Are You Negotiating Your Non-Negotiables?

Recently two different women have come to me for more clarity about their husbands.  When I asked about what was going on, I heard them acquiescing to their husbands.  Both had stopped standing up for themselves.    They let go of their non-negotiables, those things they had said were essential to the relationship.

When they stopped standing up for themselves, they lost their say.  Step by Step.  They lost their say by failing to stand up for themselves in the little things, where it felt easier to just keep the harmony.  Like asking your husband to turn down the volume on the TV so you can read.  You may loudly hear how he likes the volume high to watch the game.  You let it go of reading quietly in the next room and move to a less comfortable place.

Have you lost your say?  Have you unwittingly offered your non-negotiables back up for negotiation?  One of my non-negotiables is living with positive people.  When I figured it out, a person my husband had invited to live with us was acting negatively toward me.  I went to my husband and shared that I wanted to surround myself with positive people.  My husband understood and helped the person find other living arrangements.

The first step is to be clear on just what is mandatory to you.  Next figure out what you are willing to let go of to have it.  Finally communicate to others and act on your decisions.

Take the time to write down what is essential in your relationship.  As an example, perhaps you would like to feel safe.  When someone is hitting you, you are unsafe.  You have a clear line.  This is a critical point.  Make certain you are clear with yourself and what you tell others.  Clarity adds to your certainty.

Once you are clear, figure out what you are willing to do.  Name the action you are willing to take to keep your non-negotiable intact.  In the safety example, you may choose to call 911.  This is the action step you have thought out in advance, so you are ready in the heat of the moment.

After you are clear and know your action step, then you communicate to the person with whom you have a relationship.  Your clarity makes this communication easier.  You can then state to your husband, “If you lift a hand against me, I will call the police.”  At this point you are passing on information rather negotiating.  You are stating your facts.

Lastly, you follow through as necessary.  The person hits and you call 911 or whatever it is you have decided to do that works for you.   You are then demonstrating your willingness to follow through with standing up for yourself.

Your non-negotiables are just that.  They are your own.  You get to choose them.  Figure them out so that you can communicate them clearly.  Determine your action steps if your non-negotiables are ignored.  State your non-negotiables and action steps.  Then follow through.  You choose your relationships and how they function.  To you and your working relationships!

Do You Listen to Your Heart?

Your head and your heart have different languages.  When you follow your heart, you respond to your own desires as opposed to reason or logic.  Figuring out which one is speaking makes it easier to follow your heart.  For example, a friend sent me a text.   “Did you know Brene Brown is coming to town in three weeks?  Wanna go?”  “I would love to!  I think the tickets are sold out.” I responded.  To which she replied, “I have a ticket for you.”  Being a Brene Brown devotee, I practically jumped across the distance to where she was to give her a hug.  I was exhilarated just thinking about seeing Brene Brown in person.  I looked at my schedule only to find I was booked for something else on that same date!  It was a dinner with people Jeff, my husband, met on one of his Bicycle Adventures trips.

My mind started spinning.  How could I get out of it?  I “should” go because Jeff is out of town so much.  The dinner engagement had been planned for at least a couple of weeks.  I had said yes.   Meanwhile, I kept saying to myself, Brene Brown, Brene Brown in person, the opportunity to see Brene Brown in person.  The allure permeated by body.  My heart yearned to see Brene Brown.

My mind recycled reasons to prevent me from going.  I had made a commitment.  My mind did its job:  rationalizing, breaking down thoughts, analyzing.

The mind churns, creating a system of stops and reroutes to justify how the mind is right and logic should prevail.  The mind is thinking.  It is logical to do what I said I would do, to keep my commitment.

Meanwhile, the heart is feeling.  I resonate with the connection I feel for Brene Brown.  Just saying her name fills my heart with joy.  My heart has fewer words.  I feel the magnetism pulling me in that direction.  That is my heartfelt choice.

I listen closely to my heart.  My heart speaks from my core.  I talked with Jeff.  Jeff set me free of my obligation.  I am excited to see Brene Brown on her upcoming visit to Seattle.  When you listen to your head and your heart, take the time to figure out which is which.  Then figure whether you would rather listen to:  your head or your heart?

Are You Just Tolerating Parts of Your Life?

What are the parts in your life you’re just tolerating?  You may tolerate physical clutter, an irritating job, people who drain your energy.  What you tolerate takes energy, energy you could be using to do what brings a smile to your face.  How do you rid yourself of pesky irritants so that you can use your valuable energy on what you want?

Look at what you do.  Place what you do in one of three categories:

  1. What you’re doing is what you’d like to be doing, you’re on track here.

When doing an activity in this first category, you’re happy.  You come alive and feel in your element.  This can involve work, family and play.  Your joy in work, family and play makes you feel satisfied about you and your life.

  1. What you’re doing allows you to do what you’d like to be doing. For instance, you may dislike driving to work, however driving to work allows you to do what you’d like to be doing when you arrive.

When doing things in this category, it can be easy to forget why you’re doing them, and you may develop a negative attitude about them.  You may wonder why you’re cleaning when what you love to do is sell.  Remember necessary activities are part of taking you where you’d like to go.

  1. What you’re doing is off track. You’re tolerating.

The items in this third category are distractions.  You may have allowed yourself to be distracted, you may be tolerating the activity or someone else may have pulled you off track.  Take clutter, for example.  Clutter is lack of order.  That lack of order can represent incomplete tasks.  Clutter is a means to an end.  If you let it build up, clutter drains energy.  Take inventory of what you’re tolerating.  Then let go of the tolerations and watch your productivity soar!

Get back on your track.  In order to be pulled off track, you must be clear what on track is.  Be clear about what you like and what you like to do.  Do more of that by letting go of all those things you’re currently putting up with.

Are You Holding on Too Tightly?

Did you ever just grab hold of something and hang on so tightly your hand hurt?   When you hold on physically, you can also hold on with your mind.  Say for example, you are waiting for a job offer and that wait dominates you.  You are holding on tightly as your mind keeps returning to the thought of the prospective job.  Tension builds inside you.  You may think holding on tightly is exactly what you have to do in order to receive the offer.

There is a more effective way.

When you let go of tension, you invite ease in helping you gain what you would like.  Tension keeps you focused on the strain.  Instead, release and focus on what you are after.   Take a step back and make room for what you would like.  Make room to look at the bigger picture of the whole situation rather than just the single detail.  The job offer will be made or you will be turned down all the while the rest of your life continues.

Here’s an example of how holding on too tightly has a big impact on a life.  In South America, monkeys are trapped by setting out a small-necked container filled with bananas.  The monkey wants a banana and reaches in and grabs one tightly.  Wanting the banana so badly, he is unable to pull his hand with the banana back out.  The bottle’s neck is only wide enough for the hand or the banana rather than both at the same time.  The trapper throws a bag over the monkey.  The monkey is trapped.  The monkey was holding the banana so tightly, he lost sight of everything but the banana.   Have you held onto what you were doing so tightly you lost your focus on the bigger picture?

One key to releasing tension is to let go of your tight grip.  First, do what it takes to soothe yourself, whether it is deep breathing, talking a quick break with a short walk or just inviting yourself to be calm.   As you relax, things will look different, leading to different and better outcomes.  You’ll notice:

  • a bigger picture
  • a greater readiness for whatever happens
  • an increased control of your attention
  • more specifics about your surroundings
  • details making it easier to find your solution and obtain what you want.
  • increased flexibility.

When you relax your body, it’s easier to relax your mind.  You think of more options when you’re calm and centered.  You think more thoroughly to find creative solutions.  For example, can the monkey turn the container upside down and just have the bananas fall out?

Step back to see the whole picture.  Is there an easier way to retrieve the banana?  Is it even the banana you want?  When attending to a small detail, you miss what else is going on that may provide answers.   There may be someone with a smaller hand than yours who can get in, and even out of the trap.  You can only see that if you expand your perspective.

When you hold something too tightly, it takes your focus.  Open your focus by relaxing your grip, calming your attention and broadening your perspective.  Be open to all possible solutions.

–Caron MacLane

You Can Have More Confidence When You Follow Through

According to, the definition of “confidence” is “full trust; … reliability of a person.”  For example, you say you will be at a specific place at a designated time. How often do you hit the mark? If you remember that number, you can identify opportunities for improvement and increased confidence.

That number indicates how often your actions match your words. You can call this your reliability score. Now you know if people can count on your word. Also, you know how much you can count on yourself.

Your score has a great impact on you and how you see yourself. When you see yourself as partially reliable, your confidence decreases. You can build your confidence by increasing your reliability and consistency.

You change your success rate with your decisions that lead your actions. At this point you may be saying, “yes, but things come up.” Update your word when things come up. Stuck in traffic? Call and update your arrival time to keep your word intact. The two main ways to increase your reliability score are to do more of what you say you are going to do and to commit to less. Either way you win.

Would you like increase your confidence and be counted on to follow through on your word?  Change your reliability score.  Follow through on what you say you are going to do and commit to less. People will count on you more. You will see yourself differently.