When I say ‘negotiation’ most people make a face. Yup. Even if you think you managed to hold that smile, I’ve seen that flicker of panic, fear or general disgust cross your face.

And I understand why.

I didn’t always love negotiation. I was convinced that in order to be any good at it you had to be sleazy or slimy, or a real “piece of work”.

Maybe you’re like I was…thinking it was all about winning, about crushing an opponent, about hashing out mega million dollar deals while banging your fist on the table and strong arming people into doing what you want them to do.

Uck. No thank you. No wonder we end up running away from negotiation!

Here’s a new way of thinking about it.

Negotiation is all about transformation.
It’s about taking a situation that leaves you cold,
and transforming it into one that lights you up.

Ahh. See? Much better.

Best of all, the most effective way to create change and transformation in your business and life is to – wait for it – be yourself. No need to put on a character or change your personality to be great at negotiating. You do need to build a skill set – and that’s what the Smiley Sessions will help you with – but at the end of the day, you’re perfectly primed to go after what you want, need and deserve. You’ve got this.

But you don’t just have to take my word for it.

If you’re struggling to wrap your head around becoming – gasp – a negotiator, try this exercise to break through those mindset blocks and embrace boldly going after what you want and need.

Step 1 – Get it all out there

Yup. Time to vent. Make a list of all the words, expressions, and images that come to mind when you think about negotiation. Icky, slimy, combative…even those words that turn the air a bit blue with their %#$@ flair.

Don’t hold back.

There will be some good things on that list (getting a raise!) mixed in amongst the bad + ugly. So be on the look out for these gems. They’re something you’ll want to hold on to.

negotiation mindset for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small business owners


Step Two – Focus on CHANGE

After that cathartic experience, shift focus. Make a list of all the people in this world you consider changemakers. The people who are influencing society, culture, politics and religion in positive ways.

This could be Oprah. Elon Musk. Your 5th Grade teacher Mrs. Gee.
Who are they, and what change are they creating in the world.

Then – beside each name, I want you to list out some of the adjectives you’d use to describe them.
Kind. Driven. Smart. Stubborn. (they don’t all need to be positive…)

Being a negotiator is all about making change, having influence, and transforming situations.

And if that puts you in the same company as those people? Then that’s something worth embracing.

Let me know in the comments who appeared on your list, and why you think they’re transforming the world. How are you inspired to embrace your role as a changemaker?