Win and Help Win

I took a Karrass Negotiating workshop once. Expensive. Worth it. For the Rick-back-then, he needed some clarity about what mattered when it came to negotiating.

I discovered that Win-Lose as the intention was something pretty darn straightforward. I was really good at it. Focused just on getting what I wanted made it “easy” in the sense that I could use my instincts – you know, the predator/prey ones – to go for the “kill.”

But it was the Win-Win that really made the whole workshop worth it. The instruction we were given, confidentially without the other party knowing, was…

Win-Win… or NO DEAL.

WOW! The negotiation was tricky as each “side” (they still said we were on different “sides” – how quaint) had information and needs that they were not allowed to disclose to the other side.

The negotiation for WIN-WIN took much much longer. There was a different energy. Where Win-Lose had that competitive sweatiness to it, when things were not going “right” with Win-Win… there was frustration, but it was directed at the situation and the lack of an agreeable agreement being figured out yet. It wasn’t directed at the person on the other “side.”

I remember that this changed me not only in it being clear to me, and something I would speak into preliminary discussions, that for me anything we reached needed to be Win-Win… or there would be no deal.

Inside me I used to believe in the value of “sacrifice.” If it meant a lot to another person, it was okay if I “lost” – I mean, isn’t that the game? One wins, one loses? I’d rather help the stumbling person over the line than crush it.

I know that doesn’t make me a "tough competitor."

What it does do is make me a potent co-creator.

I’m not willing to settle for a loss when it comes to fashioning agreements. I believe in the creativity released when we’re on the same side of the table, exploring possibilities with respect (and healthy mutual generosity).

How about Win… and Help Win?

What I love seeing in certain circles is powerful and competent beings who, yes, have reached a point of thriving (or are on their way with real skills they can share!) making it explicit:

As we win, we help others to win.

If we’re generous sharing what worked that might work for others…

If we’re aware that what we put out energetically matters, especially if what we’re putting out is safety, deep respect, and celebrating freedom…

We are indeed helping others to win, too.

This mindset is ambitious, but also generous and non-zero-sum.

Thank you for being a part of helping others to win as you, too, find even what winning means and does not mean to you.

Love to you,


This is exactly what makes you such a delightful partner and person to live with, @Rick!

What you describe here feels like a Real Skill to me, that nourishes mutual thriving in so many ways… easy to see in family life, but it also goes with the work we do with our clients and in community.

As one of my mentors reminds us often:

“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

When we notice what Resources we have that are uplifting us, helping us heal and thrive, and we share those with others, the whole community feels better.

Mutual generosity is a radically different dynamic than one of competition.

I know that when I keep that in mind, and see what each of us is needing in a given moment (or through the day), it’s much easier to support ALL of our needs getting met, knowing that we’ll all feel better and have more Resource available to continue to nurture our well-Being (as well as our well-Doing, which is best when rooted in well-Being first!).

For instance, I know some families where there’s kind of a competition to be sure that individuals get their needs met – which seems to come from the assumption that others won’t tend to their needs if they don’t aggressively advocate for them themselves… And, from an assumption that there’s a limited amount of Resource available, that one person’s needs “must” be sacrificed to meet another’s, and there’s not enough time/energy to go around… which may seem true, when lacking in Real Skills to replenish their energetic and emotional Resources.

What I’ve noticed is that the better each family member gets at Real Skills, the easier all of family life (& the rest of life!) feels – and, my underlying belief now is that there IS enough energy available to meet all of our needs, which is relaxing in itself, and then tends to prove to be true!

But, if I get depleted, it’s harder to remember that… and that’s when Mutual Generosity is so helpful: I can trust that our needs can all be met, and it gets easier to ask for what I need as we make our agreements, as well as to offer my support to others, since it’s coming from a full (and consistently, consciously re-filling) cup.

Then I feel like I “win” and have enough energy to help others “win” too, which means we all win! Hooray for We-Space!