Harvard Law Lecturer Erica Ariel Fox Asks: Are You “Winning From Within”?

Do you want to get more of what you want, improve your relationships, and enjoy life’s deeper rewards?

That’s the ambitious goal that Harvard lecturer Erica Ariel Fox achieves in her new book, Winning From Within: A breakthrough method for leading, living, and lasting change, which provides a map for understanding your inner world and a method for sorting yourself out.

The principles of the book were developed from her experience teaching negotiation at Harvard Law School, and coaching executives around the world, explains Fox, who is also the co-founder of the global consulting firm Mobius Executive Leadership.

“These insights come from Western psychology and Eastern philosophy to resolve the gap between what people know they should say and what they actually do,” says Fox, who received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her law degree from Harvard Law School. “The goal of the book is to help you learn how to master your ‘inner negotiators,’ whether working with a difficult client, struggling with a stubborn spouse, or developing your highest leadership potential.”

Life is a series of negotiations, Fox realizes.

“From seemingly insignificant daily decisions to major life choices, you negotiate every time you aim to persuade, argue over a decision, or resolve a conflict,” she insists, noting that the most important negotiations—the ones that determine the impact of our actions and the quality of our lives—are those we have with ourselves.

“Most of us recognize the difference between our knowledge—what we know we should do and say—and our know-how—what we actually do and say in real life when it counts,” Fox says. “The ability to achieve mastery over how we interact with each other comes from within, from the ‘center’ where desires, thoughts, feelings, and impulses to take action live side-by-side.”

A profound and highly practical seven-step method for making changes that last, at work and at home, “Winning From Within” teaches people to negotiate effectively with themselves in order to deal successfully with other people.

Step 1. Possibilities: See your Dreamer’s Vision

“Inspired by imagination, Dreamers see how new technologies can create a whole new world,” says Fox. “Your Dreamer might tend to run low, making it hard for you to imagine a different or better future. It might run high, so you’re busily filling up whiteboards with one initiative after another.

“All things being equal, you have the widest range of choice if you find a balanced way to relate to the seven goals a Dreamer might have:

  • Set bold fees for your services.
  • Inspire your workforce to become industry leaders.
  • Demolish your kitchen for a renovation.
  • Move out of your home office into your first real space for your small business.
  • Try an experimental drug treatment.
  • Accept a drop in salary for a job whose mission means the world to you.
  • Join a gym.

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the Dreamer Sweet Spots: Generate your vision, dare to pursue your dream, and sense a path forward.

Step 2. Perspectives: Understand Your Thinker’s Insight

“Dreamers who chase after their vision without the reasoning of the Thinker can aim for results they’ll never achieve,” explains Fox, noting that a strong inner thinker must make essential trade-offs and assessments.

When they do, the Balanced Thinker can do seven things like:

  • Write a well-defined project plan.
  • Research available deductions for a tax return.
  • Make sense of unexpected results from a lab report.
  • Develop strong arguments in defense of a client’s position.
  • Compare performance to benchmarks in the market and shareholder expectations.
  • Decide whom to propose for a school board position.
  • Look into options for summer plans.

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the Thinker Sweet Spots: Applying facts and logic, considering consequences, and looking at all sides.

Step 3. People: Feel Your Lover’s Heart

“Where the Dreamer muses about vision, and the Thinker analyzes ideas, your Lover values relationships,” Fox says, adding, “a signature of a Lover is the drive to nurture and tend. It’s the impulse you feel to leave work on time because your dog is alone at home. To buy organic vegetables from a local farm to care for the natural environment. Or to sponsor the student who rings your doorbell in their fundraiser for school.”

With your inner Lover you can do seven things like:

  • Stay home with your child who’s sick.
  • Show the ropes to a new colleague.
  • Help your aging parents so they can continue to live in their home.
  • Help your spouse connect to the Internet—even though you’ve explained it five times.
  • Sit with a soon-to-be-ex-spouse, to tell your kids that you’re separating.
  • Call your siblings to remind them to turn change the clocks back.
  • Keep up morale when your company goes through a re-organization.

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the Lover Sweet Spots: Connect with emotions, collaborate with others, and build and maintain trust.

Step 4. Performance: Carry Your Warrior’s Sword and Shield

“While the Dreamer aspires, the Thinker analyzes, and the Lover connects, the Warrior gets the deal signed, sealed, and delivered,” Fox says. “The Warrior is fundamentally about claiming your power, and using it carefully, consciously, and ethically.”

She adds: “With a Balanced Warrior, you won’t trample over other people. You won’t submit blindly to them either. Balanced Warriors don’t fight without reason. They act in the service of Dreamers’ values and visions, fighting for principles like liberty, democracy, and human dignity.”

The Warrior steps forward when you need a push to get moving so you can do things like these seven:

  • Create and maintain a performance culture in your business or your office.
  • Talk to your brother about a concern about his gambling.
  • Get out of bed to go running.
  • Speak up when you see discrimination.
  • Implement your annual strategic plan.
  • Stand firm when you say you are done breastfeeding.
  • Collect the last set of hours of supervision you need to get certified at your clinical practice.

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the Warrior Sweet Spots: Speak hard truths, hold your ground, and take action.

Step 5. Perception: Awaken Your Lookout

“A Lookout is a person who observes a setting for what’s important,” Fox explains. “If they spot something, they report it to someone else who’ll do something about it. Lookouts don’t take action on the problem they see. They pass on a message, and leave it to someone else to resolve things.”

Like the other transforming qualities, Fox says that the Lookout stands outside the other “Big Four” and watches how they work. “While the Big Four tug at you to identify them completely, the Lookout knows there is more to you than their voices, opinions, and competing view of the world.”

Indeed, the Lookouts are transformative because they “disentangle you from the chatter of the inner negotiator and remind you that these feelings, thoughts, fantasies, or impulses are just parts of you.”

The Lookout helps you:

  • See your reactions, rather than act on them.
  • Capture the opportunities.
  • Find your center of well-being.
  • Learn to spot when you are off-center.

Step 6. Presence: Let Your Captain Steer the Ship

“Where your Lookout watches what’s happening inside of you, your Captain watches what’s going on all around you,” Fox shares. “Taking that together with news from the Lookout, the Captain makes the calls about what to do.”

While Lookouts are a key member of your inner crew, Fox adds that it’s the Captain who takes the lead. “Your Captain senses your situation, considers your values, and chooses an optimal route.”

The role of your Captain:

  • Receive and filter messages from your Lookout.
  • Sense your environment.
  • Draw on the values and wisdom in your center.

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to:

  • Lead with presence.
  • Know what’s now, and what’s next.
  • Lead with values, wisdom, and character.

Step 7. Path: Grow with Your Voyager

“A Voyager sees life as an adventure,” Fox understands. “As a series of explorations, with one learning opportunity followed by another, Voyagers seek new experiences because they know they can gain wisdom as they travel through life.

“It’s no accident that the first shuttle into space was called Voyager,” notes Fox. “Nor is it a coincidence that the same name was given to the Star Trek ship traveling the farthest into uncharted space.”

In this chapter, you’ll learn that:

  • The Voyager helps you grow over time.
  • The Voyager expands your horizons.
  • Voyaging can start where you are.
  • Your Voyager can shape your life. “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” — William Ernest Henley.
  • Voyagers know you’re a lifelong learner.
  • One Voyage has two sides—and a complete Voyage includes both of them.

This is just a taste of Fox’s tremendous insights. Click here to buy the book.

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