Finding a Win-Win Situation in life isn’t as hard as you might think. Take for example, my desire to see the opera for my birthday. Opera tickets are VERY expensive. But, I found a free screening of the opera, Carmen, at the beach in Santa Monica. I took my low lawn chair and made an evening out of it. I saved enough money to get a beautiful hotel room by the beach AND see a world class opera. Check it out…
I knew I’d be tired of driving, as I tend to go to bed and get up pretty early. So at 9 pm, I packed up my gear and headed to my hotel on the beach. I was in bed by 9:30. Not too shabby for a little school teacher from the country –
So, let’s recap:
- I wanted to go to the opera and see a world class show. Check.
- I wanted to not spend too much money. Check
- I wanted to not drive too much in one day. Check.
- I wanted to make it a big night and celebrate my birthday in style. Check
- I wanted to get enough sleep so I could be ready for my birthday lunch with Grandma.
This is what you call a Win-Win situation. You figure out several things you want and then “keep workin’ it” until you get yourself a situation that works in most every way. This could have been a $500 night. Instead I spent about $200.
Teachers also use Win-Win situations to work with some of their most difficult students. The trick is to figure out two things: what the student wants most AND what the teacher wants most. Really, it isn’t all that difficult to figure out. Kids want various things. Some kids want attention, some kids are afraid of failing, while still others just want to feel like THEY are in control. The teachers…well, they want the kids to learn. So the teacher changes what they are doing depending on what the child wants/needs.
Here’s an example of Win-Win Discipline: Let’s say a a kid (or adult) wants to feel like they are in control. So, the teacher might respond by “having a discussion with the control seeker and reassuring them that they are – in fact – on the same side. This teacher might also side step the power play a student tries to gain control in a situation. The child might say, ‘You’re NOT the boss of me!” Then the teacher might assert “You’re right! You are the boss of you.” This allows the control seeking child to gain a sense of personal power while deescalating the situation for the other students.”
Here’s another example: This child is avoiding failure. “Appreciating this student goes a long way. Appreciate them for participating in class. Catch them “being good” whenever you possibly can. Appreciate them for taking a risk and appreciate them when they persist in a challenging task. Promote optimism with these folks too. Pessimists think that setbacks are permanent and pervasive. Optimists think that setbacks are temporary and a challenge. Be an example of optimism . Show others that they can persist in the face of difficulties instead of just giving up.”
So how do we do this Win-Win Situation Thing?
First, be honest with yourself: What do you want? Don’t waffle on this. The more specific you are – the better.
Then, ask yourself what else you might need OR what others might want from you. Others are far more likely to do what you want IF they are getting what they want.
Next, do a little research. I’ve found that the lack of information is often my biggest hurdle to finding my win-win situation. Sometimes that means you need to research on the internet. Sometimes it means you need to sit down with someone and really listen to them. You also need to be very clear about how you are feeling.
Be flexible. You can’t always get EVERYTHING that you want. But if you are flexible, you can get MOST of what you want. Sometimes, you’ll discover that the thing you thought you couldn’t live without, really doesn’t matter as much as you thought it did.
Then – DO IT! Don’t chicken out! Life is meant to be enjoyed. Listening to an amazing opera with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop was simply mesmerizing. Don’t deny yourself the thrill just because you might have to drive a little while longer. I prefer not to drive, if I can help it.
Free opera comes ‘but once per year. AND – I think ii will be my newest birthday tradition!
**Information about Win-Win Discipline in this blog post was contributed by Kagan Publishing and the article Strategies for Responding to the Seven Positions.