Negotiating life to make it more fulfilling and purposeful must be done in the most meaningful way possible. It should be a give-and-take process that does not trigger stress or negative emotions. Christine McKay chats with real estate mogul Chairidee Smith of Mommies Creating Economies about the art of negotiation. She explains how it must allow you to showcase your authentic self and lead to dialogue and positive change. She discusses the importance of implementing changes in increments to produce desirable results. Chairidee also talks about living your passion in this time of radical experimentation, when almost any idea can be materialized thanks to the ever-evolving virtual environment.
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Moms, Moguls, Diplomats, & One Powerhouse With Chairidee Smith
Negotiating Life And Living Your Passion
I’m so excited about my guest. Chairidee Smith is this dynamo woman. If you ever get a chance to meet her, you need to bask in the glory that is this woman. She is phenomenal. I met her at an event. We were part of the Platinum Speaker Camp with Bill Walsh, and we hit it off. We were talking before we started. I said, “I felt like I’ve known Chairidee my entire life.”
Everything I did in my life up to the moment she and I met was to prepare me for meeting Ms. Mogul, also what she goes by. Chairidee is a real estate mogul and she is passionate about helping women entrepreneurs level up, be successful, and become moguls of their own. She started this whole movement, Mommies Creating Economies. I love that. Chairidee, I am so glad to have you here. Welcome.
I’m sending you a hug all over again. It’s an honor. You’re right. There was a connection immediately. I don’t know if I called you soul sister first or you called me soul sister first, but there was this connection. I instantly saw you as a bright light in the room and wanted to get to know you more. I’m telling you it’s been a pleasure and a delight knowing you and having this relationship and sisterhood with you. You make my heart smile, so I’m glad to be with you.
Likewise. Thank you. How did you come to be where you are, what are you doing, and all that good stuff?
I’ve been in real estate way back. I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years. Creating economies is my mantra, but it’s been what I’ve always done. I’ve always been passionate about entrepreneurship believing that the “small business owner” is the engine, not only of the economy but of the community and the family because we’re in these nuclei relationships. For example, we find ourselves as a realtor and then became an investor, and then CEO. I was always in the family unit and helping to negotiate not the contract, but what were the desires of the home? What do the children need? What does the mom need? What does the husband need? What does this particular unit need in order to create a life here?
For me, it wasn’t just about buying the home. It was about creating an environment for the best in these people to happen. Most of the real estate professionals were not approaching each and every contract ordeal that way. That was my way because I lead from the heart. I found that there were more opportunities out there to now take this and expand it into economic development.
Causes are what I looked for. Because I was economic development-focused and people-focused, I found myself on many committees like city and national committees, helping mayors and legislators negotiate and find their way through all of the minutia and red tape of helping people. Sometimes they need to get to the point. I was always the person in the room that is like, “Get to the point.”
The point is to help people. I’m not interested in your bureaucracy. How do you get to and expect it? How do you get this mom to earn more so she can send her children to college, the child is not predisposed to crime, the baby can learn better, they have a college education, you’re not fighting at home about the money, kicking the dog, fighting the cat, and taking pills in the car? How do we get to that?
It was that voice in the room with bureaucrats and legislators that helped to formulate some positive legislative bills and actions that I’m proud to talk about. Thankfully, it’s gone literally around the world and led me to Ghana. I got back from that trip, and I want to share that quickly with you. I had the opportunity to go to Ghana and look at economic development now from a truly global perspective. I’ve been to Europe and some other places, but nothing prepared me for 1) The opportunities and 2) The absolute grit that this population of people had. The vast opportunities but then the chasm between opportunity and poverty or call it what it is. How do we now feel this?
As you know, regardless of whatever place you find yourself, women and children are predisposed to getting the end of that stick or the bottom of it if economic development is not at the core. I went there and had the chance to meet with literal kings, queen mothers, and ministers of government to now talk about how we build land, women, people, entrepreneurship, and families from a truly systematic perspective. How do we get all ships to rise so that we have a real impact, not this corruption we’ve seen and not the talking heads?Women and children are predisposed to getting the end or bottom of the stick if economic development is not at the core of the community. Click To Tweet
How do we move the needle for women, children, and economies locally, nationally, and globally? If we do it right, it has this ripple effect that hits the GDP eventually. You’ve got to start right here. I had the opportunity to work with businesses and ministers of government globally because that’s where my heart and my focus are now. I’m going into international markets in a different place. I did that at the beginning of my career, but now I am going more as an ambassador for women and talking about the concerns of women and children. It’s fulfilling, to say the least. That’s what I’ve been up to. What are you doing?
I sit on the board of directors of a nonprofit called She Is Hope LA. You know some of my story and certainly, people who are reading, many of you have heard my homeless-to-welfare for almost a decade, and then a Harvard MBA. I’m passionate about working with organizations that help women. In She Is Hope LA, we’re trying to figure out how to circumvent the welfare system in the United States. Part of how we do that is through education and housing. I want to introduce you to Tisha, our executive director because you guys have some commonalities. She could learn a lot from what you’re doing in all of that.
That is important. Earlier on the program, a number of episodes ago, I interviewed a woman named Hannah Zapletal. Hannah owns a small horse farm outside of Atlanta. She teaches little kids, works with disabled veterans and people with developmental disorders, and helps them learn how to ride. It’s also a working farm. When she was a little girl, her parents were missionaries in Haiti. She told this story about how she remembered some well-meaning person or organization and decided that they wanted to revolutionize the farming industry in Haiti. At the time when she was living there, people were using hoes, scythes, and all that.
This well-meaning organization brought a tractor and they’re like, “What do I do with this? What do I do with a tractor?” One of the things I loved about that conversation with Hannah is we talked about how important it is to be incremental. It may take you only three seconds to get there if you’re in the right car, but still, you go one nanosecond at a time. There’s still a series of steps that takes to get you there. Imagine the work that you’re doing in Ghana. That’s something that you’re seeing in spades. You have such incredible poverty. I have this affinity for Ghana.
Personally, it’s one of my favorites. It’s one of the top countries on my list to visit because I have a personal connection with somebody from Ghana from many years ago. I’ve worked with ministers of government as well in my career. How did you find that conversation? There are a lot of increments to get from where people are at now, especially women and children in poverty to where you’re trying to get them.
For me, it was all mindset. Here’s why we do it incrementally. Their mind, their thinking, and their paradigms have to adjust with every step forward or with every detour that they take. There’s a mindset and thinking that has to accompany that. You cannot take the old Ford car, the Model T, mentality into what we saw with Bezos. You have to adjust. There are many steps that happened in transportation, technology, and how we think about travel before that happened. Whether it’s in Ghana or here in the US, there is this period of time where we have to get unstuck, rethink, and resee what we have. It’s not always on the ministers and government. Many times, it starts with the people that I’m here trying to help and represent.
They have to see their environment differently because how you see your environment then has a direct impact on how you articulate your needs and desires. What are your deal breakers? All of that has to do with how you see your environment. If we’re constantly looking at this environment as broken and if you’re constantly looking at the government as you’re fixed, then you’re going to perpetuate the status quo. We get nowhere. It’s not until this person or this family is empowered to see things differently that they can now articulate a partnership, not a dependent on the government or people in power.
We have a true collaboration of change and not someone meeting your needs. There isn’t this dependency. In large part, that’s what I had to deal with in Ghana. Helping the women see themselves differently and articulating that difference now to investors, business planners, and mentors. If you’re not coming, I’m not coming here for you to be a mini-me. That was my message to them. I’m not here for you to leach on to me as if I’m your savior. I’m one woman with a vision and a plan. I’m here to empower you to see what you have and how you can now be empowered in your environment to have an impact where you are.
What is your voice now in your economics and politics? Now I can train you. I can certainly position you and posture you, but I cannot give you that narrative. That’s work you have to do for yourself. It’s even talking to the ministers in the government. Many government officials are still working with a colonial mindset where there is still a broken paradigm. You can read everything into colonial. I don’t mind if you send me your nasty text messages. That’s fine. There is a broken mentality there where you’re constantly looking outside for your next big idea, economic power, and political power. What about looking within and seeing what you can solve and build from within? Where is the talent from within? This is the message I have with kings.
This is the conversation I have with queen mothers and women in entrepreneurship in Ghana and other places in the world that I’ve been blessed to travel. The message is the same right here in the US. What can you do? My job is to help you see what’s in your hands. I’m a woman of faith so I always go to Scripture. God asks Moses, “Before you leave the children of Israel out, what’s in your hand?” My point with that is he challenged Moses. He asked him, “Before you asked me to help you, what do you have?” Have you had the opportunity to see what talent, gifting, resource, genius, plan, and thought are? Whatever you have, somewhere in there is your solution. I’m here to help you discover it.
On another episode of the show, I interviewed a woman named Meghan Gardner, and she has an interesting career working in bookends. She does a lot of work with children and she’s created this huge program called Guard Up Guardian Adventures. They do live-action roleplaying for kids. Kids dress up. They run fares, create their own stories and act out. She’s good at it. She teaches at Harvard and a bunch of other things. She’s also a hospice care volunteer. One of the things that we talked about in that episode was the notion of giving and receiving. Children are net receivers. For most people at their end of life, they are net givers.
I love what you’re talking about because I talk a lot about its importance. As matter of fact, my first book, Why Not Ask? A Conversation About Getting More, comes out. It was my bestseller day on August 29th, 2021. I often say, “Why not ask? You don’t get anything if you don’t ask for it.” My logo is that three-circle Venn diagram, and I break it down into why don’t you ask yourself first? You can ask somebody else then you got to ask about the situation. My mentor, Blair Dunkley, calls it “self, other, and situation.” The first step is to get clear on you and what you have, what you need, what you want, what your priorities are, and all those things. That’s what you’re talking about right now.
Much of this could be resolved. When I say this, what we call chaos, turmoil, or whatever it is, is people getting clear about who they are, what they want, what they can contribute, and where the deal breakers are. We’d have far fewer therapists if we could get clear. God bless the therapist. In many cases, I think we, who are in mentoring, are in a therapeutic relationship with those we mentor and with businesses that contract with us because we help them to see what the big picture is. We also help them negotiate through all of the downfalls and we walk them through so many aspects of the business.
This is what I’m finding out. Business is a lot more psychological and emotional than we’ve thought initially. Success is depending upon how clear we are, how authentically we present ourselves, and what we’re able to contribute. Being authentic in that. Many of us have bought into models, particularly women that did not fit our emotional IQ. Our emotional genius did not have a place in that environment. It seems until most recently.Success depends on how clear you are, how authentically you present yourself, and what you can contribute. Click To Tweet
Those were some very hard-fought battles to get all of us to the table, not the pinch. You heard me talk about this. Not just the pinch striped suit and looking very robotic and all of this stuff, but all of me, my genius, intuition, spirit, mind, ability to see into places and problem solve in ways that may not be conventional, but may absolutely be what this situation calls on it.
For me, it’s about helping people, whether you are a king or a pauper, whether you’re a queen mother or a single mother. You have to be authentic. You have to know where your superpower is and what you can contribute. You have to be clear in articulating your strength, power, and needs. You have to be clear about all of that. Now, we’re in a space where people are soul-searching about what we want in business. What do we want this organization to be? What’s the real impact? Profitability is up there with the air. You got to have it.
There is this other component that I see developing where people want to be whole in every space. Breaking down the walls with COVID and allowing us to be at home now in our spaces, but then having to be in the world. In our space, we’re creating this new reality where people can see us through a different lens and we can now bring this genius to the table, maybe where the office environment would not permit it. I’m in my office now, so I get a chance to create that and bring you in. Now you get to experience it.
My husband pointed out an article about a company called Cloudflare. Cloudflare does a lot. They host DNS, web URLs, and a whole bunch of other stuff. They issued a report that talks about Zoom and what has happened during the pandemic. They surveyed all of their employees and what people found, and they were shocked to find the thing that they got. The comment was that it was an equalizer. I have ambush stories where I’ve walked into the room as the only woman with a bunch of guys. They’ve ambushed me, called me every name in the book, thrown things at me, and all that crap.
Using one of Blair Dunkley’s mind models. He talks about safety versus comfort. When we’re in physical space with each other, sometimes we get triggered by certain comments, sayings, phrases, or a tone. Who knows what could trigger somebody? We immediately go, “I’m not safe,” where you actually are. You’re physically not. Nobody is going to kill you in that setting. It’s highly unlikely. Physically, you are safe. You’re just super uncomfortable at the moment.
When we’re working in our own homes, for the most part, there are cases where you have horribly abusive situations where safety is always an issue. For most people who don’t live in that experience, we know we’re safe at home so we are not afraid to speak up, say things, or offer our ideas. We’re not afraid because, “I’m in the safety of my house, you can’t come and get me and I can shut you off. I can hit my little thing. I can see you, but I don’t have to hear you.”
When you’re done and I see your mouth stop moving, you can turn your back on again. That’s one of the interesting things about this time. I hear people talk about this. I don’t mean to bring up politics, but I had somebody who’s like, “Unemployment thing. People are not working.” Think Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi for people not going back to work.
The knowledge industry has taken over. They have told every single person on the face of the planet, “No matter how old you are, you can take what your experience is now. You can bottle it up and you can sell it.” They are showing you how to do it and people can make far more money doing that than driving Uber, working at your restaurant, or whatever. Employers have got to level up. If you’re hiring people, you got to figure out how to level up.
It’s being the space of the equalizer. I like that approach because we have that thinking heads now who are saying, “Perhaps this is the opportunity for you to take your genius and put it in the market.” At this point, everybody is looking for answers. We have not negotiated this landscape before, so we don’t necessarily have a pattern. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong. It’s you. What’s working for you? If you’re ever going to experiment with success and what that looks like with you, now is the time to do that. Radical experimentation is happening in business now with brands, messaging, and marketing.
People are looking for creative answers. Real authentic people say, “I may not know everything in the world, but I have this piece of your puzzle and I know it well.” They’re offering it now. One of the things that I’ve championed for many years is the closing of the economic gap for people of color and for women, the achievement gap. You’ll hear me talk many times about how women have only earned up to $0.80 to $0.90 on the dollar. That’s post-women’s movement and the post-civil rights movement. That’s post some of the other movements we’ve had, and we still have not earned 100% of that dollar if we look at the stats surrounding Corporate America.
It’s even lower when you look at some of the other places like STEM and some other areas where women in the 21st century still trying to climb the corporate ladder. 2%, 3%, to 4% max of STEM execs are women. When you break that down with demographics of color, it becomes more and more scarce. Here’s the point I’m making. If ever you are going to empower yourself to make your full dollar, this may be the time to do that because what we see is now the environment to own what’s happening to you because so many of the parameters and the barriers have been broken down. A lot of the comfort of excuse is removed because everybody now is searching and experimenting.
If you were ever going to own your voice, marketing, genius, and skill, now would be the time to do that. To your point, Zoom and some of the other formats have become the norm. You can’t say, “I don’t have the budget for a studio, hair and makeup, or this, that, and the other.” Everybody now is doing it differently. We now have this opportunity that if we, as women, as Americans, and as people would take advantage of this moment, we could push the economic achievement gap forward and we could finally close it and not have this discussion anymore. I’m tired of marches for stuff and we don’t ever get it done. That’s a whole another show.
Your point is very valid because what it comes down to is that, and people have heard me say this before, “The hardest part of any negotiation is a negotiation we have between our ears. The stories we tell ourselves, what’s possible, and what’s not possible. It’s all of that.” Right now, we have this opportunity to experiment and try new things at a relatively low risk. You don’t need a booth like my husband made me. You need a computer with a camera, you hit blur on Zoom, get a good mic, and there you go. You’re good. You don’t need that much to break into this new industry to try new things, experiment, and see what lands and seas don’t.
I’m a burning man person, so I’m all about being radical and all sorts of things. I like the notion of radical experimentation. When we were in Houston, I was getting ready to go up and do my presentation. I’m walking to the stage and I said, “I’m going to change this up. I’m going to do something different.” I changed my whole presentation as I walked from my seat to the stage, and it worked great. I’m like, “That’s what I need to do. I need to do more of that to test and see how things play out.” It is so easy for us to work hard to do something and we see a little progress then we keep doing that same thing versus radically experimenting at times. Now is the time to radically experiment.
You brought up something that I love and I’m sure you’re aware of it. As you’re walking to the stage and you decide to change your presentation en route, there was a trust that you had in you to even do that. This is what I’m talking about. You’re filming it up so you trust your acumen and your ability to communicate. You trust that you were the master of your content. You trust your experiences. You trusted your intuition. You trust your preparation, and your ability to connect with your end user and your audience. You trust that you could formulate the thoughts on the fly that would be what the audience needed at that moment. There was a radical sense of trust in yourself. In order to do that, go back now to why we even started this conversation.
That’s at the core of where I see businesses and leaders, particularly leaders going now who are going to lead radically successful organizations. It’s those leaders like us who can think and see an opportunity at the moment. This is what I love. Carpe diem, seize the moment. It’s here. It’s not about looking for the moment. It’s about being aware of it when it happens and being so full of trust, acumen, experience, and preparation that when you see it, it’s there. You instantly connect with it and you recreate something instantaneously. That’s where we’re going now.
That’s the Jeff Bezos paradigm that I was alluding to. It’s the ability to fully trust your preparation for the genius that you say you are, or for the opportunity that you say you are wanting. Fully trusting in that. I find too that women are now coming to grips with that. Again, a lot of that is mind, body, and spirit alignment where we’re now giving ourselves not just the permission, but the mandate to be a whole being in the boardroom, on Zoom, in the negotiation, or in legislation when you’re lobbying what a whole human being.
Everything is there. You can tell that tips something with me. When we do that, we get these opportunities to see genius at work. That’s what this environment is needing. We don’t need the status quo anymore. It doesn’t work. Where are the thinkers? Where are the creators? Where are the people who are instinctively and innately in tune with their spirit and intervention divine knowledge? I don’t know if you’ve had this experience. I’ve been on stages before where I could literally feel, and I may have said it in the presentation that you were in. I need you all to pull on me. I feel somebody pulling on me for an answer. What I usually mean by that is people are not hungry for prepared notes that don’t meet expected ends.
I’m going to say that again. People don’t care about your talking points if it does not meet them where they are, move their needle forward and answer a prevailing question they have. You have to be a student of people’s needs, not necessarily what you think. What do people need? When we’re in the room as speakers, mentors, or business leaders, we’re there to meet a need. People expect to excavate and answer. That means there are hours, days, and sometimes years of preparation that we put in because we’re leaders waiting for these a-ha moments to happen. When they happen and when we are fully aware, engaged, and prepared, genius happens.People don’t care about your talking points if it does not meet them where they are, move their needle forward, or answer a prevailing question they have. You have to be a student of people’s needs. Click To Tweet
We don’t see that often, but I believe we’re moving now because leaders are becoming more and more fearless and less and less concerned about all of the other stuff that used to guide our narratives. It’s moving away because people are pulling you for an answer. I wanted to share that because I believe that’s where we’re going now. It’s the space and the frontier of authentic leadership.
That comes with authentic humanity or authentic genius. Not this stuff where you’ve read all the books and you regurgitate and recapitulate everything you’ve heard. What’s yours? It goes back to trust here. I trust this face, brain, spirit, and my preparation so that when I have these encounters with other geniuses, I don’t become a wallflower. I contribute. That’s the landscape. That’s the new frontier that we’re looking at now with leadership.
It’s exciting. If we’re ready and prepared, and I know we are, this is the time where we’re about to see some real genius at work. The word genius is the only one that encapsulates it. Not somebody else’s words, but new narratives, fresh ideas, and fresh perspectives that do move humanity forward. Business is all about creating the economic opportunity to create the lifestyle or the ecosystem for humanity to move forward. It’s about to be big.
When I talk about negotiation, I talk about no matter who you’re negotiating, there are two things that you have in common. You both have your humanity and your life experiences but life experiences are very different. It’s all a matter of perspective. I love that you talk about the humanity aspect of it. I’ve said for years that one of the things I love about business is that it creates the economic engine that allows people to find what they love to do, flourish, and be givers to others to help them do the same thing. That’s what always loved about business. Some people are like, “Company exists for its shareholders.”
I’m like, “That’s true but it also exists to help create the community, influence the community to give people the ability economically to exist and thrive in their communities. All of that improves everything.” It goes back to what you were saying early on that small business is not just the engine. It is the fabric of the community. We can look back in history and we can see cities. It’s in Arkansas and it’s driving me crazy because I can’t remember the name of it. They produced pickles. They came in and Walmart came in and offered them to buy a gallon.
They have them produce a gallon of pickles for $0.29, some ludicrous number. The entire business went out of business. It was the largest employer in the town. The whole town was built around this one small business that ultimately went under. A small business is that fabric. We have to recognize that the humanity that we bring as small business owners is what helps our communities improve. I love that. That’s an amazing message.
To expand that conversation, I would implore larger businesses and corporations to ask the surrounding communities, “What should be our core value?” It’s because the people from that environment will now come in to work in these businesses. Here is my point. A huge employer like Walmart creates lots of opportunities.
My hope is that they ask the people who are there, “What’s your core value? What should we stand for because we are your neighbors, principals, school teachers, police department, fire department, water, and municipal employees?” All of that surrounds what’s happening here. Perhaps small businesses should be the catalyst to that and intentionally tie the community in. We stand for vision, authenticity, and leadership but ask them, “What does that mean to you as a member of the community I serve?” That changes the conversation.
That’s interesting because going back to this whole Zoom conversation, our community is not the community in which we live for many of us anymore. It’s a global community. That can be daunting for people. When you think of, “How do I do that on a global scale?” you can still start in the community that you live in. You started in the community you live in, I started in the community I live in, and then how do you expand it? How do you start building beyond that and that single geography?
It goes back to a word that you brought up earlier in the conversation, which is incrementally. Going back to a point I made about the word. The mindset now has to accompany every benchmark. There’s an African proverb that says, “You don’t eat the elephant whole. You eat the elephant one bite at a time.” We have to have the courage to start. That’s the thing. It’s not the biting or the process because as we’re going, we can change. We become more flexible. We adjust. Make adjustments as we go. We find so many people lack the courage to initiate the conversation because we’re afraid of the answers we’ll receive. It goes back to again trust.
As leaders, we start to have this conversation and sometimes it will open up Pandora’s box. We need parameters around the conversation, especially when it comes to corporate culture, but opening up the conversation to the point of, “Even if a leader may feel attacked or triggered, my heart isn’t there.” I know that’s not my heart and not my intention.
Once I give this person the opportunity to speak their perspective, I trust where I’m coming from is an authentic and genuine place. I can articulate the rebuttal to that and hopefully get them to see and understand where we’re going and what this means for them. Again, it has to have trust here that I can hear the criticism, the trigger, the attack, and not be moved by it because I so trust my intentions, my heart, and my preparation.
I’m finding out a lot of leaders have not done that work. This environment is going to take a different acumen. It’s not going to be headspace. It’s going to be hard space and being able to discern what’s a trigger, an attack, and an authentic opposition request or rebuttal. Is this an authentic or a real concern, or is this a trigger because I have not done my personal work?
One of the things that I love to talk about is exactly that. I’ve been going through this whole thing around and part of why I changed my talk in Houston is that I have this quiz on my website to learn your default negotiation style. What’s fascinating to me is that the data is not coming out the way that it’s supposed to. There’s a certain percentage of negotiators that fall into each of the camps. The style that has the fewest or the smallest percentage of negotiators is benefactors. It’s less than 10% of negotiators. What benefactor means is that you sacrifice your own self-interest for the betterment of the person you’re negotiating with and exclusively for the benefit of the other party.
That is very rare because most of us have a need to serve ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that. In my quiz, almost 80% of people say that they come out as their benefactor. My initial reaction was, “The quiz is broken. I got to fix the quiz,” and then I started having a bunch of conversations with people. I talked to the woman who runs the company that manages all the platforms that run DiSC.
I’ve talked to other people who do assessments and all that stuff. What we came up with was negotiation is a trigger word, and triggered is a different thing than stress. It’s a different thing. People want to think that they are the ultimate benefactor and they will sacrifice their self-interest for the betterment of others.
That is not how we behave in a real negotiation. I always say that I love being a lifetime student of Christine McKay. The benefit of different negotiation styles is actually you want to learn how to use all of them at all of them but at different times but we have to know ourselves. I did this on my book cover. The book cover designer sent me the first draft that she did and I had a visceral negative reaction. She had taken the art from my show and used it as the basis of the book.
The artist who does the show did the show art I still work with. I live in Hollywood. I have a daughter who’s an artist. My husband works in an animation studio so I’m sensitive to artists getting credit for their work. When I first saw it, I texted my editor. She was like, “I love the cover.” I was like, “I’m having a strong negative reaction to the cover and I don’t know why. I’m going to go away and think about this. I’m going to sleep on it and come back to you with some feedback because something is not feeling right.”
What I realized is that I was feeling very protective for some reason of the original artist’s work. I wanted to make sure that the original artist got credit for his work that the new one was used to build off of. I called the person that he works for and I said, “I need to know if Lorenzo is okay with our using the art.” She’s like, “You own the art.” I said, “That’s not what I’m asking.” For me, it’s an ethical thing. If you don’t stop, you don’t sit, and you’re not aware enough to sit and say, “I’m having a reaction. I’m not liking this. It’s not feeling good. What’s causing it?”
You’re not aware enough 1) To recognize it, 2) To acknowledge it to be transparent and authentic enough to acknowledge that emotion and 3) To love yourself enough to say, “I need to spend some time and sit with this to understand it for myself so that then I can come back and again, transparently communicate what the issue is.” That is so important in any negotiated relationship or any relationship at all.
I agree. I’m going to take this to women because that’s primarily my audience. Not to negate the men who may be listening, but so many women excuse that initial reaction and go right over it because they’re told, “You’re too sensitive, emotional, soft, hormonal, this, that, or the other.” We discount that part of ourselves because of negative narratives. I will not tell you who this person is, but I’ll give you an illustration of how far this goes. There’s a person that I know and love dearly who on her honeymoon night, while most brides would be happy, rejoicing, and ready to do all that the honeymoon has in store, went in the bathroom, bawled, and cried her eyes out. She didn’t know why.Women discount themselves because of so many negative narratives. They are often labeled as too sensitive, emotional, soft, or hormonal. Click To Tweet
Her spirit and emotions knew something that she would not allow her conscious mind to be aware of it and address it and say, “This may be the worst mistake of my life. Get out.” She had been in an environment where her voice is like, “You’re too strong, forceful, emotional, and opinionated. Be quiet.” Now when it’s time to benefit from that strength, it has been so diminished and dismissed. She now makes a lifetime decision that led her down a road that she is regretting to this day because of the psychological, emotional, financial, and social damage that happened in one relationship that she knew.
Here is the point I’m making. We have to be, going back to what you said, aware and brave enough to acknowledge these triggers when they happen. There is a part of us, and it’s a part of my presentation in MOGUL. The M is for Mindset, O is for Optimization, and G is for that God part of us that is aware of so much out there that our conscious mind is not. That’s a part of who MOGUL is. Bringing, again, all of you the ability to bring in the divine. I call him God, but to be aware and to wait. I can’t put my hand on it, but I give myself permission to go discover and spend time with this.
I’m not so needy for this opportunity that I will rush past this and ignore all the red flags. Let me stop and investigate. We don’t give ourselves permission to investigate. Peel back the layers. “I’m afraid that if I ask the questions, I’ll lose the contract, partnership, and opportunity. This will never happen again.” You don’t trust you, then. I’m preaching to the choir.
If that is your response, I’m going to challenge you now to change your response and go spend some time with you so that you trust you in every situation. You are the only ally you have in the room until those relationships are built and you can discern the goodwill. Honestly, it’s not a win-win scenario, but is there genuine goodwill here until you discover that you are the only ally in the room you have outside of who I call on the divine?
When you walk into these environments, it’s just you. You’ve got to trust you at that moment. If you shut you down, your voice, your intuition, your discernment, or the part of you that hears past the words, you may be embarking upon 1) A lifetime of hurt or 2) A good decision that you did not wait for the great or the best decision to happen. Sometimes we settle for good when great is around the corner. Now that’s a whole another message.
We settle for good because we don’t trust great in us. If anybody is writing down notes, take that down. You’ve got to trust that great is what you deserve, not from a sense of entitlement. Again, narcissism is not what I’m saying. If I’m giving the best, I’m open and I have the capacity to receive the best. Why is it that we exchange the best of us for the good in someone else? Why is it we’re okay with giving the best of ourselves and receiving only good?
What’s interesting about that, and this goes back to what we were talking about earlier, is negotiation is giving and receiving. One of my very dear friends, Annika Sandberg, a Swedish now moved back to Europe. I was going through some tough stuff in late 2018 and 2019. I didn’t reach out to her to ask for help. She was angry at me. We’d met up for drinks and she was walking with me home essentially. She said, “Christine, you give so much to me. You give to me all the time. How does that make you feel?” I said, “It feels good to give to you.” She said, “Who are you to rob me of the opportunity to do the same?”
When we’re in negotiation, to your point about being true to who we are, knowing who we are, and understanding what we want out of life. When you have that clarity on what it is, then saying no is the greatest gift that you can give to somebody because you’re not wasting their most valuable resource, which is their time. That’s your most valuable resource too. It’s like, “You’re amazing. What you’re doing is great, but it’s not a fit for me.” That no-thing is an okay thing, but we’ve got to be clear. We also have to give. We want to give so much, but we don’t give ourselves permission to receive. We judge ourselves for receiving.
I write about this in my book, “I’ll never forget this day. I remember the weather, what I was wearing, and everything.” My first husband did not believe that women should work. He was an aggressive man but he couldn’t support us. We were buying our groceries at the local food bank. We were boiling water on the stove to give our kids baths. I would go through garbage cans in order to find soda cans to be able to trade them in and put gas in my car. It was a crappy situation. I will never forget. This couple showed up at our door unannounced with bags of groceries.
There’s only one other time I remember being that angry. I was so angry because it felt like it was thrown in my face that I couldn’t support my own family. In my head, it is going, “You should be grateful.” I’m like, “To hell with grateful. I’m angry, furious, humiliated, and ashamed.” I’m all these things. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about negotiation around giving and receiving is that, for me, I think of people who never had to receive anything. Now that’s a very tiny percentage of people who’ve never had to receive something from somebody else. Until you know and you sit with the feeling of what it is to receive, you cannot be an effective giver or leader.
You have to know how to receive and be open to that. In negotiation, one of the things that drives me crazy about so many people, so much of the conversation around negotiation isn’t focused on the concept of transparency and trust. If I am authentic and real with you and I’m saying, “This doesn’t feel right. I got to go figure out why this doesn’t feel right.” If somebody does that to me in a negotiation, you get lots of points for that.
I’m like, “You sit with that as long as you need to sit with it. Come back to me when you’re ready. Communicate it to me.” I’ve given you space because I’ve been able to receive your emotion. I’ve given you space. My gift to you is to give you space to sit with it, explore it, and figure it out. Your gift to me is to share it. Amazing negotiations happen when that dialogue takes place. It’s in business, too, people. It’s not just in your personal relationships because business is relationships.
Trust is at the basis of all of that. What I thought about when you were talking about you give them the space and the time and you’ve received their emotion. You also get the opportunity to be empowered in that and not feel like you’re losing something. Think about how that gets your stock value to go up, “I’m not moving out of desperation and fear.” It reaffirms the security and trust that you have in yourself. I have these conversations with myself, “That move you made, that’s why I trust you.” I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the self-talk I choose to have with myself now. I can wait on something that looks like the best opportunity with somebody else, we will be trumping at the pit to have it.
There’s something in me that says, “Wait and pause.” I sit in that and then I see their expression like, “You don’t know this is the best opportunity of a lifetime for you.” I get to sit in my power and say, “Only I decide that. You don’t decide that.” That’s the negotiations. That’s a power move. When you can sit there and say, “I’ll decide that.” It’s like, who blinks first? I’m constantly listening to not what’s being said, but what’s not being said and how am I intuitively viscerally or innately responding? Is it visceral? Is it innate? What’s happening because I’m in tune with my spirit? The power move is the ability to sit in that space and reaffirm your trust in you. Reaffirm why you trust your own decision-making.
You talk about people calling you names in the boardroom. I’ve had some situations. Nobody ever called me out of my name and live to tell about it. Let’s tell that. It’s been the microaggressions. The microaggressions are against my boundaries or against that power. Even when people would bump up against it, it still stands. I still said, “Wait.” It’s that silence then that gives them the opportunity to feel whatever they’re going to feel. For me, it’s my time to reaffirm my power and my voice. If I can walk away from what seems to be the best option for somebody else but it does not feel right to me, I have opened myself up for the great because that was good.
I’m open to the great. If it does not meet me here, I trust God so much. I trust me and my preparation so much that I have the capacity to wait. Again, it’s trust. Many times, we move out of fear because we don’t trust ourselves. You would think this doesn’t have a place in business, especially in real estate because it’s a male-dominated industry.
Let’s be more specific. The papaws run that industry. It’s a whole generation of Baby Boomers so there’s a different paradigm that comes along with that. When you get into land investing, the demographic changes again. Having that power regardless of the environment to trust yourself and be in those environments and say, “What’s the best move yes for this?” It’s because I do believe in win-wins. I do believe that everybody should take something from the table, be okay, and be pleased with that.
If it ever gets into a tug-of-war with negotiations where it’s no longer a win-win scenario, we’re going to have to declare a winner or a loser here. Maybe not a loser, but a winner and a mega winner then I go to that space and sometimes silence. You talk about negotiations. Silence is a tool that so many of us don’t use regularly enough. My mother and my grandmother used to tell me all the time, “People don’t know what you’re thinking until you say it.”
I said this comment to my husband. I’m like, “I know my husband better than anyone other than my husband knows himself.” I don’t what he’s thinking. We only know what we are thinking. We can only assume what others are thinking until they tell us.
Sometimes, silence is golden and finding your place and your power. Again, it goes back to who blinks first. I found this in negotiations because I’m primarily talking to men when it comes to the contract. Women make the decisions about the aesthetic. I don’t know why we switch gears sometimes when it comes time for the conversation about money, then the voices in the room change. We have to address that. It’s another conversation. It’s about being in tune with your power and your power source and knowing that it’s infinite. Because another big personality comes into the room, it does not suck the air out of the room for me.
It’s like, “Big personality, and then what?” Going back to trust because sometimes we talk too fast. We say stuff so we give away our power plays and our position and then from there on, you’re a puppet on a string. It’s no longer co-equals coming to the table or that win-win scenario left the room because you showed your hand. You talk too much. That’s what I talk to women about. Sometimes, it’s not about what you say. It’s about what you don’t say.
There’s this guy I’m trying to get on my show named Jason Campbell. He’s a musician and he does meditative music. We’re going to do an episode on listening and using music as a tool to help people understand listening more effectively. I saw him speak. He’s amazing. It was the most powerful demonstration of listening and the importance of it that I’ve ever sat in. Listening is you have to know what you want to ask for but then you have to give.
I often say that when I’m at the negotiation table, I am the least important person there. People are like, “What do you mean, Christine? You got to get what you want.” I’m like, “I know what I want. I know what I need.” I’ve done all that homework. I’ve done all that research, but I only have a hypothesis about what my counterpart needs or wants. I need to ask effective questions to be able to let my counterpart explain to me or tell me what and show me what it is that they want. At the negotiation table, I am not the most important person at the table.
That’s powerful. You talk about trusting yourself in the narrative. I was thinking about something when you were talking about listening, and I don’t know how close we are on time. We can talk for three hours. You let me know. I was thinking about the importance of listening and going beyond the surface of what people are saying, looking at body language, and then being aware of what or how their words are impacting you. I have a dear friend who I had the opportunity to get to know better during a recent trip, and I’ve noticed that when she talks, she tends to talk over other people while they’re talking. She tends to already assume that she knows what you’re going to ask or say before you do and cut you off before you can say it.
I was thinking, “I do care about this person. What is this?” I went into prayer meditation about her and how to approach it. What came to me was another conversation that she and I had, which is rejection and wanting to prove that she’s not just enough but more than enough in every situation. Before she can even get to the table and hear what you have to say, she’s already coming in like this and you feel this invasion of your personal space when you’re with her because she’s assuming that she knows what you’re going to say. She knows it all. She tries to dominate and control the narrative and the environment without hearing because she’s insecure about what she needs and who she is.
Her value system is, “Let me prove my value by overworking, overtalking, and living in camp too much.” Again, that goes into negotiation as well. Think about the person who’s aware of that, can pick up on that, and how that now manipulates the environment and the negotiation. She doesn’t even know she can be manipulated. She’s talking so much. That’s a telltale sign of discomfort and insecurity, and you’re blinking first. That’s another thing I want particularly women to be aware of. There is power in silence. Sometimes being quiet in a room and becoming comfortable and aware of the thoughts that go through your mind when you’re quiet.
The same thing happens in a boardroom. If you’re getting those negative narratives sitting quietly with yourself, “Why in the world am I here? This is such a waste of time,” it’s your inner critic. You’ve got to be able to turn that stuff off because intuitive and smart people can pick up on that and manipulate the situation. Listening is such a key component in not just negotiations, but navigating life. People tell you what they think sometimes by not speaking at all. That’s my feeling. You hit something with that listening. We need to become better, more skilled, and refined with that. You’re onto something with that, but okay.Listening is a key component not just in negotiations but in navigating life. Sometimes, people tell you what they think by not speaking at all. Click To Tweet
That’s why I want to get Jason on the show because it’s something that we talk about. There’s been so much conversation about the importance of listening, but in my experience, not very many people have come up with a way of helping people understand it. Think about it in a different way. Jason does that so I’m super excited about having him on the show. This is going to be one of my longer episodes. I love you. It’s such an amazing opportunity to get to chat with you. How can people find you?
All over social media, Chairidee Smith. In LinkedIn, Chairidee “Ms. Mogul®” Smith. You’ll see me there in a bright yellow dress looking a beam of sunshine. I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also go YouCanCreateYourOwnEconomy.com. That is a hub that I’m going towards now that started with an event and now it’s moved into the Mogul Method, which is a training that we’re talking about. You can go there.
If you’re interested in real estate and want to have those conversations still about real estate and development and want to learn how to do real estate investing, you can go to MommiesCreatingEconomies.com. There are downloads there for folks who want to do some study-at-home stuff or if you need some one-on-one mentoring. That’s my bread and butter. I still love the dirty business of real estate negotiations. That’s where you can find me.
Chairidee, thank you so much for being here with me. I always enjoy our conversations. You energize me and I love that. To everyone who has tuned in, thank you so much again for spending your valuable time with us. We appreciate you. We love that you are tuning in every week and I can’t wait to bring you another amazing guest. I have a big surprise coming for my 50th episode. I can’t wait to disclose what that is.
I’ve got my book coming out, I would love for you to buy my book. Why not ask for a conversation about getting more when you sign up? We’ll send you some more information about that. In the meantime, happy negotiation and negotiating, everybody. Remember, negotiation is a conversation about a relationship, and you cannot win a relationship, but you can get more value out of it. We’ll see you next time. Thanks, everyone.
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