It’s never too early or too late to dream big and achieve even bigger. Embrace these 10 “I will” statements to get more value and satisfaction out of your negotiations, in the workplace and in life.
1. I will find a way to make the pie bigger.
There’s always more than one issue in a negotiation, even if it seems like the biggest or most important thing is money. Try thinking about your bigger picture career goals and where you’d like to be a few years down the road. What else is valuable to you in addition to a raise? Maybe it’s a leadership opportunity, a professional development course, or flex time to pursue a side hustle. Find a way to sell it to your manager as something that benefits both you and the company.
2. I will sell my superpower.
Your superpower is a skill that comes to you effortlessly. Embracing your superpower as something that you don’t need to justify can help you sell it as an asset that you uniquely bring to your team. Think of it as a kinder and more open version of the question, “What’s your unfair advantage?”
3. I will get better at tolerating uncertainty.
This is a tough one to master, but well worth the effort. Every negotiation has some uncertainty, since you can’t have all the information about your counterpart’s point of view. Use self-reflection as a tool to help you find the balance between gut instinct and complete indecision in the face of uncertainty in negotiation. Knowing whether you’re likely to make a hasty decision or agonize over every last detail can help you course-correct and avoid overcompensating either way.
4. I will stop apologizing.
Download the “Just Not Sorry” Google plugin to become aware of any apologetic habits that are plaguing your email. It’s a great start to heighten your awareness of spoken habits as well. Two phrases I use routinely instead of qualifying words like “actually” or “just” are “I would like” and “As it turns out.” “I would like” is so great because it’s less direct (and less likely to be perceived as aggressive) than “I want” or “I deserve” and not as soft as “Do you think, maybe, I could…?” “As it turns out” is a handy phrase to use when something hasn’t gone according to plan but isn’t your fault.
5. I will get credit for my concessions.
Women are less likely to get credit for the routine ways they go above and beyond their stated responsibilities because they are expected to be team players. Use the I-We strategy to get credit without seeming pushy.
6. I will pre-empt unnecessary conflict by embracing the “won’t do” vs “will do” strategy.
If there’s someone at work you know you don’t get along well with, use the “won’t do” vs. “will do” strategy to break the cycle of negativity and frustration. Come up with a go-to “will do” for any time that person provokes you. It can be as simple as taking a deep breath and counting to 10 before changing the subject.
7. I will have a strategy to deal with naysayers.
There will always be people in any workplace who are resistant to change. Don’t let them drag you down. Like the “won’t do” vs. “will do” strategy, having a simple, consistent response for naysayers frees up your mental energy to focus on advancing your cause. Try something like, “Thanks for the input. Right now I am focused on moving this project forward with the plan in place.”
8. I will do the right research, even if it’s awkward.
Yes, this means you need to talk to actual humans about money — about how much they’re making or paying or charging. There’s no substitute for information validated by someone you know personally. When you use the information you’ve gathered in your negotiation, you’ll be able to say with confidence, “According to my research, this is the industry standard.”
9. I will practice my negotiation using role playing.
You get really good at what you do all the time. Practicing is the most effective way to get better at negotiating, and it can be very simple. Find someone you trust and role-play both as yourself and as your counterpart. Answer the questions you most need to prepare for at least half a dozen times, and then switch roles. Role-playing as your counterpart can give you insights into their perspective and helps you determine which information is most relevant to the situation. Yes, it sounds awkward, but ask yourself this: how much are you willing to pay to avoid an awkward conversation? Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.
10. I will fail — and I will keep moving forward.
If you never fail, you’re not aiming high enough. This year, set a goal so big that you know failure is a likely outcome and treat it as an experiment. As my husband is fond of saying, your experiment is only a failure if you don’t get any results. Even negative results are still results. So go big and use what you learn to fuel your next endeavor.
This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.