I spent Valentine’s Day in District Court and it turned out to be one of the best days ever. The nuts and bolts is that I had a contractual agreement with someone. After a year of the person adhering to the agreement, the other party stopped paying. The person said that our agreement was unfair. I reiterated several times that they had voluntarily entered into the agreement. When those efforts failed, I sued them. Disagreements are part of life. As an entrepreneur it’s inevitable that you’ll disagree with a business partner. It’s also likely that in your business you’ll frequently need to choose between two very different options. You move forward by mastering the art of the empowered deal. It’s called compromise.
I walked out of court with a little over $16,000 in cash because I was willing to compromise.
By giving up another $9,ooo and agreeing to some new terms I’m assured the original contract remain in full force. I also bought myself some peace of mind since the matter is settled for the foreseeable future. The alternative could have been a judgment I couldn’t collect on and/or expensive litigation into the next decade.
Let me be crystal clear. I’ve never been a fan of compromise. Compromise is one of those concepts I had a hard time understanding: Everybody gives up something for the greater good, the supposed win/win. But how does that work? If I want to go New York City for Christmas and my friend wants to go to Los Angeles, what’s the compromise Chicago? If you’re a teetoling, vegan and your business partner wants your company to be an Oktoberfest sponsor how do you square that for both parties?
In my case, I didn’t understand how the person became convinced that it was justified to renege on our contract. I prayed and meditated but I was also adamant that my position was unassailable. The judge however was sympathetic to some of the defendant’s concerns. So how did my attorney telling me that it would be good for me to strike a deal become a teachable moment?
I acknowledged that my distaste for compromise came from seeing and experiencing it from a place of fear and powerlessness.
Too often women sacrifice their principles, their wants and desires in the name of compromise. They “give in” to keep the peace or to maintain a friendship or a romantic relationship. In business women fold in the name of compromise because they don’t believe that they are in a position to fight and win. They are fearful about what will happen to them if they stick to their guns. On Valentine’s Day, my greatest gift was realizing that true compromise comes from a place of clarity and strength.
Here are 5 Tips to the Art of the Empowered Deal
1. Leave your ego at the door and look for the lesson.
You ego tells you that you are right and that you shouldn’t give an inch to your enemy. However your soul will help you to understand what actions/inactions brought you to this place. This new awareness will help you to grow and to make new decisions in the future.
2. Decide what REALLY matters to you in terms of the outcome.
Once you get over “I’m right and you’re wrong” you can discern your core objective(s). This is important because it allows you to prioritize and eliminate less relevant “wants.”
3. Craft a deal that vigorously protects your key concerns and concedes the others.
If something is extremely important, you can’t half-step. You need to let the other party that it’s not negotiable. You can then generously “give in” on the lesser items.
4. Decide what you’re going to do if the deal falls through. No deal is done until both parties agree to it. So know what you’re going to do if the deal fails. Will you press on, or will you quit? There is no right answer, each situation is different. However never make this decision based on fear or on a sense of lack. This decision has to be one that you can be content with experiencing.
Pray, meditate, say affirmations, breath, walk around the block. Do whatever will bring you closer to your center—to your soul. Then go forward with the knowledge that the Universe has your back and that you’ll be fine whatever the final outcome.