I had an eye-opening experience recently. My sister Yasmin Vorajee (check out her website – www.yasminvorajee.com) became my coach, as well as being my amazing sister. She asked me to read copy she had written for her website and no sooner had I read it, I turned to her and said, ‘I need you for my business.’ I could tell she was very flattered and clearly her copy had hit the spot, however the interesting thing occurred when I asked her what the price would be of working with her and can you guess her response?
Of course you can. Because as my sister, she didn’t want to charge me. On seeing her incredulity that I had even asked the question, before she could respond, I said to her, ‘Oh boy and I think you need me!’ We laughed and I made it very clear that sister or no, her spending her valuable time with me, helping me to build my business meant I would pay for the privilege. I appreciate the love, care and respect she has for me and already she has helped me enormously, however as far as I was concerned, in her business, her expertise and her time equate to a money value and I was more than happy to pay it.
A little while later, she finally told me what she would charge her clients and I agreed to pay it. I could tell she was still surprised and later I pondered on this conversation.
Why do we imagine that our time, our expertise, whatever gifts we have to offer the world, especially if it’s our job or business, do not equate to a money value that makes us happy and why are we so loath to ask for this money when we do finally figure out what we want?
Not asking for the money that is rightfully ours for sharing our gifts shows up not only in our professional life, but also in all aspects of our personal lives. So, we continue to live a half-life, knowing deep down we deserve more, yet not daring to ask.
So I’m asking – why aren’t we asking? What are we afraid of?
Some are afraid they will be perceived as being greedy. Some imagine they are not ‘worthy’ (such a loaded word) of the money they are asking for. Others that the person they are asking doesn’t believe they are worth of it and many are simply afraid of the word ‘No.’ So what’s your reason?
Having worked in reward and remuneration for over 20-years let me give you my take on what I have seen from the other side of the table in relation to the reasons given above.
- Being perceived as being greedy
Unless you are asking for an unreasonable raise or increase in your personal rates – and from my experience, most women ask for too little, so this is not really a valid concern – asking for what you believe you want and deserve is very rarely perceived as greedy. In fact the opposite is true. People value your confidence in your own ability and respect you for this. By not asking, it often shows a distinct lack of confidence and creates the question, ‘Why is she not asking for more?’ I know I am always disappointed when women either don’t negotiate with me or are hesitant in letting me know what they charge. It makes me question their ability, which is not the outcome you want.
- Not believing your own worth or thinking the person you are asking doesn’t consider you worthy
The word ‘worthy’ as I mentioned above is a very loaded word and one that I will be talking about in future blogs a lot, however let me make one very clear distinction. No one will ever be able to put a price on your worth – because as cheesy as this may sound – you are priceless and you determine your worth as an individual, a soul in this life, no-one else and it will never have a money value. What we are talking about here is the value you create in who you are and what you do and what the market is willing to pay for that value. And one more thing – what the market is willing to pay fluctuates, so your ability to work with this and determine what you want to earn is entirely within your control.
- Not wanting to hear the word ‘No’
This is another big topic I will be sharing more thoughts on in the coming time, however my question to you here is, ‘What does it mean to you when someone says no to you, not just when it comes to asking for a raise, but in all areas of your life?’
The meaning you attach to any occasion where someone says no to you has enormous significance in how you move forward. So what do you tell yourself every time you hear no? Do you think it’s entirely because of you or maybe, just maybe the no has very little to do with you.
From my experience, especially when it comes to asking for raises, there are a number of reasons for no. Limited budget, company guidelines, bad timing, someone just wanting to say no – the reasons can be many and varied and I will share with you how you address these, as we go forward. But the critical point here is you can take the no at face value and give it a reason that does not support and serve you, or when required ask for more information and give it a reason that supports and serves you, empowering you to move forward. Either way, you make the decision and stay in the driver’s seat. Not someone else.
The key message here is you are the one who determines how all of this will pan out for you, so if you want to go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot because you’re afraid of asking for what you want and deserve, then go ahead. Because you have to hold yourself accountable for what you create by asking for what you want.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!