Life is a series of negotiations.
One of the keys to happiness is to learn how to:
- Determine what works for you
- Ask others to help you get what you want
- Understand when you’ll be flexible and when you won’t
- Be willing to take a stand and make brave choices
- Be at peace – hold no regrets or resentments
One of the first exercises in our coaching process is to ask our participants:
- What do you really want in your life?
- How’s it going right now (getting what you want)?
Determine What Works for You
It’s surprising how the first question is often met with a bit of a blank stare or scratching of the head. WAKE UP! If you are not clear about what you want in life, you’re probably not going to get it.
Set aside time to be reflective. What do you really want? Shoot for the stars! Dream big. This is your one and only life. Don’t waste it going along dazed and confused or unwilling to put a stake in the ground.
Ask Others to Help You Get What You Want
Here’s another novel concept – Ask others to help you get what you want. Most decent people have a heart. If asked in the right way they would probably love to help you. You have to ask.
If you ask and they don’t want to help, maybe you need to find a different group. No use wasting your time hanging around people who aren’t willing to help.
Understand When You’ll be Flexible and When You Won’t
This is where the negotiation concept comes into play. At first when you ask you might get some resistance or you might find that your “want” is a little out of reach for the people you are with.
This is when you have to be willing to adjust your goals or be flexible in accepting what they can provide. Much of life and relationships is about “give and take.” Be willing to look at things from another perspective – or take into consideration the other person’s wants and needs. See if you can find a compromise which gives you both some of what you want.
In that process, you might find a thing or two that are your “non-negotiables.” These are the things you feel so strongly about and you don’t want to compromise on them.
Be Willing to Take a Stand
For me, in my family business journey, I took many years to distill what was important to me. I found ways to have the family help me get what I wanted. In the end, there were a couple of values that I felt so strongly about and I knew could not be met in the business. I needed to muster the courage to say, “It’s time to move on.”
What’s most important is to be thoughtful, patient and deliberate in your decision-making process. I made my decision feeling good that I had done it in a calm, mature way. I also had friends, advisors and coaches who helped validate my thought process.
Be at Peace – Hold No Regrets or Resentments
When you make a decision – trust you did the right thing. Don’t spend more time or energy second guessing or being angry or resentful of others. Trust you did what you could and they did what they could.
One of my favorite quotes is, “I’d rather see you shoot for the stars and come up short than not shoot for the stars!”
Get clear about what you want, be willing to be flexible, and most importantly enjoy the journey!
Pete Walsh offers family business consulting services, workshops, tools and resources as the founder of Family Business Performance Center. Subscribe to his newsletter or get in touch to get actionable insights to help your family business grow for generations to come.