The negotiating you do with yourself determines your results.

Do You Negotiate Against Yourself?—How Often Do You Win?

Do you negotiate against yourself a lot? A part of you knows there are things you should or shouldn’t do, but another part bargains against those choices. This may be true for everyone.

The negotiating you do with yourself determines your results.

120 days ago my forward-thinking CEO self-negotiated a deal with my lazy, afraid, excuse-making employee self. My CEO got the employee to agree to a 30 in 30 challenge. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a simple idea in which you write and publish 30 micro-blog posts in 30 days.

CEO me got unreliable employee me to agree. To be fair, writing as a calling and vocation have been so important to both my CEO and employee selves that the fear of failure made it easier to shelve it, never do it at all, than try it—fail—and suffer irredeemable humiliation. 

But there was a thick layer of dust on the plan to One Day Maybe become a writer… I’m talking years thick. Covid fallout impacted my usual source of income, freeing time for my CEO self to jolt the procrastinating employee into action. 

“There’s time, now. That excuse is dead!”

I found my login credentials for my long dormant blog, started spitting out some drivel that at least got my fingers limbered up and got the ball rolling.

But it was sporadic. I didn’t get discovered after 3 days of blogging brilliance, and the employee self, doggedly pessimistic in the face of my CEO self’s aggressive optimism, was nearly ready to shut it down again.

Along came the 30 in 30 challenge

“Come on, dude. 30 250 word micro stories? Even you can do that. Tell ya what, when you’re finished each day, you can even have a bourbon and pretend you’re Hemingway.”

“Sold!” agreed my novice-writer self. “You supply the bourbon and I’ll do 30 days.”

Major negotiation completed, the challenge began that day. There was no more negotiating “IF” I was writing, only when, and about what.

That was 120 days ago. I haven’t missed a day. Once I’d knocked down the original 30 days, it set the habit. I’m hooked, and I’m a writer now. My CEO self and employee self are nearly always on the same page… terrible pun intended. The employee writer still needs a haircut, but the CEO lets him write in Grateful Dead t-shirts so everything’s chill.

So, friends with any kind of big negotiations you’ve struggled with for too long—cut a deal! Decide to do it. Take the “IF” part of the bargaining off the table. Get rolling and don’t look back! Oh yeah,… don’t forget the haircut. 

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2 thoughts on “Do You Negotiate Against Yourself?—How Often Do You Win?”

  1. Lol for me, it’s often the other way round. My lesser self will be the one doing the negotiating: ‘we can sleep five more minutes’, ‘we don’t need to write that blog post’, ‘let’s leave the laundry for tomorrow’.

    And I’m trying to make my necessary tasks become non-negotiable. But it’s a work in progress. But your post has given me a new perspective on negotiating. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That’s very familiar to me as well Stuart. I’m learning that settling the big-picture decision means I’m not in a constant renegotiation over the necessary tasks. Then, it’s just a matter of the fine print, right?

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