What’s holding back your wealth?
It’s a strange thing to ask and if you ask me whether I’m good at my job, I’d say yes.
My skills are in demand, I’m a specialist in my field, I bring a wide range of experience and yet, I have never asked for a pay rise.
In fact, I forgot to ask about salary in my last performance review. I’ve never negotiated a starting salary, always taken what they offered.
This is nothing less than a failure on my part.
Because most pay increases are incremental, the earlier you fatten your pay packet, the greater the increase next time.
If I hadn’t been so nice, there’s a good chance I would make more money now.
I’ve been trying to unpick the puzzle about why I’m my own worst enemy in this sense.
Why do I dislike asking for money?
Why do I feel uncomfortable putting a dollar value on myself?
One factor was a fear of the price I’d pay.
I believed that if a company paid you more, they expected a pound of flesh for it. That every pay rise would come with an increase in work.
That’s not the case, in reality.
You learn to work smarter, you find balance by being good at what you do and you learn to create boundaries.
Another issue is impostor syndrome.
I question, in my heart, whether I deserve more money. Whether I’m that good or useful or worthwhile.
But I think the biggest issue is my tendency to be a people-pleaser.
- I don’t want to rock the boat by being troublesome.
- I don’t want to be the difficult one who makes a fuss.
- I feel uncomfortable making others uncomfortable.
So I leave difficult conversations about money well alone.
Recently, I decided that I had hit rock bottom on people pleasing.
I’ve started saying no more often.
I value myself and my skills and my time more dearly.
I’ve started learning how to put aside the discomfort of negotiation, and do it anyway.
I can do hard things in other areas of my life, so surely I can do it here.
I see a lot of women consistently undervalue themselves or question their worth in dollar terms.
The tendency not to make demands seems to sit somewhere alongside the female tendency to want to be smaller, less troublesome, less fierce.
The world pushes us to take up less space all the time: to diet away our body fat, to quieten our voices.
All of these are simply attempts to stop us owning our power, and I admit, I fall for it sometimes.
I doubt myself, I question my talent, I wish to be leaner.
And so do many, many women I know and love.
So I encourage you to question which behaviours are holding you back.
What is stopping you from owning your power?
Because our wealth is tied up deeply with our power.
Our power to demand something from the world.
Nobody will give us anything more than we ask, so we must learn to ask.