“I hope you are going to make much money”. Said “Albert” one of my colleague. He was happy I was transitioning from being an employee to becoming a freelancer. However, I was to discover how a subtle form of chronic procrastination can destroy your plans in No time.
What is the problem?
Lesson 1: High procrastinator are not even conscious of the subtle negative power of avoiding rejection
Now I could understand what had happened: I didn’t want to feel rejected, so much that I wanted to get my first proposal approved. I tried to fit in to receive a “YES” answer.
I had never suspected that my desire to be liked was so deeply rooted. In my earlier years as engineer, I was always focusing on getting experience and learning during negotiations. “Making money isn’t my primary concerns yet” I used to justify my choices.
That wasn’t a wrong a mindset. However, I always felt I didn’t battle at the end of each negotiation. Anytime I had an offer, my mind was screaming, ” Where do I sign, give me the pen and paper now? “
Now that I was more experienced, I was still making the same mistake.
My failure wasn’t that I asked too much and get rejected. My failure was: I didn’t HAVE THE COURAGE TO GO FOR WHAT I BELIEVED MY MINIMUM WORTH HAD TO BE.
Lesson 2: Address Emotions first, Logic comes afterwards
What is going on underneath is, there is an unconscious choice already set up. We prefer: “to please and not obtain what we want”, rather than getting “rejected and obtain what you want”.
However, when people talk about negotiation, they only insist on the logical perspective, nobody mentions the inertia due to emotion. Thus, we believe that preparation only means looking for a rational argument.
This happened in many other cases.
- When we have to negotiate a salary raise with our Boss, and we believe that we shouldn’t ask more than 1% because of the mainstream idea.
- When we decide not to apply to an opened position because we estimate this dreamed job requires more experience.
Solution:Uncover your conflicting thoughts
Step 1: Explicit your conflicting thoughts
- I want to ask for XXX, but I wonder if scenario YYY would happen because the mainstream idea says ZZZ.
Step 2: Accept you are going to displease the other side
- I accept that I might be rejected if I ask too much.
- I accept that person XXX won’t appreciate my behavior to do YYY
- I acknowledge that person XXX will get angry because my behavior to do YYY
Step 3: Make the appropriate unconscious choice to comes up to the surface
- I prefer [ to do XXX , feel rejected and have YYY] rather than [to do ZZZ , feel safe, and not have UUU].
- I want to ask for 550 €, but I worry if the recruiter will consider it too much because my colleagues said that €300-€350 is good (step 1).
- I accept the possibility that the recruiter might be disappointed and decide to walk away to find other candidates (step 2).
- I prefer to Ask for €550, feel rejected, and have €350 rather than asking €350, feel safe, and not obtain €550.
Heudou Tchihikou Aubin
A master chronic procrastinator who chose to execute on his dreams because of frustration and self-criticism