Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker and entrepreneur who specializes in human resources and “fixing work.” After 20 years in the field, Ruettimann became burned out and decided she wanted to negotiate a better life for herself. Now, she is on a journey to help others make the lifestyle changes that lead to purpose and meaning.
She joined Negotiate Anything to talk conquering fear and gaining the confidence to make the life changes you’ve always desired.
Shifting Fear-Based Perspectives
When it comes to fear, Ruettimann encouraged listeners to remember that it’s almost never rooted in reality.
“Fear is often based on the story we tell ourselves,” she explained. “Fear is often a perspective—fear is not reality based.”
When working with her clients, Ruettimann prefers to dive right into confronting fears, oftentimes encouraging them to start with a pre-mortem.
The Pre-Mortem as a Tool for Conquering Fears
Unlike a post-mortem assessment (analyzing why something failed), a pre-mortem encourages you to list all the ways your upcoming negotiation (project, conversation, deal, etc.) will fail.
Ruettimann encourages listeners to set a timer and outline all the potential failures or issues that could arise. Once the timer goes off, go through each item and identify a solution. According to Ruettimann, by proactively addressing these issues you increase your chance of success by over 30%.
This exercise has two important benefits. First, it strengthens your preparation technique by giving you the opportunity to anticipate issues and have potential solutions ready. Second, and most importantly, it allows you to directly confront your fears, possibly even neutralizing them. Your mind will begin to accept that not only is failure a reality, but it’s something that can be managed in a safe space.
Navigating Career Transition
Having come to a crossroad in her own career journey, Ruettimann had a few recommendations for those feeling stuck in their current job.
“If you’re stuck in a job that is eating away at your soul - and you don’t know what is next - negotiate a severance like you are a CEO,” she stated – highlighting the fact that many CEOs come into a position with severance negotiated into their contract.
To negotiate severance like a C-Suite leader, Ruettimann recommends first consulting with an attorney and then brainstorming ways to approach your manager. For example, there may be ways to analyze how your job has changed over time. Demonstrating a significant change in responsibility could open the door to negotiations for severance.
Once the decision to have the conversation has been made, Ruettimann encourages professionals to do another pre-mortem and explore all the ways the negotiations could fail. For specific tips on how to overcome these failures, she encouraged listeners to explore the resources.
Conquering Fears Through Therapy
While the pre-mortem can be an incredibly useful tool for facing fears, Ruettimann is also an advocate for therapy and other forms of mental health assistance. She noted that many of the barriers we face today are rooted in past traumas or experiences and often require deeper forms of support and assistance, which is perfectly ok.
If traditional therapy isn’t an option, Ruettimann encouraged listeners to research Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) within their organization.
“People underutilize EAP,” she shared. “This could be a good option for merging professional coaching with therapeutic intervention.”
Finally, Ruettimann reminded listeners that rather than avoiding fears—it’s better to address them directly, “You are either going to address it now, or at some point later when it’s inconvenient and you can’t control it.”