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10 Misconceptions About Your 20s That Are Making You Miserable

10 Misconceptions About Your 20s That Are Making You Miserable

Your 20s are a confusing time. There is a lot of uncertainty, as well as a lot of hope and excitement for the future. Unfortunately, misconceptions often cause unnecessary stress for people in their 20s.

Instead of berating yourself for what you have yet to accomplish, read these 10 misconceptions and erase limiting expectations you have placed on yourself.

1. You’re Supposed to Earn a Particular Salary

While it varies for each individual, most people have a general idea of what a ‘successful’ salary is for a twentysomething. The problem is, this misconception can discourage twentysomethings who are happy in their line of work, but are not very wealthy. It can also push twentysomethings to aim for the highest-paying careers, even when those positions are totally unsuitable for many of them.

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2. You’re Supposed to Own a Home

Owning a home is a very specific goal- unlike the goal to be happy, which can apply to everyone. When family members, friends, or colleagues push twentysomethings into pursuing the goal of home-ownership, they’re creating more confusion in the already jumbled mind of a twentysomething. You may be happy renting an apartment, traveling for a period of time, owning a home, or something else. What matters is that you are choosing it for your own reasons.

3. You’re Not Supposed to Have Any Baggage

Let’s face it – your twenties are just a decade after your teens. Many people in their twenties are still dealing with and learning from mistakes made in high school and college. It’s unreasonable that twentysomethings should be expected to be completely proficient adults, free of any bad habits or immature tendencies left over from earlier years. These issues take time to understand and heal from. Oftentimes, that healing process happens throughout your 20s.

4. You’re Supposed to Have a Huge Network

A lot of twentysomethings feel abnormal when they compare their friendship circles with those of others around them, or those of people in the media. But the truth about twentysomething friendships is that they’re not nearly as neat and tidy as we like to pretend. You may have lost or grown apart from friends, and maybe you haven’t replaced them yet. You may have long-distance friends you rarely see, or friends in different age groups. Basically, our social lives should not be judged on the basis of unrealistic expectations.

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5. You’re Supposed to be Married

Watching your friends get hitched is a common anxiety-inducing experience for twentysomethings. It gives the impression that you have a romantic time limit, and that if your friends are pairing off, you must be abnormal for not doing so as well. But few people in their 20s thoroughly know themselves and understand what kind of partner they need. Thus for many twentysomethings, it can be a sign of wisdom that they have not yet become engaged.

6. You’re Supposed to be Single

On the flip side of the coin, you may have a gaggle of single friends telling you that it’s far too early to marry or have children. Again, this can be a misconception. The ability to maintain a healthy marriage and raise a family depends entirely on a couple’s maturity level – not their age. A variety of different personality types exist, and so it’s misleading to assume all twentysomethings will benefit more from being single than being in a committed relationship.

7. You’re Not Supposed to be Afraid

A lot of aspects of twentysomething life are straight-up scary – choosing careers, choosing relationships, choosing where you’d like to live, etc. All of these life-altering decisions, on top of day-to-day stresses, would understandably create fear for anyone. But it is an unfortunate misconception that fear is seen as something that is not supposed to occur. We use fear to guide ourselves away from unsafe choices, and we also use it to recognize self-defeating beliefs. If you’re both excited and afraid about an upcoming decision, train your brain to let go of negative expectations.

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8. You Should Be in Great Shape

As a twentysomething, you may be barraged with ideas about how young people are supposed to look, and the expectation that you are supposed to be in perfect physical shape. What’s worse is that there is also a misconception that this perfect body shape should come naturally. In reality, you can be in poor health at any age if you fail to support and take care of yourself. Twentysomethings need to remind themselves that their diet and workout routines don’t have to be flawless. They just need to be supportive. Once you support your body, it will naturally change and improve to support you.

9. You’re Supposed to Have a Particular Degree

One of the most discouraging and misleading beliefs is that you need a certain kind of education to get anywhere in life. People debate whether college degrees really matter, with some claiming advanced degrees are necessary. Some say a Bachelors is needed, and others claim you must get accepted at a particular university to succeed. However, in fact, none of these are innately true. Twentysomethings from varying educational backgrounds have succeeded in a range of industries. By believing that your education level will limit your options forever, you’re quitting before you have even begun.

10. You’re Supposed to “Have it All Figured Out”

Your 20s are the first decade of your life that you are officially considered an adult. But the thing so many fail to realize is that transitioning from being a teenager to an adult is not like an on-off switch. It’s a gradual transition with ups, downs, and periods of confusion. The idea that you have to ‘have it all figured out’ isn’t only a myth for twentysomethings, but for adults of any age. Those in their 80s still don’t have everything figured out, so why should you pressure yourself to achieve that in your 20s?

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Featured photo credit: stokpic via stokpic.com

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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