I woke up this morning dreaming of palm trees and a Miami sunrise along my jogging path. Had I dreamed it all?
This weekend I spent a delightful 24 hours in Miami, where I led the seventh iteration of Hands-on Workshop for Negotiation Prowess at the inaugural Get Bullish Conference, produced by the impressive Jennifer Dziura. #BullCon blogger Emily Brown covered the event here.
Here’s a short video of yours truly, explaining what Negotiation Prowess means.
When we hear the word negotiation, the most common knee-jerk reaction is to think of money. And money is a sensitive issue, because we associate it with personal worth. Every time I speak on the topic of negotiation, I try to widen the scope of thinking around negotiation. In reality, we negotiate nearly every facet of our lives. Every day, we set and reset boundaries by negotiating conflicting desires and interests that we encounter in ourselves as well as in other people.
On the flight to Miami on Friday, I was reading “A is for A$$hole: The Grownup’s ABCs of Conflict Resolution” by one of my negotiation mentors, Victoria Pynchon. She defines negotiation as a
resolution of a problem by way of communication, and communication is not simply the language of words, but also of feelings, hunches and intuition…[and the] constant enemy of clear communication is fear.
I bookmarked this page, because it encapsulates the heart of my message in Negotiation Prowess. The message being, of course, that we need not let fear talk us out of taking action on asking for the things we desire.
Fear blinds us into thinking we are more limited than we actually are. The intent of mock-negotiation sessions in Negotiation Prowess is to overcome fear through action, by practicing the ask in a safe space and being open to feedback for improvements. At #BullCon yesterday, the attendees and I had the great pleasure of engaging in mock negotiations at the pool-side cabanas of the Surfcomber Hotel. Not a bad way to grow the negotiation muscle.
The caliber of attendees really impressed me. They hailed from all over the country and from careers in academia, international development, technology, and media. They are future leaders, founders and CEOs, who are serious about growing their negotiation skills.
At mock-negotiation session, I partnered up with a woman who initially thought she had very little bargaining power and was unsure how she could articulate her value to a prospective employer. But once we dug deep for her value, she found she had a lot to offer and great negotiation skills to boot.
“I’ve worked ten years in this field, starting from the very bottom and I’ve done just about everything at the company,” she said. “I know the median salary is X, and I would like to ask for the top end of the range, but I don’t know how to ask for that.” So I probed her a bit further, to see if she could back her value proposition with specific details, facts, and figures. “My role in account management is very hard to quantify,” she said.
So I asked her to tell me a story in which she played a crucial role in saving an account. She realized she had a great story to tell, of how she once saved one of the most widely recognized luxury brands from leaving the agency. She accomplished this through her calm demeanor and relationship management skills. She realized she could articulate her value by qualifying her skills, tying them to a specific benefit her employer received from them (i.e. saving a huge global account), and projecting confidence.
In the beginning of our session, she thought she couldn’t negotiate for herself. Once we got into the mock negotiation, however, she surprised both of us with how well she actually did. After countering my initial offer, she leaned back into her seat and calmly said, “well, I appreciate the offer. I’d like to think this overnight.” To which she later added, “Tell me about the company’s employee benefit program. Is there room for improvement in my vacation package?” From the perspective of a hiring manager eager to fill a position, the first statement creates a sense of urgency, and the second statement brings to the negotiation table non-monetary compensation.
I’m deeply grateful for many who made the Miami workshop possible. I’m really grateful to Carol Frohlinger, another great negotiation mentor who connected me to Jen Dziura. I’m grateful to Gwen Taylor, my collaborator and mentor who gave me the encouragement I needed to say yes to this wonderful opportunity.
Starting this month, I now work as Director of Business Operations at TreSensa, NYC-based mobile tech startup that leverages HTML5 to distribute game content across various platforms. TreSensa has been a consistent and generous venue sponsor for several of my equity classes and negotiation workshops in the past. It also happens to be where my life partner Charles Parra works as a SVP of Product. We are blessed in that we don’t mind spending about 23 hours out of 24 hours in a day within 10 feet of each other. I first started doing contract work for TreSensa back in May, translating games into Japanese. Over time, the scope of my work eventually increased to financial management, administration, and now content distribution. I went from working part-time to full-time. I feel very fortunate in that I’m able to use the full range of my skills — linguistic, analytical, and operational — in this new position.
I continue to hold workshops and speak on the topic of workplace negotiation for professional women. Two weeks ago, Hands-on Workshop for Negotiation Prowess, a follow-up to August’s workshop was held at Sapient Nitro. It was a great event featuring guest speakers Heather John, attorney at Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt, Kim Baird, IT recruiter with Connections of New York, and Kim Rudolph, recruiter with Google.
My goal for the workshops is to create community learning experiences, where knowledge is shared and skills developed through interaction among professional women.
It takes bravery to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. And courage to negotiate, or even mock-negotiate, for yourself. At this workshop, the attendees impressed me with their bravery, courage, and action.
I have a number of speaking engagements coming up. Next week, I’m leading the inaugural Athena Leadership Lab workshop on negotiation at Barnard College. The following week is a webinar on workplace negotiation for the Smith College Alumnae Association. Later in November, I’m leading another hands-on workshop for GetBullish conference in Miami.
Blessed with the abundance of work.
And tomorrow and the day after that, and so on and so forth:
To negotiate is to set, reset and push boundaries, to see yourself in control of your situations, and to act in good faith.
Faith starts from within.
Speaking of which, I’ll let you in on a secret.
I pray sometimes as I walk, to no god in particular, but to myself.
Please help me be persistent and disciplined.
Please help me create, do, and serve.
Please help me see that the answers are within me.
I pray for the strength to counter the voice of doubt and judgment with intuition and compassion. To continue to push boundaries when the next step forward seems to fall in the dark, only to land in the light.
With my negotiation coaching, I walk the tension between self-actualization and material achievement. The former follows the latter. To ask is to take initiative; to be rewarded is its positive outcome.
What binds the two is confidence, the belief and trust that one can do. What underlies belief and trust is faith.
So I try to build faith by praying.
I’ve been praying because I’ve been doing things outside my comfort zone. I’ll keep praying as I push forward the boundaries of what I do.
See, back in April, Coach Jennie of Audacity Rules asked me to be bold, within an hour of meeting me. She asked me to present a webinar on negotiation for the Hungry Entrepreneurs, a group of moxilicious doers and makers.
The first flash of thought when she asked me was, “but I’m not qualified.” The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee reared its ugly head. The second flash of thought was to squelch doubt and accept this juicy challenge, my first webinar.
Last month, I gave another webinar for the Daily Muse readers on the topic of negotiating a raise at work.
Can I just tell you I was a nervous, anxious wreck in the days leading up to the event? To have this webinar advertised to the entire Daily Muse readership (a subscriber base of about 30,000 as of July 2013) felt like coming out for me – as a negotiation coach, as someone with an unconventional approach, and another upstart.
I came face-to-face with my impostor syndrome, the irrational fear of being found out a fake fortified with webinar anxiety. Which is ironic because the first thing I tell anyone when it comes to negotiating is to not be afraid.
I have to walk the talk. So I mustered my faith, went for a long run, and trusted that I would deliver.
In the end, both webinars went really well, allowing me to reach more than hundred young professionals with my message (and potentially more as the recordings live on).
This is just the beginning. I want to be bolder and reach bigger audiences. Plus I missed the live, face-to-face interaction that a workshop allows.
This coming Tuesday, I’m taking the message live in a hands-on workshop geared towards freelancers, solopreneurs, self-starters who work for themselves. I’ll be trying some new methods and challenging attendees to communicate their value.
Let’s dream big and ask boldly.
The Daily Muse published an article I wrote on the topic of startup equity for employees. Exit strategies, option plans, vesting schedules, the stuff you should know about if you earn equity as part of your compensation package.
By request, I’m also hosting two webinars on the topic of negotiating at work and asking for a raise. They will be held tomorrow, 7/30 at 12PM and 6PM EST. Click here to register. I’ll come clean on my worst and best negotiation practices. I’ll talk about how to get in the right mindset for negotiating, how to articulate your value, and how to prepare.
Check out the free worksheet you can download right here on this site.
And if you want to continue this conversation, I’m here to help.
I’m stealing from a monk.
I read this New Yorker profile on Ittetsu Nemoto, a Zen Buddhist monk who works with suicidal people in Japan. He is a life coach, in the ultimate and literal sense. His workshops are near-life experiences for those who want to die.
I read the article twice, second time underlining segments that really moved and resonated with me. I underlined and circled this:
Nemoto believes in confronting death; he believes in cultivating a concentrated awareness of the functioning and fragility of the body; and he believes in suffering, because it shows you who you really are.
He believes that suffering produces insight.
He also believes that helping people should be like eating, something you just do every day: routine, essential, and beneficial.
He helps people confront the fear of living.
Fear is a great motivator. When we’re afraid of losing something, we work hard to keep it. A job, a relationship, an apartment, a precious stone. Sometimes fear motivates us to act.
But sometimes fear holds us back. It keeps us from speaking up, being bold, going for the things we want. This is the fear I want to see people overcome.
The message is simple. Don’t be afraid.
Sometimes the fear in our heads is an echo of an irrelevant past. I want to help people focus, get past the fear, and act for the present and beyond.
I’m learning more and more that it’s not about money. Yes, I’m talking about negotiation. It’s about value. If you are good at what you do, the tremendous value you bring to the table will speak for itself.
I live in an expensive city with chaotic streets full of busy people. When you live here, it’s easy to confuse money with value and success.
I believe you have to dig deeper to understand each person’s success. Just as everyone has their own journeys and frustrations, they have their unique definitions of success.
The freedom I relish is extremely valuable to me. It affords me the opportunity to be a student again and to aspire for a different kind of success.
And today I am blessed by the abundance of ideas, of words, and of confessions.
I was wrong.
I thought this stump of a formerly thriving money tree was dead. Last winter, it had grown too big for our bedroom, so C chopped it down to its trunks.
Two weeks ago, I noticed it was sprouting green leaves.
To be honest, seeing this kinda spooked me. It’s like the living dead, a zombie. Blind to its shortcomings, unstoppable in its quest for water and light.
But I had to respect its incredible will to live. So we started watering it again.
Flourishing and thriving, on its path back to gloriously beautiful.
Last night I watched a truly inspiring documentary about Frank Ferrante and his emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental transformation over a 42-day journey of raw vegan food eating, coaching, daily affirmations, and colonics. It’s called May I be Frank.
In the beginning of the journey, he weighs nearly 300 pounds, takes a fistful of medicine every day for hepatitis-C, and suffers from suicidal thoughts and chronic fatigue. He walks into Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco one day, and – motivated to fall in love one more time before dying – enters a challenge for 42 days of healthy living. As the film progresses, we learn that Frank’s biggest challenge isn’t downing wheat grass juice for breakfast or detoxing through colonics (there’s a lot of pooping involved), but loving himself.
Choosing and loving oneself, and committing to a daily practice for emotional, spiritual, physical and mental health are also the core message in James Altucher’s latest book “Choose Yourself.” James generously forwarded me a free copy of the book, and I’m grateful for that. The book offers many actionable suggestions on ways to develop a spirit of gratitude, practice healthy habits, and grow a strong idea muscle. In fact, watching a film about an inspirational figure is one of his suggestions.
This morning I woke up still basking in the afterglow of the film. By the end, Frank has shed forty pounds, is cured of hepatitis C, and overflows with radiant positivity and love. The love travels beyond the screen and touches people whom Frank has never met, like me.
I woke up smiling. I did something out of my daily routine. I started cleaning the house, which I normally put off until the afternoon. I hugged and kissed the wonderful man in my life. It’s going to be a beautiful day.
I’m taking Frank’s daily affirmation.
I Ji Eun Jamie, do love me, my body’s vigour.
I am in perfect health.
I am a perfect human being, radiant beauty and divine energy.
I am divine.
I now hold in my mind this new image of myself. A thriving, flourishing, gloriously, beautiful person.