by Dr. Kate Siner Francis

You want agreements that are as good for your clients as they are for you.  You want a mutual win situation.  However, a mutual win requires a basic level of respect. This means that what is true for you is just as important as what is true for the other person -- not more important.

Being able to use this concept requires a certain amount of emotional maturity.  You need to start by working with our own self-awareness, developing skills around how you connect with others, and then continually amplifying our connection by creating positive, inclusive decisions for those involved.

To create a mutual win, you need to know what is important to you as well as others. Otherwise, you are not able to meet your own needs, and other people are not able to meet their needs.

Creating this mutually beneficial option -- and the decisions you might need to make to bring it about -- are demonstrated by this simple scenario. For example, I might want to go out for Thai food. My friend might want to go out for American. What often happens in these types of situations is that people compromise, which either means one of us doesn't get our way or both of us do not get our way. Perhaps one person says they will go out for Thai food or they will go with a third option neither wants.

It is not that compromise is bad. It is just that there's more potential for a mutual win if we understand the reasons for our choices. Using the above example, maybe I just like the Thai restaurant's atmosphere. Maybe it is just closer to home, is less expensive, or I would like lighter food. Maybe my friend has similar reasons for his or her choice. Unless you look for those reasons, though, you aren't able to see what might meet both of your needs and make you both happy with the final decision. For example, what if my friend and I go somewhere close to where we are -- or somewhere that meets our needs -- to celebrate an event? We won't know that's an option unless we ask the right questions.

You can apply a similar process in many areas of your life. It takes a bit of sophistication, but it is very possible. One thing that helps is to ask, "If a solution worked for everyone, what would it look like?" The great part about this is you can ask this question at any level -- interpersonal, community, and spiritual.

Make an effort this week to find a solution that works for both or all people involved. It might take a bit longer, but see how you feel afterwards.