Know Your Worth

Skjermbilde 2018-08-06 kl. 20.26.21

No one will ever pay you what you are worth. They will only ever pay you what they think you are worth. And you control their thinking.” – Casey Brown

The above quote from Casey Brown’s TEDxColumbusWomen talk is one of the most eye-opening statements to me. First, because it forces me to accept that a pay raise is something I have to negotiate for myself. No one else will negotiate it for me, no matter how great my work is. Second, it empowers me to take charge of the negotiation by clearly defining and communicating my own value.

And yes, the second lesson is definitely easier said than done, but think about it for a minute. If you don’t know your own value, how can you expect someone else to? Especially someone who is busy with maintaining an ever tighter budget, company KPIs, work/life balance… Oh, and negotiating his/her own salary with someone even higher (aka scarier!) in the organization.

Skjermbilde 2018-08-08 kl. 21.04.02

Whether you have a salary negotiation coming up or not, I do believe everyone can benefit from considering their own value. As suggested by Casey Brown, this can be done by considering key value questions, such as:

  • What do my clients need, and how do I meet their demands?
  • What do I do that no one else does?
  • What value do I add to the organization?

These questions may seem overwhelming at first, especially for someone new to the work place. Personally, they initially terrified me. I did the mistake of comparing myself to the many great people around me – with a lot more experience than me, may I add. As a result, I did not feel I contributed anything unique or special to the organisation, which made my first salary negotiation extremely terrifying.

Skjermbilde 2018-08-08 kl. 21.07.23

What helped me overcome this insecurity was to compare these key value questions to my job description – to understand what was specifically required from me, and have a concrete benchmark to compare my qualities with. Subsequently, I discussed the questions with people around me, to understand what they considered best practice for someone in my position.

This exercise serves as a confidence boost, because you start appreciating all the things you are doing right. At the same time, it also provides a lot of opportunities for growth, which you can use to develop in your position. And with that confidence and achieved development areas along the way, I am confident that we can all find our own voice and use it to communicate value.

Fake it ‘til you become it

Amy Cuddy

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds change our behaviour, and our behaviour changes our outcomes” – Amy Cuddy

If you haven’t already watched it, I urge you to watch Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy, author of the book Presence, TED talk on body language and how it changes our behaviour and, by extension, outcomes in life.

Presence bestselling book

Personally, I don’t do the Wonder Woman in the office bathroom, or lean back in the chair with my legs spread out in meetings (although I am sure the other meeting participants – mostly elderly men – certainly wouldn’t mind if I did…). I do, however, enjoy an occasional “star fish” pose, where you stretch yourself as big as possible, especially in the morning – to my boyfriend’s big frustration, as my power pose nearly kicks him out of bed.

Amy Cuddy - Power Pose

According to Amy Cuddy, a power pose such as the Wonder Woman directly affects testosterone, a dominance hormone, and cortisol, a stress hormone, making you more confident and resilient. Although I do not necessarily feel super risk tolerant following my morning pose, I must admit it feels really good to stretch myself biiig… And kicking my boyfriend out of the bed actually does make me feel stronger and more confident!

Anyways, I do believe we could all learn from Amy Cuddy and become more aware of our postures when attending meetings. Personally, I am very aware of and affected by how people – and myself – appear in meetings. Although I would not necessarily describe my posture as a power pose, I aim to appear engaged and confident – “leaning in” and sitting with my back straight. Whether it works or not, I am at least quite certain I appear professional – and with time I hopefully succeed in faking it ’til I become it!