We're just, you know, negotiating, and then whammo, something totally transformative happens...
I have a confession.
I like using that phrase because confessions usually cause people to perk up their ears and hang in for the dark chocolate...
Victoria Pynchon and I have know each other since 2006. She's my partner in our signature course, She Negotiates which takes place at Balance University. Our friendship started as a love affair with words and writing, and has moved into one of the most important relationships in my life. Not just because of her brilliance as a lawyer, mediator and negotiation trainer, but because we transform each other and call each other out and laugh—a great deal. We're like kids dunking Oreos in milk and forgetting to cover our mouths when we guffaw and make a beautiful mess in the kitchen.
We started designing She Negotiates back in March. Between that time and now, winding our way through conversations spanning all of human history, something transformational happened. And unexpected. I am at peace with my husband.
I am at peace with my husband.
What the heck does that have to do with negotiating, you might ask. Well, lemme say this: it would never have happened if I hadn't declared that peace on the planet will be possible when women know their value. I called Victoria to ask her to teach the course, I knew nothing about framing and concessions and counter offers and log rolling or expanding the pie. As a co-actively trained and certified coach, I thought I knew everythingabout diagnostic questions and Socratic inquiry--the stock in trade of mediators, negotiators and coaches. But it was my friendship with Victoria and the daily conversations that made room for a big deal change in my daily real life.
I remember making a "note to self." The note said, "Watch what happens when you shift your entire way of being. Go ahead. Ask him a few questions. Get curious." Look, I'm a coach, I'm supposed to have this nailed or I would have to call myself a fraud...so the story goes.
A few days ago, my nearly 14-year-old said, "Wow. You two are completely different. You're happy. You're so gentle and accommodating. I mean, you even went to Home Depot together. I feel so happy. Thank you mommy, thank you daddy. It feels really good." Break my heart beautiful, isn't it?
So. By all means take the She Negotiates course to get a pragmatic handle on your value, your potential in the market. Take it to learn how to ask for and get a promotion or a raise. Take it to turn the table on the wage and income gap. But the real takeaway for humanity is to master this one little negotiator's tool: diagnostic questions. Master the art of being curious and "getting over there" in every single conversation...the cashier in the grocery store, your boss, your team, your neighbor, your banker, your mechanic, the person next to you as you fall asleep at night.
And prepare to be awakened.