I first heard Emily’s story six months ago over a couple of vodka tonics at one of my favorite bars, Sister Louisa’s Church on Edgewood Avenue in downtown Atlanta. Emily was miserable in her job, a small events company that had hired her for a base salary of $30k (and $15k in sales commission that never materialized).
We’ve all been there—my heart immediately went out to her. So after we Ubered it home, I sent her two of my most practical and valuable guides: “3 Easy Steps to Get What You Want With Confidence and Grace” and “How to Get a Raise.”
Imagine my surprise and delight when Emily walked into my 48th-birthday party four months later with her good news: She had just started a new job that paid $48k. Not only that, she told me, she was now in a great working environment with caring mentors and a clear path to promotion.
Here’s how it all went down: Like so many Millennials, Emily had graduated into the Great Recession and was truly grateful to have any job at all. But after two grueling years of no raises, no promotions, and no appreciation, Emily was finally ready to get outside of her comfort zone and try my method to ask for a raise.
The work entailed a lot of writing and self-introspection about what Emily wanted and what she was willing to accept. It also included using my proven scripts and following steps to boost her confidence and to take her through the process, from requesting a meeting to sitting down with her boss and asking for a bump.
Asking is not that complicated, honest. You really can learn the secret in these 3 Easy Steps:
1. Think big and carry a big intent. How many times have you shut down your inner voice, thinking it’s selfish? I know—I know. You feel guilty, you ignore it, and you don’t want to appear greedy, so you justify it by telling yourself you have enough.
2. Write down what you want and what’s in it for them. After you’ve thought really big, your next step is to write down exactly what you want. You may think you don’t have time to do this—you’re already overwhelmed with everything on your plate. But writing it down will give you clarity and some other key things that will give you power and confidence when you ask.
3. Ask joyfully. ASKING is the big win. Even if you don’t get everything you want, you know you’re going to hear “YES” more than you’re hearing it now, when you’re not asking.
Maybe you’re thinking this all sounds a little too easy, just a little too good to be true. Or maybe you’re thinking Emily is the exception and you should just keep your head down, work harder and smarter, and eventually you’ll be recognized and rewarded for your efforts. You can do that, sure.
The fact is Emily is the exception. Most women don’t ask. And that’s a shame because studies show that women who ask for what they want and negotiate earn $1 million more over their careers than those who don’t.
See, Emily was fed up enough that she was willing to try anything. So using my guides, she set up a meeting to ask for a raise, sat down with her boss, and made the request, which bombed big-time. Her boss told her not only would she not get a raise but there would be no promotion—EVER—and he wanted her to jump through even more hoops just to get her job done.
The good news: because of the work she did to make her ask for a raise, Emily then knew what she wanted, and was ready to walk and look for a new job.
Within a couple of months, she had three solid interviews lined up and was offered the job she wanted (at $3k over her minimum goal of $45k, incidentally). But most importantly, because she mastered 3 Easy Steps, Emily is now able to use the same skills to ask for what she wants over and over again.
Old mindset: “I’ll take anything because I need a job.”
Mindset shift: “The biggest confidence booster 3 Easy Steps gave me was that asking for a raise does not put you at the mercy of someone else. Taking that dynamic out of the conversation—I need your permission to have this—I learned I could go somewhere else to ask for what I needed instead of staying in the same place and begging. And I learned that if I had to beg and plead, then I didn’t belong there. Refusing to settle is a really big change to my professional life and career path. I learned to be fearless and bold and to stretch myself to get what I want.”
The belief that opened doors for me? Discovering I could serve others through making the right requests. The request itself became a vehicle for personal transformation. I became more courageous and more confident.
“I signed up with Annette's Irresistible Request Program because of her impressive record of success in coaching, but what is truly inspiring is her passion for helping women gain confidence. She is completely committed to your success. I never thought I was someone who lacked confidence, but launching a new business brought up lots of insecurities. Annette's coaching was invaluable for helping me launch my business with confidence, clarify my priorities and minimize my fears."
– Christina Caudill