Anxiety or Excitement: You Decide

Interesting article in the New York Times today about the whether you perceive an elevated heart rate as anxiety or excitement; and how this perception can affect your ability to successfully negotiate:

anxiety or excitement, you decided

photo courtesy of the New York Times

A study from MIT recently showed that when confident people enter a negotiation, they perform better if they have an elevated heart rate.  So if you are looking forward to asking for that raise from your boss, get on a treadmill, get her on the phone, and ask.  You are more likely to achieve success than if you talked with her while seated at your desk.

What about people who are not confident about their ability to negotiate?  If you are nervous and doubt your abilities, you may label that elevated heart rate while on the treadmill as anxiety.  If you label physical response from exercising (pounding heart, shortness of breath, & sweating) as anxiety, you will perform worse than if you negotiated while resting.  If, however, you can say to yourself, “I always feel this way when I exercise”, “this is a natural, expected response”, and “I am excited to be asking for a raise”, you will improve your ability to engage in negotiations. 


Alison Wood Brooks, Assistant Professor of Business Administration and a scholar at the Harvard Business School, recommends:

“Get on the treadmill, get your heart racing and once it’s racing, 
appraise the feeling as excitement — tell yourself ‘I am excited, not anxious,’ ” 
she said. “And then go forth and prosper.”


Source:New York Times Article

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