Hello SOTGC community,
One of the things I always struggled with in corporate America is asking for what I want. Like many women, I worked hard, kept my head down during numerous recessions, and endured 15 right sizings, down sizings, and dress sizes too. I grew up with my mother’s attitude of “just be glad you’ve got a job” so I watched while others got promotions and attained pay increases. I hoped that someone would figure out I was deserving too. I finally realized that someone was me.
Recently I interviewed Bob Wheeler, a world traveler, CPA, and stand-up comic. Bob is also the author of The Money Nerve, a book on mindset for how our choices affect not only our financial decision making, but, more importantly, how our choices affect all areas of our life. Bob’s book presents a mental map for success. (I like the word “map” as everyone is on a path). A mental map is the story you tell yourself and others about your success and your life. That story is truly a collection of your beliefs, experiences, and thoughts. Your mental map for success is not that different from those who are progressing faster on the corporate ladder. The difference can be found in your choices and how you live your truth. For example, if you tell yourself you are not worthy of a promotion, this is your story (and you’re sticking to it) but that story may not be the truth. The truth is you are worthy. In every conscious choice, you should ask yourself, am I living in the truth? By asking that one question, you will start to realize you have numerous choices to advance your career.
So, let’s go back to my mother’s words “just be glad you have a job.” I am thankful I have a job, and that’s been my story for far too long. Now, I want to change that story. The way to make the shift is to be conscious of what your story is, question it, and make mindful choices that move you toward your goal to get promoted. I remapped my story from “just be glad you have a job” to “I have the skills and ability to advance my career.”
So with your new found self-awareness, how can you learn to ask for what you want?
Be clear about what you want: I grew up believing I didn’t have to ask for what I wanted – people would magically supply it. What I was doing was putting my future in the hands of “mind readers,” acting as if those around me could figure out what I wanted. By taking such an approach, I relinquished my personal power. I soon learned I needed to be very clear about what I wanted from my career. By getting clear about this, I significantly improved the opportunities for getting what I truly wanted.
Know Your Value: Bob Wheeler provided this tip – a great way to start looking for ways to increase your income is to research what other people are making in your field. Find out what others are getting paid and how much work they produce. Then ask yourself do I do all that is possible in my position to demonstrate my value? If not, make a list of the gaps, and create a plan to close those gaps.
Practice asking for what you want: If you find yourself fearing how others will respond to what you ask for, it’s just a matter of learning how to ask. For example, make a list of the value you bring to your job in the form of results, achievements, and overall impact to the business. Schedule a meeting with your boss, and share your list. Also, share your enthusiasm for the work you do and the people you come in contact with. Then, simply say, “Based on the value I bring to this organization ….” – then ask for what you want. Practice your approach with a mentor, colleague, or even another manager who can help you find the right words to express what you want. Your ability to ask for what you want will start to expand your confidence in this area. For it’s been said, “If you want more out of life, just ask” because asking for what you want is highly correlated with getting it.
Take a minute and write down three things you want in your life. Next to each item write one to two steps for how you will take action and ask for these items. Give yourself 30 days to obtain them, for you just might get all three!
Here’s to your success!