It was 7:00 am I’m on the first leg of a business coaching trip, on a plane  going somewhere, in my usual early morning  on a plane, going somewhere fog. Too early (for me anyway) to get into my travel/work mode and I need coffee!  Lots of coffee! My uninspired goal is to write a great blog for the coming week. So, I’m slogging through a file of random magazines and articles that I’ve saved to read on a trip just like this. I’m looking for inspiration from someplace, anyplace, but still unfocused enough to not really care.

However, for some reason a headline in full page advertisement, in an in-flight magazine jumped off the page and made contact with my awakening “lizard” brain. Here was a picture of a beautiful woman smiling at me while she was smoking a huge cigar. Now I found this in itself to be quite interesting. Having spent a number of years in the advertising and marketing business myself, I’m quite sure this particular ad was the idea of some highly paid and revered Madison Avenue marketing genius/ advertising geek and that the ad itself had probably won lots of awards while not actually producing any results for the client.  I was sure of this because the ad copy below this exotic picture had absolutely nothing to do with the picture of the lady and the cigar! Perfect!

The copy though could have easily stood on its own. It said: “In business you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

Something begins to wiggle and flutter in my mind. Negotiation is the answer. It’s a major contributor to the secrets of success. Whether they know it or not, everyone negotiates.  Business IS a negotiation. Life IS a negotiation! A light radiates from the page. Now I’m intrigued, excited, buzzed ….and awake.

I’m not quite sure what’s happening but my mind is now fully engaged. Negotiation, that’s it! I’m suddenly on an inspired writing jog with my new muse. My total focus is on that ad copy.  I’m inspired by the lady and the big cigar that apparently has nothing to do with the copy, in the magazine, that’s prominently positioned on my tray table!

This must be similar to the elation that Hemmingway and Steinbeck felt while writing. The “Force” was with me. The words flow effortlessly…one blog spills onto my tablet, two, then three. The coffee kept coming…one cup, two cups…five cups! How much time passed I’m not sure. An outline for future workshops on negotiation appears! A presentation title peeks around the corners of my brain, “Practical Application of Negotiation Principles”.


And then an interruption in the force! My muse is blocked as a distant voice tells me to stop what I’m doing and prepare for landing. The flight attendant is staring right at me. “But I’m on a roll,” I say! I can’t be stopped, not now!”

The attendant looks at me over the top of her glasses, just like my fifth grade teacher did and she says to me in one of those fifth grade teacher voices, “Sorry, there’s no negotiating on this!”

How ironic I thought!

The lady, with the cigar, smiles.

(To be continued next week)

Coach Dan


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