By Sylvia Silk
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned over the years is to take care of fare exchange negotiations up front. At the very beginning of an enterprise that involves time, energy, skill or money, there needs to be clarity and agreement of who is contributing to what.
When was in my “living by fear” days, I would be afraid to speak up. If the other person didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything either. We would embark upon an exchange without full clarity of the terms or rules by which we were going to interact. Expectation was fuzzy or maybe not a match at all. There was so much excitement and good feelings to be doing something with someone new that nailing the particulars just didn’t seem important. My attitude was “to take care of it later”. Big Mistake!
Coming to an agreement up front establishes harmony and avoids embarrassment, resentment or bad feelings later on. When you are going to be involved in an exchange of time, energy, skill or money, there needs to be a fair exchange established up front. You must establish the value of each person’s contribution and verbally discuss how to be in fair exchange with one another. Take care of it up front!
If you just dive in without full clarity, it gets messy later on. One will either feel he is giving too much or not getting enough in the exchange. He will view it as an unfair exchange and, then, resentment will replace all the good feelings that you started out with.
I am reminded of the following story from my early years. I was just starting out on my own and needed a place to stay. An acquaintance of mine rented a two bedroom house for 6 months and asked me if I wanted to rent the second bedroom. She said that didn’t like the idea of living there alone and didn’t want to share the house with a stranger. She only asked for $100 a month, which fit my affordability at the time.
I never asked, “Any hidden strings attached?”. She never volunteered her hidden agenda for wanting someone there. The “sweet deal” turned sour when she kept asking me to take care of her dogs when would go out of town or come home late. Seems perfectly reasonable, so what’s wrong with that you ask?
Her unspoken reasoning: I’m offering you nominal rent so to make it a fair exchange, I want you to dog sit whenever I need you to.
My unspoken reasoning: “I’m not fond of your dogs and I do not want to be responsible for them. I did not agree to be the “dog sitter”. I thought we were in fair exchange with my being in the house to keep you company and my $100 a month”. By not getting clear hale the arrangement.
Often our fear renders us silent when we should be inquiring to get clarity up front. All parties involved need to voice what they each consider to be fair exchange for their time, energy, skills and money. When that is determined up front and agreed on, it avoids good feelings turning into disappointment, resentment and anger.
There is another aspect of fair exchange that involves the Bigger Picture. The Universe always sends me money for the time and energy I invest in my business. It just doesn’t always come directly from the same person I am spending time with. Often money comes days later from a stranger who found my name and needs my service. It is never a loss to spend time and energy on marketing strategies, because fair exchange means money comes to you from any direction, and it may come from a direction you never expected. Surprise!
Keep yourself in fair exchange with all your affairs of money!