If something is really important to you, can you go to the mat for it?

Do you know how to negotiate and stand up for what you want? Or do you avoid the conflict and potentially end up living with regrets?

Knowing when and how to fight fair for what you want is part of being a boundary boss and essential to living your most satisfying, self-determined life! 

That’s why in today’s video, I’m walking you through how to pick your battles wisely, how to stand your ground, and how to negotiate like a pro.


How to Pick Your Battles Wisely

Picking your battles wisely is about getting clear about what you want, why it matters, and what your motives are. 

Fighting because we’re in a bad mood or for no good reason is not good for our relationships and not good for us. You need to get crystal clear on how important whatever it is you are fighting for is to you. Make it a general rule to fight for the things that really matter.  

I wrote Boundary Boss during a global pandemic while my mother was going through cancer treatments and let me tell you, I had to uplevel my discernment skills and pick my battles extremely wisely throughout the entire writing/editing/publishing process.

I got so much more comfortable letting go of the things that didn’t matter and standing my ground for the things that did. I learned a lot about humility, but also about patience throughout writing a book. (And my mom is cancer-free now btw! ?)

Getting clear about our feelings and where they are really coming from, especially if we are feeling defensive or reactive, is part of this process as well. Learn how to take a breath, take a pause and think about the other person’s point of view. Is there wisdom in what they are saying? Why are they resisting the thing we want? 

Knowing when and how to fight means working towards responding mindfully instead of reacting immediately. 

How to Stand Your Ground

Like any skill, learning how to stand your ground, whether in your professional or personal life, gets easier with practice. If you are conflict-avoidant, this process might make you uncomfortable. And a little discomfort never killed anyone. 

Many of us who don’t like conflict often feel like we want everything tied up in a neat bow immediately. We want to stay in our comfort zone. But…

Much of the time your comfort zone is just a comfortable prison. 

Standing your ground and fighting for what’s important sometimes means putting a pin in it and taking space to think through what we really want. If it matters to you, it’s ok to be uncomfortable. 

We’ve got to get clear when we are standing our ground. Sometimes we can be too inflexible or too activated. It’s important to get to the bottom of our true feelings. 

Why are we holding on so tightly? Is it an ego thing? It is a desire to be right? Is there any emotional transference? 

If you’re having a transference it means your reaction to the situation in the present is being driven by unresolved feelings or an emotional injury from the past. 

Having an emotional transference does not negate the validity of what you might be fighting for, but deactivating the old response so you can be here now is key to mindfully negotiating for your needs. We have to be able to be masters of ourselves.

In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you additional questions plus a tool I use to help you gain clarity around any emotional transference that might be adding unnecessary fuel to the fire. 

The most successful negotiations and the healthiest conflicts come from keeping our own side of the street clean, so grab your guide here now. 

How to Negotiate Like a Pro

Here are my best tips to set yourself up for success:

> Get clarity about your why. Are you negotiating for a preference or a need? Why do you want what you want? Where are you willing to compromise? Do you have any deal-breakers around the issue? Before you go into making a boundary request or fight for this thing, whatever it is, you need to make sure that you have a plan.

> Write out how you feel! Grab your journal and get to it before you have the conversation. If there’s anything sticky or heated, dive a little bit more deeply, because it can be really helpful to clear your mind and clear your emotional space.

> Practice the conversation ahead of time. Think through what you want to say and how you want to say it. Visualize it and try to feel the feelings of it going well ahead of time. 

> Set a positive tone from the outset. If this is in your professional life, acknowledge the other person’s position and start with respect. Don’t take anything personally. 

> If this is in your personal life, try to stay in the mindset of “This isn’t you against me. This is us against the problem. I have no doubt we will figure it out.”

> Stay calm. Stay clear. There is no way to make an effective point if you’re yelling it, trust me. Being any kind of activated is how you give up your power. My feeling is if you can’t stay relatively calm, then you’re most likely not ready to have the conversation. 

> If you are feeling activated or it’s getting heated, take a break and go inward. 

> Accept that sometimes we have to agree to disagree. Finding humor can be helpful if you can mutually let off steam, have a laugh, and bring some levity to the situation. 

I think there is nothing more painful than having regrets. So no matter how uncomfortable I might feel in the moment, nothing is worse than wishing I had said something different or wishing I hadn’t accepted something I did. Ruminating and feeling bad over letting myself down is worse to me than any conflict or negotiation I could find myself in. 

You can do this! My greatest power in any negotiation is to never let anyone else’s behavior inspire me to lower my integrity. I aspire to live the Michelle Obama saying, “When they go low, we go high!” 

I hope that this was helpful to you. I want to know what you think is worth fighting for! So please, drop me a comment here or connect with me over on IG @terricole and let’s keep this conversation going! 

I super appreciate you being a part of my crew. Let’s open up a dialogue in the world this week and as always, take care of you. 

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  1. Terri,
    You are always so timely in your remarks and advice! Holidays are the toughest when even though you have worked to create healthy boundaries in your everyday life, they are tested to the max when you connect with those who have challenged your boundaries in the first place. We have a blended family and a number of family issues as a result. It was very difficult when I was blindsided by a member of my husband’s son’s family regarding a decision that I was asked to change regarding Christmas plans that had been made in the past. Thanks to your reminders in the past that told me to buy time before I reacted, as it triggered my feelings of not being respected for what I had asked for in the past. I had to work with my ego and buy time in order to 1) understand what the truth really was and 2) determine what I needed to do to feel I was respecting myself but not just taking an unreasonable stand just because I was not getting to be right. I wish I had had more than one day before being faced with the group, but I calmed myself, gathered all the background information and made a decision that I felt good about and related it to them. Thank you so much for all of your teachings, or I might have created a shitstorm that would go on for years. Much love and thanks,

    1. Hi Marilynn,
      Right on, mama!! That’s amazing work right there. You set boundaries for yourself, took a step back, and spoke with intention. Keep up the amazing work, and I will be cheering you on along the way ❤️

  2. p.s. Terry — the game changer was when you said that this WAS going to be uncomfortable: that completely dispelled the paralysis that was a result of believing that it was some character defect in me that i was having trouble / hugely uncomfortable with my feelings about the ongoing grabfest of my property. That was so freeing — the “yes — this isn’t going to be easy or fun, and actually it’s going to be difficult” (my words) was tremendously liberating. THANK YOU TERRY.

  3. What a gift. Thank you. In the midst of a literal boundary conflict ie ongoing encroachments onto my property. Lawyer involved. Excellent guidance about transference. ONLY when that became clear in the last two months did my reaction of fear and extreme grief make complete sense. Thank you so much for the guidance on both approaching the problem and then the very specific help about how best to walk through it. I SO appreciate these gifts from you.

    1. Hi Mimi,
      I’m so glad this resonated for you and you’re finding clarity amidst your personal conflict. I’m holding space for you with so much compassion, and cheering you on along the way ❤️

  4. Thank you Terri for addressing this. My partner learned to use silent treatment from his mother. I find it infuriating and have called him on it on several occaisions. I always point out the behavior and how damaging it is to our relationship. I also do energy medicine around it by getting in touch with why I am feeling upset and how I am going to change that negative emotion. Lara’s work has helped me address this. More importantly is making it clear to my partner that he can do better than what he is doing, feel into his heart and respond from a place of love rather than anger. It has turned things around without a fight nor resentment. I have found peace and centeredness over the upset that his behavior was creating. He has made an effort to stop the unwanted behavior. It isn’t easy, like you say but I’d rather work on things than feel resentful to the point of saying F it.

    1. Hi Yvonne,
      That’s wonderful progress! Lara’s energy work is truly life-changing and I’m so glad you’ve found so much use of it and out of this post. Thank you for sharing and for being here! ❤️

  5. Thank you – there is wisdom in your words. I truly appreciate the value of your advice now in hindsight when I look back at my life. I too wish I had known this 20 years ago going through very stressful situations which I could have resolved in a better way!

  6. Love this topic. One thing that makes negotiating super challenging for me is when there is very limited time and I have intense emotions. When time is of the essence and the emotions are high. How on earth to navigate this kind of thing? Maybe it’s just a matter of practice ~

    1. Hi Derek,
      Thank you for sharing and for your question! It’s not always the right time to begin that type of conversation, especially if emotions are high. Taking time to digest your feelings and ensure you’re speaking with intention can create the best outcomes. I hope this helps! ❤️

  7. Thank you, Terri!

    I am so grateful for each of your priceless articles. I wished I knew what you share here in my twenties. Every article is practical and clear in message. I read and reread to face challenges in my life head- on yet grounded. There are times my past trauma activates me and my fears become anger but I know now how to handle those emotions in a better way. Thanks to you for showing us the mirror and also suggesting the ways to get out of any uncomfortable situation.

    Wish you the very best for educating people around the world!

  8. I love your work. Been following from recommendation of a counselor.

    This is amazing as I deal with an adult daughter who is an alcoholic and I DO BELIEVE she has BROKEN MY HEART.

    1. Hi Donna,
      I’m so glad you’re here! I’m holding space for you with so much compassion as you navigate your relationship with your daughter and continue to set boundaries ❤️

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