Getting to Yes with Yourself

Summary Written by Jill Donahue
"The better we are able to get to yes with ourselves, the better we will be able to get to yes with others."

- Getting to Yes with Yourself, page 169

The Big Idea

Six Steps

"As I have personally experienced, getting to yes with yourself is not just the most challenging, but the most rewarding negotiation of all."- Getting to Yes with Yourself, page 11

When you look in the mirror in the morning, you are seeing the person who is likely to give you the most trouble that day. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

We are reaction machines. We judge ourselves, blame others, fear scarcity and reject when we feel rejected. We sabotage ourselves by reacting in ways that do not serve our true interests. We lose our temper, call someone a liar or lash out, mostly because we have an underlying win-lose mindset. We assume that either we can get what we want OR they get what they want—but not both. This comes from a scarcity mindset.

Step back and think: What if you focused on both sides winning. When we switch to a mindset of abundance, of satisfying the needs of yourself and of others, that’s when we become our own best allies. The process of turning ourselves from opponents into allies is what Ury refers to as getting to yes with yourself.

Ury spent many years studying what blocks us from satisfying our needs and the needs of others and has codified what he’s learned into a method with six steps. Each step addresses a specific internal challenge.

These six steps may seem like common sense but Ury warns us that they are uncommonly applied! By reviewing them you can prepare yourself for any challenge the day may bring.

  1. Put yourself in YOUR shoes. Instead of continually judging yourself, listen empathetically for underlying needs.
  2. Develop your inner BATNA. Instead of blaming others with whom we are in conflict, take responsibility. Figure out your best alternative to negotiated agreement (BATNA) to end up from the negotiation in a place where your needs are met.
  3. Reframe your picture. Instead of succumbing to the fear of scarcity that exists in almost everyone, change how you see life. Choose to see life as on your side.
  4. Stay in the zone. Instead of being lost in resentment for the past and anxiety about the future, be in the present. This is the only place where you have the power to experience true satisfaction and opportunity for improvement.
  5. Respect them even if. Resist the temptation to meet rejection with rejection, attack with attack and exclusion with exclusion. Instead, surprise others with respect and inclusion even when they are difficult.
  6. Give and receive. Don’t fall into the win-lose trap even when resources seem scarce. Instead give first.

Let’s explore just two of the steps further.

Insight #1

Respect Them Even If

"I’ve long noticed that the cheapest concession you can make, the one that costs you the least and yields the most, is to give respect."- Getting to Yes with Yourself, page 117

I had the opportunity to practice #5 yesterday. Six days before my flight to a speaking gig, my client called to cancel. It had nothing to do with me but rather internal issues. Her solution was to simply rebook it to a new date. She bemoaned the fact that she had no more budget to compensate me for the cancellation. The trouble of course was that I had three days reserved for her and, on top of that, I had turned down another opportunity to speak with a significantly bigger audience (and budget).

I was upset and frustrated, but in the heat of the moment I took a deep breath and reacted with respect and inclusion. I said “I completely trust you and just know that we will figure out something that works for us both. Let’s sleep on it and chat again tomorrow.” The next day I proposed that I spend those three days working on another project for them. That way the money invested wouldn’t be going down the drain as a cancellation fee and my days would not be wasted—a win-win!

What situation do you have in front of you in which you need to respect them even if…? What if you assume the best and show them you believe in them?

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Insight #2

Give and Receive

"Paradoxically, it is by giving that we often receive what we most want."- Getting to Yes with Yourself, page 155

Ury shares a story of Scott, a twenty-eight year old picture-perfect success story. He earned lots of money, wore a Rolex watch, drove a BMW, had a model girlfriend. Then it suddenly hit him. He was emotionally, spiritually and morally bankrupt. He looked around and realized no one in his life was happy.

After much soul searching he came to the truth that “no matter how much we may get, there is never enough.” He anticipated there would never be enough girls, money or status to achieve the elusive happiness he sought. His neediness was insatiable when he only thought about himself and what he could get.

In contrast, he realized that genuine giving could meet his deepest need to be useful and connected to others and to make a difference in the world. His big ah-ha was the paradox truth that it is by giving that we often receive what we most want.

When we connect with our purpose (or what difference we make in the world), giving can become engrained in the fabric of our lives. And like a muscle, the giving attitude strengthens with exercise.

I have seen first-hand the power of purpose (in fact I teach a workshop by that very title). When the pharma people I work with get in touch with, articulate and communicate their purpose to help improve patient outcomes, that’s when they do their best work and are the happiest. It’s incredible.

If you review and practice the six steps daily, you will be ready for your toughest situation or negotiation. Every single day you will have opportunities to change your stance from win-lose to win-win; to embrace a mindset of abundance.

Read the book

Get Getting to Yes with Yourself on Amazon.

William Ury

William Ury is the co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, where he directs the Project on Preventing War. One of the world’s leading negotiation specialists, his past clients include dozens of Fortune 500 companies as well as the White House and Pentagon. Ury received his B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard. His books Getting to YES and Getting Past No have sold more than five million copies worldwide.

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