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Personal Account: Gabrielle's Reflection on Worth Comments

  • By Gabrielle Bernstein
  • April 09, 2010

gabby_headshotGabrielle Bernstein is a motivational speaker and author of "Add More ~ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness."

Blame less
A topic at the forefront of my mind is the unfortunate fact that women still earn 20% less than men.

I am so pissed off, thinking of my hardworking female contemporaries under-earning. My immediate reaction has been to blame men, society and government for putting us women in this situation.

But the self-help junkie in me knows better.

A money moment
Rather than blame others for my discomfort, I chose to turn inward. I asked myself, "Why do these statistics make me so angry?"

After I calmed down, my inner voice (aka ~ing) responded, "You're angry because you too are under-earning."

Wow! My ~ing was right on the money. It's not that others are undervaluing me, it's that I am undervaluing myself.

True value
This revelation caught me off guard. For nearly a decade I've perceived myself as a kick-ass businesswoman. I've started several businesses, closed deals, managed my books, paid my taxes—you name it.

Yet, despite what I'd always considered an amazing track record—I knew deep down that I didn't always earn what I could, or charge what I was worth.

But why?

In order to help me understand this issue, I turned to the expert—my dear friend and founder of DailyWorth, Amanda Steinberg.

"Women often approach jobs and contracts with fear and insecurity, hoping 'they'll want us,' and not thinking about the established market value of what we bring to the table," Amanda told me.

"It's more common for a female job candidate to ask what the job pays, rather than walking in the door, clear about her own bottom line."

As I've learned, when your inner sense of worth grows, your earnings jump. Here are steps I've been taking:

  1. No pain, no gain. Most change can cause growing pains. In order to move through them you must be willing to accept discomfort. For me, even the topic of negotiating, raising my rates or spending less made me feel nauseous. I found that as I entered into these conversations, I would defend my old patterns in an effort to stay safe. But I braved the discomfort and committed to change by welcoming everything that came along with it. I shifted my inner dialogue from, "That doesn't feel good. Run!" to "Bring it on!"

  2. Practice, practice, practice. Regardless of how uncomfortable I felt, I practiced negotiating every chance I'd get. I knew it was the only way to change long-held patterns. I negotiated everything from retail purchases to sponsorship deals. Each time I practiced this new behavior I felt more worthy. Ironically, I enjoyed my practice period. This step helped me to transform my fear around negotiating as I settled into a new perception of my worth.

  3. Stop apologizing. I noticed something funky during my practice period. Each time I asked for what I wanted, I felt as though I needed to apologize—often by over-justifying my requests. Although I'd acquired the chutzpah to ask, each time I'd over-talk my negotiations and sabotage the deal.

  4. Close the deal with confidence. When you believe you're worthy, others believe you're worthy. To get into that space, I'd sit in a ten-minute meditation and imagine myself signing the contract on a massive sponsorship deal. Then, I'd see myself cashing the check. Most importantly, I'd hold the vision long enough to feel worthy.

    My boyfriend, who happens to be a killer negotiator, gave me a great tip: "When you're finished asking for what you want, shut up." Man, is that right! In order to truly own your worth and close a deal, you must learn to be silent. There's no need for further explanation when you know your worth.

I continue to practice these tools daily and have experienced miraculous results. I'll negotiate with anyone, visualize and ask for more any chance I get. All for the sake of truly know~ing my worth.

Gabrielle Bernstein is a motivational speaker and author of "Add More ~ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness."

Have you ever realized that your self worth wasn't as strong as you thought? Share your insights here.

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