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Why you shouldn’t avoid making mistakes


Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

75 Mistakes

Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone is willing to take risks and make mistakes, accept responsibility for them, learn from them, and use them to go forward and achieve their goals. Great negotiators are risk-takers and mistake-makers. They don’t play it safe and stay small from fear of failure, or because of loss or embarrassment suffered from past mistakes.

Mistakes are part of life’s curriculum.

Mistakes can be unpleasant, painful, and costly – even personally or financially devastating. Some mistakes are private, known only to you, or perhaps to just a few. Some mistakes become public knowledge. Some mistakes may be so monumental that they become the stuff of scandal, fodder for the media, and a source of public humiliation or disgrace for you, your organisation, and your family.

Whatever the magnitude of any mistake you make and whatever the resulting consequences, how you respond will determine whether your mistake leads to your next growth cycle or to your diminishment and decline.

No mistake has the power to determine your response to it. That choice is yours. Will you accept responsibility for it? Will you examine your motives, choices, and behaviours that contributed to the mistake and learn valuable lessons from it? Will you make appropriate new decisions, choices, and changes on the basis of such consideration? Will you hold your head up, stand tall, and accept the consequences without shifting the blame or making excuses?

Ball’s in your courttennis-ball-in-court

Once a mistake is made which cannot be undone, it’s time to reflect and to seek a solution. At that point, how you handle yourself and how you deal with the mistake and its consequences are more important than whether or not the mistake happened, or what people think of you because of it. You can’t control what people think of you. But you can choose who you will be and how you will live. You can choose to accept responsibility for your actions, to accept life as it comes and fate when it happens. Remember that everything passes and changes. Thankfully some other disaster will knock you off the front page, if that is where you have ended up.

In the meantime, take your medicine without self-pity or complaint. Admit your mistake with humility and good humour. When appropriate, smile and make a self-deprecating joke that shows awareness and humility, humanness and vulnerability.

People will like you, empathise with you, and even respect you more for it. And, once the dust has settled, the public perception of you will be based on how you dealt with the mistake rather than on the mere fact that you made it. You will be recognised as a person of quality and substance, even of high moral character, who slipped or erred, but maintained or regained their integrity. You will be recognised as someone who can be trusted and relied upon.

Regardless of what has happened or what you have done, remember: everything is part of a larger process. Tomorrow is another day. Each day holds the possibility of a new beginning. And every step in the right direction moves you toward your goal.

An old Turkish proverb states, “No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, turn back.” Remember that the world is full of people who made mistakes with disastrous consequences, but who rose phoenix-like from the ashes to change their lives and do new and better things.

To be a great negotiator, be willing to make mistakes, and be sure to learn from them. When you do make a mistake, own up, take your medicine, fix the problem, learn from the experience, and move on. A mistake is just a learning experience. And, in the end, not learning from experience is the only real mistake.


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