a term used in negotiations and stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. Your BATNA is your best source of power. It is your ability and willingness to walk away and take another deal if your negotiations don’t feel mutually beneficial.

I now have a three strike baby - BATNA rule. I don’t want to work with people who I feel don’t respect me or devalue what I bring to the table. Don’t answer my emails. Don’t respond after they’ve received a proposal that they’ve asked for. Don’t stick to what they said they would do. Don’t have the courage to say “No”. If you do any of these three times, you’re out!

And after you have done all of the above and your negotiation still goes South?

Have a bath (not in Cape Town), a drink, take a walk, have a cry, call a friend, do some soul searching, forget it and move on. Your self-worth is what you believe about you and tomorrow is another day.

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