I am an expert negotiator.

Sure, I may pay full price for a car. I may get gouged for a water heater or a new air-conditioning unit. And I certainly lose most of the negotiations with my wife.

However, when I negotiate with myself, I always win.

Let me explain.

I train everyday (with rare exception). Before I begin, I’ve already begun the negotiations. “Next item up for business: you planned to run 13 miles. Are you going to run 13 miles?” And then the process begins. It’s like an epic courtroom drama, the slick defense attorney vs. the conservative prosecutor.

Once I begin the run, the negotiations continue. Of course, the moment I sense a twang in my right knee or a ping in my left foot, it’s like a new exhibit has been entered into evidence.

Sometimes I can convince myself to complete the 13 miles. Other times, I’ve negotiated a new outcome, one that realizes itself at around 10 or 11 miles. The evidence is almost always compelling: “You don’t want to get injured. Better to play it safe”.

While I think this process is healthy, it’s important to be conscious of one thing: do not allow your negotiations to become one-sided. In other words, if you’re regularly negotiating downwards (turning a 50 mile ride into a 30 miler, a 4,000 yard swim into 2,500), you must make sure to also negotiate upwards. On the days when you feel good, extend your bike ride, add an extra 20 minutes to your swim session, or run a couple extra loops around the block.

It’s okay to be an expert negotiator. But a real expert should be good at getting the most out of every negotiation.

5 comments

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