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The First Step in a Negotiation Isn’t What You Think

first step in a negotiation

The first step in a negotiation likely isn’t what you think. While there are various methods and action steps to take when negotiating, the first step is actually closer to the source.

The first step in a negotiation 

The first step in a negotiation is mindset work. Call out your limiting beliefs. Address what’s going on within. No, I’m not a psychologist or a counselor or a therapist. I’m just another employee who learned the hard way that to negotiate, I first had to deal with my own limiting beliefs before I could move forward.

Is this you, too?

Before your negotiation, call out your limiting beliefs and any inklings of imposter syndrome. Limiting beliefs and imposter syndrome have been a hot topic lately. And for good reason. We are calling them out. They have (had) their space in a lot of places, and negotiation is usually one of them. 

How many times have you talked yourself out of something you deserve career-wise? That person’s better than you, you don’t deserve to earn that much, you just need that degree or certification or experience. It never ends. But we’re stopping it now. 

Read on for specific steps.

“Our beliefs about what’s possible have a direct impact on the reality we experience” (Hyatt, 2018). 

the first step in a negotiation is mindset work

5 Steps to Address Limiting Beliefs

I know I said this was the FIRST step in a negotiation, but here are 5 more steps to really address those limiting beliefs.

Step #1: Name your limiting beliefs 

The first step in a negotiation is to name those limiting beliefs.

Call them out. Name all the reasons why your head is telling you that you don’t deserve more, why they shouldn’t give you a raise, why your value is not what you say it is. All the things your limiting beliefs and imposter syndrome are trying to mislead you with. Name it and sit with it.

“What we think directly affects how we feel. Even when nothing actually happened. Our mind did the work” (Kay & Shipman, 2014).

Step #2: Write down your limiting beliefs

Writing down your eliminating beliefs will help you to address them. Why write down something that is not necessarily true? This helps you emit the thought. “Writing it down helps you externalize it” (Hyatt, 2018). 

Step #3: Reflect on your limiting beliefs

Sometimes our limiting beliefs are completely false. Sometimes they are coming from a place of truth, if only a small part. If there is a small truth to it, don’t draw it out. Take a shortcoming for what it is and move on. We can’t all be experts in everything. And that’s okay. 

“Many limiting beliefs have a kernel of truth in them. That’s what makes them so convincing. But they’re not the whole truth. If a limiting belief is true or partly true, you don’t have to settle for it. You can always recast the story” (Hyatt, 2018).

Step #4: Reject or reframe your limiting beliefs

Reframe or reject your beliefs so that they serve you. 

“The best way to kill a NAT (negative automatic thoughts) isn’t to beat yourself up for having it. That simply leads to more anxiety. The most effective and surprisingly easy fix is to look for an alternative point of view. Just one different interpretation, perhaps a positive, or even neutral, reframing, can open the door for confidence” (Kay & Shipman, 2014).

Your worth is what you say it is. And you have the proof to back it up. Write it out. List all of your amazing skills, qualities and achievements and why the limiting beliefs don’t stand a chance. 

Dismantle each limiting belief one by one. 

Make two columns. Write all your limiting beliefs on the left. Then directly across in the right column, write why it’s not true or how it’s not completely true (Hyatt, 2018).

“The second thought doesn’t even have to prove the first wrong. It’s the mental exercise of taking the time to create another explanation that can lessen the potency of the first thought. Eventually, reframing becomes a habit. And if you’re struggling to come up with positive alternatives by yourself, imagine what you would tell a friend who confessed to having that same negative thought. This is putting self-compassion into action. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can trim those debilitating feelings down to size. It’s easy to do for others, yet we let them roam freely in our own brains” (Kay & Shipman, 2014).

Remember that it’s not just you.

“As women, our imposter syndrome is so severe that it causes us to work for pennies in comparison to the amount of money for which men are willing to work” (Rodgers, 2020). 

Imposter syndrome is not unique to just women, but it is prevalent. It impacts our ability to ask and how much we ask for. Name your limiting beliefs and the societal expectations that feed it.

Step #5: Move forward

Take your new beliefs and live by those truths instead. Choose an abundance mindset. Choose to reframe and eliminate your limiting beliefs.

“You, today, have all the skills, talents, and intelligence you need to generate an income significantly higher than the one you have right now” (Rodgers, 2020).

the first step in a negotiation and the 5 steps to address your limiting beliefs

Not Easy

It’s important to realize that eliminating our limiting beliefs is not an easy process. “It’s important to note that people are sometimes addicted to their limiting beliefs… Maybe it gives them a sense of certainty. Maybe it gives them a sense of drama or significance because they think they’ve got the world figured out” (Hyatt, 2018). 

Recognize that “honest evaluation is the key to freedom” (Hyatt, 2018). 

Sometimes change isn’t easy. Being honest with ourselves isn’t easy. But taking it one step at a time can get you there.

“If you want different results, you need to change the way you care for yourself, your thoughts, and how you spend your time” (Rodgers, 2020).

Meet the challenge. The challenge is to name, dismantle and reframe your limiting beliefs. “To accomplish anything, we have to believe we’re up to the challenge. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or that we even know how we’re going to accomplish it. Usually we don’t know. It just means we believe we’re capable; we have what it takes to prevail” (Hyatt, 2018).

Limiting Beliefs Journal Prompts

Try these journal prompts to help identify and work through your eliminating beliefs.

Ask yourself:

  • What limiting beliefs do I have about myself?
  • How are my limiting beliefs holding me back?
  • How are my limiting beliefs holding me back from asking for my worth and reaching my greatest potential?
  • Where are my limiting beliefs stemming from?
  • Are my limiting beliefs coming from a place of truth or a place of fear?
  • How can I address my limiting beliefs to show my skills and expertise to the decision maker?

It might sound like: 

  • What limiting beliefs do I have about myself? I’m afraid to ask for more because I might come off as greedy and I haven’t worked here for very long. 
  • How are my limiting beliefs holding me back? My fear of asking for more is holding me back from making more money and feeling more confident to take the lead I know I can do. 
  • How are my limiting beliefs holding me back from asking for my worth and reaching my greatest potential? Even though I am newer, my skills are the best in my company. I don’t want to be seen as greedy, yet I know that I won’t be content making what I am right now. 
  • Where are my limiting beliefs stemming from? They are stemming from being in a service position at a nonprofit, so I feel bad for asking. They are also coming from a place of not really knowing how to ask. 
  • Are my limiting beliefs coming from a place of truth or a place of fear? They are coming from a place of fear because I know I can do the work and have proven that. 
  • How can I address my limiting beliefs to show my skills and expertise to the decision maker? I need to remind myself that people deliver best when they feel they are appreciated and compensated accordingly. I know I will hold a grudge and be discontent if I don’t ask / get paid what I know I should be making. 

It might sound different than this too. Maybe your limiting beliefs are coming from a place of truth and that means that you want to work to improve or excel in an area? If that’s true, go for it.

ask yourself limiting beliefs

You Are Limitless 

Remember: You are limitless. Stop these limiting beliefs. Don’t hold yourself back.

The first step in a negotiation is mindset work.

Tell those limiting beliefs to quiet down. 

Shut down that imposter syndrome. 

You are too good to play small. 

Step into your power.

The first step in a negotiation is mindset work. 

Let’s go. 

Limiting Beliefs Disclaimer

*Limiting Beliefs Disclaimer: While mindset, limiting beliefs and imposter syndrome are all real factors that can hold a person back (which have internal as well as external contributors), this is in no way shape or form a response to the very real (and utterly shameful) systemic issues that impedes groups of people who have been historically and systematically disadvantaged from achieving career and financial gains. More work is absolutely necessary and overdue to remove the innumerable barriers various demographics consistently face.

In short, limiting beliefs are VERY different from systemic issues that continue to penalize and discriminate against opportunities and advancement in certain groups. Dismantling the system is (still) necessary. 

limiting beliefs disclaimer


*Book: Your Best Year Ever (2018)
Author: Michael Hyatt

*Book: We Should All Be Millionaires (2020)
Author: Rachel Rodgers

*Book: The Confidence Code (2014)
Authors: Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

*The books listed above have been fundamental in addressing limiting beliefs and maneuvering within the realities of the system.

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Disclaimer: While the contents of this post and blog come from research and personal experience, each experience, situation and/or person has their own unique circumstances. This is not negotiation, financial or any other form of legitimate or official advice from an expert. Each individual should do their own independent, comprehensive research. Negotiation, career and all other decisions are the sole responsibility of each individual or party. Details found on the blog and in individual posts are opinions and should be treated as such for entertainment purposes only. Read further disclaimer information in the footer and on the Disclaimer page.

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