Three Simple Rules

Jan. 15, 2014
I have a confession to make. I'm not all that enamored with Facebook (FB). I know this confession makes me seem like a dinosaur in the world of technology ...

by JoAnn R. Gurenlian, RDH, PhD

I have a confession to make. I'm not all that enamored with Facebook (FB). I know this confession makes me seem like a dinosaur in the world of technology, and that using Facebook is a means of communication and self-expression. But sometimes it seems like a huge waste of time. For someone who did not have a FB page, I am now the administrator of three pages, and I often wonder how that happened.

Scrolling messages on FB is not my favorite pastime, but I have to admit there are moments of true inspiration to be found. I happened upon a quote that made me think about the start of another year. Every time the New Year rolls around, I find myself resisting the urge to make a resolution I probably will not keep (lose weight, clean the basement, etc.). For the last few years, I've asked myself to identify one positive change in my life. Then, I work to achieve it.

What made me think of you was a quote on FB from Words to Inspire the Soul. Allow me to share it.

3 Simple Rules

  1. If you do not go after what you want, you'll never have it.
  2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
  3. If you do not step forward, you'll always be in the same place.

This quote is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on something we really want that could make our lives different and better. So, with this New Year, take a moment to identify the one thing that is important to you that needs to be better. Whatever that one thing is, why is it so important to you? Are you worth investing the time to make this change?

As I visit dental hygiene colleagues around the country and the world, I hear us speak about situations that need to change, and the lament that change is not occurring. Well, maybe we need to change our approach. It's frustrating to not realize goals and dreams. There's nothing wrong with wanting something more or better, and not achieving this can lead to dissatisfaction.


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I recently had the opportunity to hear Stuart Diamond speak. He is a New York Times best-selling author of "How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life: Getting More." Mr. Diamond outlined steps to finding, valuing, and understanding others so they will be more likely to help us achieve our goals. What was impressive is how he illustrated the use of his negotiation model in everyday life, not just in a professional arena.

Diamonds uses 12 strategies in negotiation, which are briefly outlined below.1

  1. Goals are paramount. What you do in a negotiation is centered on bringing you closer to your goals.
  2. It's about them. Think of yourself as the least important person in the negotiation and put yourself in the shoes of the people you are trying to persuade. Learn their needs and perceptions so you can get people to want to do things.
  3. Make emotional payments. When people are emotional, they cannot listen; therefore, they cannot be persuaded. Tap into the other person's emotional psyche by showing empathy and valuing them so they can think more clearly.
  4. Every situation is different. You must analyze every situation on its own and not be rigid in your thinking.
  5. Incremental is best. Don't ask for too much at one time. Lead people from the pictures in their heads to your goals, one step at a time.
  6. Trade things you value unequally. Find out what the other party cares about and trade off items that one party values but the other party does not.
  7. Find their standards. Learn the policies, exceptions, and precedents, and use these to get more. State their bad behavior when they are not consistent with those policies.
  8. Be transparent and constructive, not manipulative. Being honest and real is highly credible, and credibility is the biggest asset.
  9. Always communicate, state the obvious, and frame the vision. Package the vision in a few words so they know where you want them to go.
  10. 10. Find the real problem and make it an opportunity. Find out why the other party is acting the way they are. View these problems as negotiation opportunities.
  11. Embrace differences. Differences can be more profitable, more creative, and lead to better results.
  12. Prepare – make a list and practice with it. Practice the above strategies and tools until you meet your goals.
    Whatever you plan to accomplish this New Year, take advantage of the opportunity to learn more so you can be successful in achieving your goals. All the best in 2014!

JOANN R. GURENLIAN, RDH, PhD, is president of Gurenlian & Associates, and provides consulting services and continuing-education programs to health-care providers. She is a professor and dental hygiene graduate program director at Idaho State University, and president of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists.


1 Diamond S. (2012). How you can negotiate to succeed in work and life: Getting more. New York: Three Rivers Press.

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