I suddenly froze while checking out a YouTube video. My jaw practically hit the floor. According to Linda Babcock, author of “Women Don’t Ask,” women can make more than $2M LESS THAN a male throughout a career lifetime simply by not negotiating! I was watching a YouTube video of Professor Babcock explaining this shocking statistic. I will never forget the moment I learned that. I kept saying to myself, ‘this can’t be! I have to do something.”
As an Executive Career Coach, I am uber-passionate in bringing awareness to women on how they may be holding themselves back in their careers. You leave money on the table by not negotiating, which holds you back. This is what I mean by complacency. You know you probably should negotiate but can’t follow through. Then it becomes too daunting of a task, you become complacent, and then you are happy, right? WRONG!!!
So why don’t women negotiate?
Two things come to mind:
1) Lack of confidence: I will address this in a future blog because it deserves much attention.
2) Women may not be able to articulate with conviction how they specifically bring value to an organization.
4 Steps to Advance in your Career
Last week we focused on Aspire. Today, we concentrate on Assess. If you recall, Aspire is the first step to becoming a better version of yourself in your career. There are four steps to advance in your career.
You are probably wondering…Assess what?
How would you feel if you could describe to your boss or potential employer what your worth is with massive confidence and conviction? Wouldn’t that be empowering? I say YES! The assessment involves getting to know yourself by identifying your talents, skills, and core values.
You put together the puzzle pieces by identifying your talents, skills, and core values. The goal is to describe to your current or potential employer precisely what is unique about you and what you bring to the table that others do not.
You know your worth once you are proficient at articulating your talents and values and then:
- You can negotiate with confidence and conviction
- Apply for the job without second-guessing yourself
- Use your voice to advocate for yourself and
- Get a seat at the table
Do you have talents?
Everyone has talents! Talents are your general intelligence or abilities. If you have a hard time identifying your talents, a promising avenue would be to take a test. There are three tests that I would recommend.
- Gallup Strengths Finder
- Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator
- If you are into woo-woo stuff, there is the Enneagram Test
These tests give you an indication of why you do the things you do. And it gives you a good idea of your talents. Some call these personality tests.
3 Types of skills
When it comes to your skills, there are three types of skills:
- Functional or transferable skills
- Knowledge skills
- Self-Management skills
Functional or Transferable Skills
These are typically basic verb skills such as initiating, organizing, prioritizing, analyzing, etc. You can apply these skills to any job, hence the transferable skills.
These are the skills you need to know to perform the job. For example, a doctor needs to understand the science of medicine, a lawyer needs to know the law, and a mechanic needs to know auto mechanics. These individuals wouldn’t be doctors, lawyers, or mechanics without this specific knowledge.
This skill set is typically adjectives or adverbs such as flexible, outgoing, resourceful, and self-confident. Essentially, these skills are how you deal with people, time, problems, or crises. The Myers-Briggs will once again help you identify these skills.
If you want to dig deeper into learning about yourself, I recommend a fantastic book titled “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles. Be sure to get the 2022 version because this book is updated annually.
Your core values are your guiding light or your north star. There is one other area that I encourage you to work on identifying.
Core values help you decide to conduct yourself in your life and career. These core beliefs will help you identify if you are making the right decision for you, your life, and your family. These can be aspirational and can represent your highest and best self.
Knowing your core values will help you determine if an employer will fit you well. For example, if one of your core values is leading a healthy life, you will not get a job with a tobacco company because they can’t say that their core value is health when they know that their product causes cancer.
Examples of core values are acceptance, honesty, integrity, fulfillment, love, health, happiness, humor, etc.
Although many people use the single words are their core values, I like to take it one step further. Core values define behaviors and are not just a single word. The single word doesn’t represent who you are; it’s more of a generic term. Remember when we all used to be in an office together? Did you have wall posters around the office with words like “Teamwork,” “Integrity,” and “Customer Service?” Those posters were supposed to represent the company’s culture or core values.
Start working on your core values by identifying an extensive list of potential core values. I recommend using a free resource on the web. Review the list and select the top 20 words you most identify with on your first go-around. You will narrow the list twice more to your top 10 and top 5 words. You will adopt those top 5 words as your core values.
Once you have your top 5 core values, you want to convert them into a simple yet memorable phrase. The phrase will start with a verb and conveys a sense of behavior.
For example, if your core value is integrity, the phrase you come up with could be “Doing what you say you are going to do.”
Another example, if your core value is leadership, the matching phrase could be “Leading by example.”
I will share my core values with you to get an idea of the outcome. My single word core values are:
- Personal Growth
But those individual words are dreadfully dull and don’t speak to who I am or my intentions. I then started thinking about a short phrase that begins with a verb.
- Personal Growth became ‘Learning constantly.’
- Proactive became ‘Taking action.’
- Fulfillment became ‘Seeking fulfillment.’
- Supportive became ‘Paying it forward.’
- Fun became ‘Enjoying the process.’
Therefore, my core values below represent who I am better than the single-word core values.
- Learning constantly
- Taking action
- Seeking fulfillment
- Paying it forward
- Enjoying the process
You are doing this assessment to learn about yourself to articulate your worth clearly. You can earn promotions and salary increases if you can express your value.
If you know what you are good at, you will be able to quickly figure out what you want to do for a living that leaves you fulfilled and energized every day.
These are not the only areas you can or should assess yourself. You can go even further and work on a vision and mission statement. An easy way to distinguish between the two is this:
- Mission statement: focuses on today and what you do
- Vision statement: focuses on tomorrow and what you want to become
My mission is to eradicate the gender gap in the corporate world by empowering women in their careers, which is why you are reading this blog.
My vision is that we don’t even think about the gender gap because men and women are both equal. That is my long-term desire for our society worldwide.
It will be great when one day, in the distant past, women are shocked because women of the past used to earn more than $2M less than males simply by not negotiating. What a wonderful world that will be.
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The next installment will cover step 3, which is Advice.
Be Brave, Be Bold, Take Action!