How are you at negotiating for what you want? If I am negotiating for something tangible I can be level-headed and impartial. However, if I am negotiating myself out the door in the mornings I am a complete pushover. From morning to night we engage in negotiations. Who is doing the dishes? Which movie do we see? Beach or mountain vacation?
Four internal voices contribute to my decision-making process: The Thinker, The Lover, The Dreamer and The Warrior and every one of them has an opinion. Being a procrastinator makes decisions tough but with these voices to contribute to the argument it is well neigh impossible some mornings.
My negotiations start as early and innocently as the MOTH (Man of The House) asking: What are you having for breakfast?
Me: Ok, so what is for breakfast? I’m late, tired and cranky so something quick and easy.
In steps the THINKER and voice of reason: Hmm, not a nutritious option.
Me: I know but I’m tired and cranky and I don’t want to be late for work.
The Thinker: What you’re reaching for won’t keep you satisfied for long. Before morning tea you’ll be raiding the biscuit tin. That makes you grumpy too.
Me: If they didn’t keep filling the tin it wouldn’t be an issue.
The Thinker observes: The freezer has buns and bread …
Enter the LOVER and nurturer of my soul who takes on the THINKER: Hey! Cut her some slack. She’s said she’s tired and in a hurry. She doesn’t have time for a proper breakfast.
Me: I get anxious about being late.
The Lover: Well, you don’t need to start the day like that. The grocery store is on the way. You could stop in for some fruit and yoghurt.
Me: I could. Good idea.
The Thinker: You told yourself that yesterday so why would you do it today if you didn’t yesterday?
The Lover: Oi! Tired, cranky and getting more anxious.
The DREAMER negotiator is the voice of intuition and innovation and she reminds me I HAVE A DREAM … to wear a certain dress for that special occasion. I am innovating before I realise I’ve started moving about the kitchen.
The Dreamer: You can be on time for work and have a nourishing breakfast. Give yourself a few moments to think about what you need. It will be worth a few moments and you’ll be a step closer to your goal.
Up steps the WARRIOR (full of will power and action seeking): Right, you have the ingredients for a good breakfast in the kitchen. Stop dithering; start moving. You want to eat right, you have a dress-size goal and you value arriving at work in a good headspace. Let’s get this show on the road.
The WARRIOR and THINKER team up: The Dynamic Duo – Willpower and Reason: The reason you become anxious about being late for work is you want to clear the answer machine of yesterday’s calls before the phone starts ringing again. You like to be ahead of your calls before the day starts. This way you can be in the office and whizz up your healthy smoothie while you clear the messages. The fruit bowl is full so you can munch an apple on the way to work and drink your first bottle of water.
Next thing, I am out the door water bottle and crunchy apple in hand. In the back is my breakfast box will raw ingredients to make a nutritious smoothie while I am opening the office and clearing yesterday’s voicemails.
I would describe the above thought process as “turning myself into a pretzel”. Having read this article I have a better understanding of what happens to make it all so much head work. Now I am attentive to each negotiator’s voice and the contribution each brings to the conversation. As the article suggests all four negotiators bring value and skills to the table. At times all are required to help make balanced decisions and sometimes the voice of reason is the loudest negotiator.
I wonder what your internal conversations sound like? Can you identify which negotiator has the bigger voice in decision-making? Does anyone have similar internal negotiations simply to get to work? Do you have a dominant internal negotiator?