Using Mel Robbins' 5 Second Rule to Negotiate The 5 Second Rule will turn off the autopilot in your mind and allow you to face new experiences

By Carol Sankar

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

John Wildgoose | Getty Images

I recently discovered "habit loops" may be a contributing factor in the role of career ascension for professional women. Habit loops are repetitive and routine behaviors that you may not be aware of, such as traveling to the office daily, drinking a cup of coffee or checking your phone as soon as you wake up. These are habits that are looped into your mind on autopilot, which you may not recognize.

Related: FBI Hostage Negotiation Tactics You Can Use Every Day

If you apply the same thinking to negotiating, could the deficiencies in the market for women leaders be connected to a habit loop? The habit of not asking for professional consideration and/or opportunities? I struggled with this behavior in the early stages of growing my company. I had a habit of bypassing the negotiating table; instead, I used a comparison bias to justify my decision by measuring my accomplishments against other competitors in the market.

I recently connected with Mel Robbins, who has one of the most viewed TED Talks with over 12 million views to date. She's also a CNN commentator, former defense attorney and the author of The 5 Second Rule, which is one of the top downloaded self-published audiobooks on Audible.

Once I learned about The 5 Second Rule, I became more aware of the patterns in my professional expectations and behavior that may have contributed to leaving lucrative opportunities on the table during the capital raise stages. The failure to ask has the same impact as the habit of constantly expecting others to know your value. "In a negotiation, there are often more options on the table than you realize!" Robbins told me in an email.

Related: 7 Ways Women Leaders Can Win at Negotiating

Robbins describes how to apply the 5 Second Rule on her blog: "Start counting backward to yourself -- 5-4-3-2-1, then move .... When you start counting backward, you interrupt the habit of overthinking, you assert control, you focus yourself on taking new action, and you activate a different part of your brain." Robbins also said that counting backward will awaken the part of the brain that endorses the habit of procrastination and refocus thought patterns.

As we continued to talk, I was curious if she believed the 5 Second Rule can help more women negotiate effectively. "Avoiding a negotiation is like any other habit. The good news? Science shows us exactly how to break any habit. You need to feel the fear and 5-4-3-2-1 do it anyway," Robbins said.

Here is Robbins's advice for women on using the 5 Second Rule to negotiate more effectively.

Rule No. 1: Do your homework.

Make sure you are prepared with data on performance and feedback before you commence the conversation. Before any negotiation, make sure to do your homework. Robbins added, "Start taking small, courageous, everyday actions for the week leading up to the negotiation. Get yourself in the habit of being courageous."

Related: The Real-Life Jerry Maguire Taught Me These 3 Crucial Rules for a Successful Negotiation

Rule No. 2: Don't be afraid to say no.

The most difficult part of the negotiation process is knowing when you walk away. Overthinking the decision in haste will lead to accepting an offer that may be below your value and the long-term value of your professional contributions. "During a negotiation, it can be tempting to simply say 'sounds good!' to the proposed salary or deal -- because you don't want to rock the boat. Because you've done your homework already, you need to 5-4-3-2-1 and advocate for yourself," Robbins said.

Rule No. 3: Get real.

Robbins believes that you must audit your value before walking into the negotiation room. This level of transparency will allow you to view your core strengths and weaknesses in the market.

Related: You Can't Always Get What You Want: The Art of Negotiating

"Are you replaceable? Do you solve problems, take initiative and offer something really special? If the answer to these questions is a 'Hell Yeah!' then right now, it's time to ask for that raise or that piece of business. If your answer is 'Maybe?' it's time to 5-4-3-2-1 and take the steps to start offering even more value in your work."

Robbins adds, "If you get shot down in a negotiation, don't worry."

The 5 Second Rule will turn off the autopilot in your mind and allow you to face new experiences. "You must understand that those triggers are not going away. When the time comes to negotiate, you can't expect the fear to melt away. The fear will be there anyway. You need to feel the fear and 5-4-3-2-1 do it anyway."

Related Video: How Many of These 14 Common Negotiating Mistakes Do You Make?

Carol Sankar

Founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership

Carol Sankar is the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, which is a global executive leadership firm focused on inclusion initiatives for high achieving women. Sankar has been featured at TEDx, The Steve Harvey Show, the Society for Human Resource Management and more.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Here Are 3 Strategies Startup Founders Can Use to Approach High-Impact Disputes

The $7 billion "buy now, pay later" startup Klarna recently faced a public board spat. Here are three strategies to approach conflict within a business.

Science & Technology

These Are the Top 6 AI Threats to Your Business Right Now

The modern workforce is forever changed by artificial intelligence. If you fail to understand that we will all need to learn AI to some degree, you haven't been paying attention.


As a Black Woman CEO, I Built a Remote Company Not Just to Save Money — But to Mirror My Commitment to Diversity. Here's How.

To fuel innovation and global success, you absolutely need diverse perspectives — and having team members all across the world with varying thought processes, life experiences and viewpoints is the key.

Business News

'This Can't Be True': Google Responds to Viral Hoax Claiming the Company Is Shutting Down Gmail

The fake news release started making its way around X on Thursday.

Business News

I Tested the 'Invest As You Shop' App to See If It Really Makes Investing Less Intimidating

Grifin is an app that tailors a user's investments to their spending habits. Now, the app is getting even more personal.