Episode 14 – Negotiating with Yourself

February 1, 2023

I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone yesterday. He had sent me this amazing website of an innovative project – very futuristic, next generation – related to a smart city and incorporating all sorts of information, technology, environmental considerations. Just a generally cool project that is going to bring together some of the greatest minds in the world, and which is backed by really big bucks.

We went down a rabbit hole researching it, looking at who they’d hired, thinking about what they would need. We had this back and forth banter forth on WhatsApp until he eventually called me.  I said oh, remind me who sent that link to you. It was a former employee. Let’s call him Martin, for the sake of this conversation.

I was like wow, that’s really cool. So what did Martin have to say about it? My friend said, oh, he doesn’t want to live in the Middle East. And he isn’t sure they really know what they need.  That kind of stopped me on my tracks. I said, Wow, that’s the difference between Martin and us. Then I said to my friend he’s negotiating with himself, to which he responded that’s exactly what I said to him.

Trust me the project is so next level the flattery of receiving the call is such that you’d have to be kind of crazy not to show up for an interview just out of sheer curiosity if nothing else. At least that’s the way I see it.

He’s negotiating with himself. He ruled himself out, and it’s note like he had a job offer.  Getting a call is not the same as getting a job. While going on job interviews can be a nuisance and a waste of time, and there are lots of things about people not respecting your time or trying to get information out of you, but that’s life. That stuff happens, I know, but when you have something in front of you like this you have to say yes and show up and get exposure to whoever’s working for them. It can inform your job and open your mind to all kinds of possibilities that you hadn’t previously considered or known about.

Anyway, that’s not the point of the story. This point of the story is about negotiating with yourself and ruling things out. Later yesterday afternoon, I came across a video and this is related. I came across a video – a snippet of an interview with my friend Jeffrey Madoff – he’s a teacher the New School here in New York. He’s also an author and playwright and filmmaker. He’s interviewed incredible people and he puts these snippets on LinkedIn that are terrific.  This one was with a woman. I don’t know anything about her.  I know that she worked the New York Times. She was an author and columnist at one point. She was telling the story of her father who grew up in Israel during a time when certain types of education weren’t available and then the law changed, and the banks were offering loans to help people go to school. Her father had learned about it because she ran into this woman on the street and the woman said “oh no, they would never give me a loan.” And her father said to the woman “let them say no first.” The girl being interviewed was saying that as a struggling journalist and creative person – you know nine out of 10 times it’s a no and getting to yes is really difficult – and she was saying how that really became her mantra. Let them say no.

Anyway, in that story it was her father who learned about this program and got the loan and became a doctor and moved to the United States. He totally changed the trajectory of his life and of his whole family’s life. It was a really cool story. Anyway, that line let them say no first is the same thing I was trying to say earlier. Don’t negotiate with yourself.

Back to my friend. I was saying, you know we shouldn’t be criticizing Martin because ultimately, we all have to know ourselves. My friend and I are both adventurous and entrepreneurial. We are bigger risk takers. We’re more outdoor cats than indoor cats. We were talking about our families. He comes from a family of doctors and farmers, and I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so not everybody is wired the same way. Just because we thought it was a great opportunity doesn’t mean that everyone feels comfortable with that. Anyway, I’m kind of contradicting myself because on the one hand I’m saying you have to be curious and show up because you never know. And on the other side, there’s also an element of know thyself. We don’t know why people choose a safer route sometimes. We can’t really know how they’re hardwired or what their personal considerations.

Anyway, I want close with a Mel Robbins reel that came across my phone this morning. It’s very relevant to this story. Mel Robbins pops on and she says “I have three things that are going to make your life a lot better. Number one, if they wanted, If they could, they would. Number two, you can’t make people change.  You can make them coffee, you can serve them breakfast, you can even serve up some inspiration, but you can’t make other people change. And number three, stop being mad at other people when they aren’t the person you want them to be.”

I thought that was great if they wanted. If they could, they would. You can’t make other people change and stop being mad at other people because they aren’t the person you want them to be.

Great advice and I’m going to end with that. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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