A topic at the forefront of my mind is the unfortunate fact that women still earn 20% less than men. I am totally pissed off thinking of my hardworking female contemporaries underearning. My immediate reaction is to blame men, society and government for putting us women in this situation. But the self-help junkie in me knows better. Rather than blame others for my discomfort, I chose to turn inward. I ask myself, "Why do these statistics make me so angry?" And after coming down, I realized why; my inner voice (aka ~ing) responded, "You're angry because you too are under earning." Wow! My ~ing was right on the money. It's not that others are undervaluing me, it's that I am undervaluing myself. My anger was the result of not knowing my own worth.
This revelation caught me off guard. For nearly a decade I'd perceived myself as a kick ass businesswoman. I've been an entrepreneur since the age of twenty-one, I've started several businesses, closed tons of deals, managed my books, paid my taxes - you name it. With this kind of track record, what gives? Why am I still undervaluing my worth?
I turned to the expert - my dear friend and founder of DailyWorth.com (a personal finance email for women), Amanda Steinberg, in order to help me understand this female issue. According to Amanda, "Women still make 20% less than men because we don't understand our real market value. We often approach jobs and contracts with fear and insecurity, hoping 'they'll want us,' and not thinking about the established market value of what we bring to the table." She continued, "It's more common for a female job candidate to ask what the job pays, rather than walking in the door clear about her own bottom line."
Recognizing this is the first step to realizing earning parity. The next move is to take action toward significant change. My personal energetic change around money could benefit all women and myself. By shifting my own thoughts and energy around earning, I could become a power of example for women throughout the world. So, I committed to taking the necessary steps towards earning more and loving it.
The first step toward know~ing my worth was the willingness to feel uncomfortable. Most change can cause growing pains. In order to move through them you must be willing to feel whatever comes up. In my case, even the topic of negotiating or raising my rates or spending less made me feel nauseous. I found that as I entered into these conversations, I'd defend my old patterns in efforts to stay safe. But playing small was no longer an option. I braved through the discomfort and committed to change by welcoming everything that came along with it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I shifted my inner dialogue from, "That doesn't feel good. Run!" to "Bring it on!"
With the willingness to feel discomfort, I transitioned into the second step towards know~ing my worth: practic~ing. The only way to transform my old patterns was to create new ones. I went into practice mode. Regardless of how uncomfortable I felt, I practiced negotiating every chance I'd get (even if I didn't want what I was negotiating for). I negotiated in areas ranging from retail purchases to sponsorship deals. Each time I practiced this new behavior I felt more worthy. Ironically, I enjoyed my practice period. This step helped me transform my fear around negotiating as I settled into a new perception of my worth.
Though things had gotten better I still noticed something funky come up during my practice period. Each time I'd ask for what I wanted, I felt as though I needed to apologize for what I'd asked for by over-talking and justifying my requests. Though it was totally cool that I'd acquired the chutspa to ask, I was still unable to close. Each time I'd overtalk my negotiations, I'd sabotage the deal.
This brings me to my final step to know~ing my worth: clos~ing the deal. This step is all about revving up your belief system. When you believe you're worthy, others believe you're worthy. Therefore I tapped into my visualization mediation practice. I'd sit in a ten-minute meditation and imagine myself signing the contract on a massive sponsorship deal. Then, I'd see myself cashing the check. Most importantly, I'd hold the vision long enough to feel worthy. The key to believing is feeling. By holding powerful visions through meditation, I was able to guide myself into a true feeling of worthiness.
With this new belief system in tact, I was ready to close the deal. Now that I walked the walk, I had to learn to stop talking the talk. At closing time, I cashed in for some male advice from my boyfriend, who happens to be a killer negotiator. He said, "When you're finished asking for what you want, shut up." Man, is that right! In order to truly own your worth and close a deal, you must learn to be silent. There's no need for extra talk, backpedaling or further explanation when you know your worth.
I continue to practice these tools daily and have experienced miraculous results. I'll negotiate with anyone, visualize and ask for more any chance I get. All for the sake of truly know~ing my worth.
For further guidance join Amanda Steinberg and myself on March 25th for our lecture entitled Know~ing Your Worth. SIGN UP TODAY