As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest lessons I learnt early on is being prepared to lose. This is a catch-all phrase that means you let go or move on. It is a powerful lesson applicable to anyone really, in their personal relationship, their career development and any business dealing they get into.
The point is this : when you engage in a negotiation/dealing/endeavour, you have to keep in mind what it takes to win and what it means to lose. Being prepared to let go or to lose is not the same as saying you quit. Quitting is somewhat premature and is a proactive step (if you can choose to label it positively like so) to stop the activity.
On the other hand, being prepared to let go doesn’t involve quitting. It means you look at things with your eyes wide open. You understand that with any endeavour, there are things within your control and things outside it. With the things within your control, you can manoeuvre the elements. With things outside your control, you seek awareness of scope and duration.
While you strive to make your goal come through, a willingness to let go means that if the circumstances are right, you will move on. The trick is knowing when the circumstances are right.
The key advantage of being prepared to let go is that you can see the options before you. You see these options because you are looking at things realistically. When you are not prepared to do so, you may blindly move in when you need to retract or you may push ahead in a situation where you ought to fall back. Letting go is an acknowledgement that not everything is within your hands, that there is an element of chance/fate/circumstance that plays a part.
What is critical is that you don’t confuse early departure/premature decision making as letting go. That is something that only becomes obvious when firstly, you place yourself in situations where these things come into play more often. Secondly, when you take the time to evaluation the situation after the fact to make sense of it.
This involves a willingness :-
i. to put yourself in challenging situations;
ii. to open yourself to scrunity to see where it went wrong; and
iii. to embrace the failure and consequent learning.
The second advantage to being prepared to let go is that you have the ability to negotiate hard. Negotiation takes skill and practice, I don’t believe it to be a question purely of talent. In any negotiated situation, one must be prepared to walk away, to leave the table. If you invest too much in what is at stake, then you become vulnerable. The other party can see that and will work that to their advantage. This is not purely acting – one doesn’t just put up a show of negotiating hard; you actually are negotiating hard and prepared to let go if the situation calls for it.