Confidence – One of the Most Important Aspects of Negotiation

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One of the most important things you need in order to be successful in negotiation is confidence.  Most people hesitate to negotiate because they don’t have the confidence in their position or within themselves.  When was the first time you noticed that you lost confidence in yourself?  When I think back in my childhood one of the first bad experiences I remember is my mother leaving me in a store when I was 5 years old.  This may have been one of the pivotal points in my life where I started to lose my confidence and belief in myself.

As my childhood went on, my alcoholic mother continued to tear down my confidence and self-esteem by threatening me, calling me names, belittling me, saying she was going to send me away and many other negative abusive things.  She died from alcoholism when I was only 12.  By then I had no confidence or self esteem.  My father continued to reinforce it by his lack of guidance, belief and protection. It led to many years of low self-esteem, and lack of confidence.

This lack of confidence carried over into my relationships with men. I recently remembered one of the first times I was abused by a boy.  After my mother died, my father bought me a horse.  I grew up in Texas and I had wanted a horse since I knew what one was.  I hung out at the horse stable everyday after high school and every weekend.  There were some boys from school that often came to the stables to hang out.  Some of them rode bulls so they made a bucking barrel.  A bucking barrel is something that bull riders used to train on for riding bulls or broncos in a rodeo.  They were in existence long before mechanical bulls.

Bucking Barrel

Bucking Barrel

Today people still have bucking barrels but they have padding around the ropes and soft cushioning on the ground for when you fall.  It’s usually a barrel with 4 ropes tied at 4 different ends.  The person gets on the barrel and people get on all 4 sides of the ropes and pull hard to make it buck like a bull or horse.  The bucking barrel these guys made at that stables was a metal barrel with 4 really thick chains connected to the barrel and connected to 4 posts.  One day they decided they were going to make all the girls ride it.  I don’t really remember what happened to everyone else but I remember running away because I didn’t want to ride it.  I was scared and knew I would get hurt.

They chased me down, drug me over to the barrel and forced me on it.  Then they all started pulling as hard as they could.  The next thing I knew I went flying forward and hit my side on one of the chains extremely hard flipped around and hit the ground face down.  I hit so hard that it knocked the breath out of me.  I fell face down on the ground and was gasping for air.  They were all laughing and making fun of me.  I was humiliated.  I was in a lot of pain. I left and went home and for several weeks had pain and soreness in my side.  My dad was oblivious to anything going on with me and I never told him. I suffered in silence.

I hadn’t thought about that incident in years and not sure why it popped back into my head.  I went through many abusive relationships in my life and let men treat me like garbage.  No one ever told me otherwise and watching my parents beat each other up gave me a bad example.

I was forced to negotiate in my job and in other situations in my life.  I had to give briefings in the military and speeches in certain courses I took.  I never had the confidence but forced myself to do the things I was required to do.  It wasn’t until I had what I call my mirror experience and started to change from the inside out that I started to gain confidence.  Learning to ride a motorcycle also gave me a certain level of confidence. My upcoming book The GoPINK Rules of Engagement has much more of my story of victory over chronic trauma.

Often people tell me they don’t have the confidence or the knowledge to negotiate.  Some of it may be lack of knowledge or experience, but the confidence part is usually tied to some other part of their lives.  Work on that part and get a little experience and training and you too will be an expert negotiator.

I had a long journey to heal the trauma from my past.  Once I healed the things inside me that took my confidence away, not only was I more successful at negotiation, I was more successful in every area of my life.

Take a look back at your past at the things that may have affected your confidence level.  Do the necessary work around those areas and get ready to learn some great negotiation skills.  I’ll be sharing more tips on how to get some great negotiation experience to train your skills in upcoming posts.


Copyright 2013 Dynamic Vision Inc

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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