Mindset to Win: Business Negotiations in High-Conflict Situations

In my professional practice, negotiation often happens in the midst of war—in high conflict situations where there is a lot at stake for my client.

Admittedly, it is rare (as a business lawyer) for me to argue cases that involve physical life or death. But the stakes often feel that significant. A poorly handled conflict can destroy one’s livelihood, business, reputation, retirement plans, and even health and family life.

Conversely, a well-handled conflict in the right circumstances can renew one’s life; it can give a second chance to build that dream business; to try again for fame and fortune; to create success that inspires others; to leave a legacy. Can you imagine how much stress weighs on my clients before they meet me, with so much at stake?

People are right to be wary of conflict; if only we could accomplish everything we want without it. But as we grow older, we learn that hoping for such ease is a fantasy: we don’t get what we desire just from wanting it. Why? Because whatever it is we want, we sense that we have to compete for it; there is a limited supply of it.

Whether true or not, our society demands that we believe in scarcity. There’s not enough money for everyone, not enough respect, and not enough love and trust.

And even if we believe in abundance, our opponents do not. And that is why they aim to take what is rightfully ours. They withhold their money, respect, love, and trust because they have to save it for themselves. Can you blame them? Many of their fears are the same as ours.

Conflict by itself is a very bitter ingredient; but it is essential to the recipe for our greatness. So don’t give in too quickly. Instead look for opportunity, and claim it wisely. More on that in the next post.

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