By Emily Fletcher
To ask for a raise can be a nerve-wracking process. Even if you know you deserve a higher salary, sometimes the very act of asking is so intimidating that we don’t do it. Requesting a raise can also bring up a lot of feelings: self-doubt, fear of rejection, and unworthiness.
Here’s the secret: We don’t get what we want; we get what we negotiate. If you go into your boss’s office with a mindset of “I am valuable,” you will likely have a much better outcome than if you go in with a mindset of “I’m not enough.” People respond to nonverbal cues, so by cultivating an air of confidence and calmness you will set yourself up for a more successful interaction before you even open your mouth. Here are a few other techniques to help you approach the situation with ease.
1. View it as a conversation, not a request.
There is a quote that I love: “Politely demand what you deserve.” Avoid viewing this interaction as a situation in which you are asking for something and waiting for a yes or no answer. Instead, see this as an opportunity to recognize your own accomplishments and identify what financial compensation would sufficiently recognize your contributions. If you receive a negative response, take the opportunity to negotiate and advocate for yourself.
2. Practice with a friend.
Have a conversation with a friend in which you take on your employer’s point of view. This will help you pinpoint places in the interaction where you might face resistance. Then you can start thinking about ways that you could calmly and effectively respond, and you can hold these in your back pocket in case such a situation arises. Try having the conversation with your friend a few different times to see all the ways the conversation could go and get comfortable responding on the fly.
3. Be open to receiving.
If you are clinging very tightly to the idea of “I’m not going to get this raise” or “I have to receive this exact number,” you will likely bring that closed-off energy into the interaction. Instead, when walking into the room, tell yourself, “I am willing to be open to a solution that is more elegant than I can conceive.” Trust that nature has your back.
4. Be terrified and do it anyway.
You can think about why you deserve a raise as much as you want, but none of it matters if you don’t actually ask for it. Another way of viewing this is that you can spend all the time in the world packing a parachute, but that doesn’t matter if you never actually jump out of the plane. So acknowledge your fears, summon your courage, and then jump!
When you recognize that your beliefs about how much you deserve actually affect how much you receive, you’re better able to enter the situation with confidence and a sense of worthiness—which ultimately leads to a better result.