Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting a little Shut Eye

The Story
The first day of school, I came home exhausted. I have classes 9:30 - 5:00 straight. So after dinner, I decided I was going to take a nap. At the moment I was walking into my room to rest, my wife asked me to take care of some bills related to our daughter's birth (6 weeks ago).

Now, I have been procrastinating working on these bills, I've wanted to ignore their reality. And at this moment of tiredness, I really wanted to ignore it. So I said that I was tired and wanted to rest for a moment, "could I do it a little later?"

She emphasized to me that she really wanted to get this taken care of immediately. I then said we should complete this task when I was done resting. And so we did... the bills were taken care of and I got the rest I desired.

The Takeaways
Ask for what you want
In Getting Past No, on page #21, William Ury says "What you don't ask for, the other side is unlikely to give you." One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that I often know what I want, but I try to get it without the help of others. Often if there is a conflict, I give in because I'm not accustomed to asking.

In the situation above, I asked for what I wanted and got it. My wife also got what she wanted by emphasizing those desires. We both came away happy. I've seen this in other instances in my life--there is nothing wrong with asking and in family it is often easy to setup a quick solution that meets everyone's desires.

What did you learn about the negotiation process or about other people as negotiators
  1. It can be very quick. I didn't realize I was in a negotiation until it was over.
  2. I could have handled it better. My wife may not have needed to be as forceful if I would have said I understand, I'm tired, but I will pick it up immediately when I get back up. This would have been Ury's Step to their Side suggestion.
  3. I probably would have gotten more emotional had the compromise not been reached so easily. I need to use the Go to the Balcony step as well. I did feel guilty that I didn't help immediately. I didn't need to, I knew my motives were good.
Next time?
Situations like this will arise often. In the future, I will quickly address the two steps above. I know one tendency I have is to forget things I'm not looking forward to. I probably would have felt less guilt if I would have put the bills on my desk so I'd be sure to see them when I began working on homework. This also would have helped with the "step to their side" step because I would have displayed behavior showing her position was important to me as well.

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