March 2008


I’ve learned a lot from interviewing high earners. But perhaps the most significant lesson was this:

Even though these women were not driven by money, they demanded to be well compensated because-and here’s the Big Lesson- they felt they were worth it.

The problem: women, in general, devalue themselves. These women, however, taught me specific ways to strengthen self esteem. Here are 5 tips for pumping up your self-worth along with your net worth.

  1. Think Big, Then Think Even Bigger5 Tips for Getting Paid What You Really Deserve – What most of us do is unwittingly limit our earnings by lowering our expectations. Especially women. The idea is to think in terms of what you are worth, not just what you assume the market will bear.
  2. Do Your Homework – One of the worst negotiating mistakes women make is picking a number out of the air that’s way too low. The smarter ones find out their market value by researching the going rates, then ask for more than is offered so they’ll have room to maneuver.
  3. Take the Initiative – Have tangible evidence of what you bring to the table. Maybe you saved your company x amount of dollars or had an idea that generated so many sales. Every time you accept more responsibility, successfully complete a challenge or create positive changes, document it. Keeping records is an effective means of demonstrating your value to an organization.
  4. Daily Affirmations -Act As If – Affirmations are positive statements expressed as if they’ve already happened. For example: “I have the confidence to ask for what I want.” “I deserve more money in my life.” Write them down. Post them in full view. Say them out loud as often as possible. When you act as if you’re worth a lot, you’ll eventually convince yourself as well as others.
  5. Challenge yourself in other areas – A stretch in any area of life has a ripple effect in other areas as well. If you can’t quite get yourself to volunteer for that tough assignment or ask for a raise, try signing up for an art class or running a marathon. Anything that puts you out of your comfort zone builds confidence and self-worth.

By practicing these tips, you’ll begin to notice a shift in how you feel about yourself. Making more money becomes not something you should do, but something you have to do-because you know in your heart you’re worth it.

If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

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I just got an enthusiastic email from a client: “I feel as if I have discovered from you a magic secret of life that nobody else on the planet knows about.”

OK, she may be exaggerating…a bit. But in truth, what she learned IS one of the most powerful, and best kept secret among Successful High Earners (SHEs). It’s also the biggest show-stopper for underearners.

The secret– so utterly simple, yet so profoundly difficult—goes like this: “When you commit to a goal, you don’t have to know how you’ll achieve it. You just need to do what comes next.”

I learned this from my interviews with SHEs. To paraphrase a famous quote, they’d set a goal, jump off the cliff, and build wings on the way down. Conversely, Underearners think they must have a full-blown plan all figured out before they’ll even allow themselves to consider taking a leap.

Here’s a typical conversation (from an actual email):The Secret of SHE

Woman: “When you say we ‘don’t have to figure it all out,’ does that mean I don’t have to figure out exactly how I am going to make the money I want to make?”

Me: “Yep. “

Woman: “Hmmm, that goes against my business school training that taught you have to make a business plan, a marketing plan to achieve your revenue goals.”

She’s right. The secret runs counter to society’s teachings. But the most successful high earners taught me otherwise.

The lesson I learned from them: The HOW is NOT important. I repeat, the HOW is NOT important. What matters most is your degree of commitment.

Here’s how the secret works. Commitments are like magnets. They draw opportunities to you, often disguised as coincidences. You turn on the news, step on the bus, bump into a friend, hear the phone ring, and from absolutely nowhere, someone or something shows up that’s just what you need.

(Warning: If synchronicities aren’t forthcoming, revisit you commitment. There’s a direct correlation between fierceness of commitment and frequency of coincidences.)

That’s how the secret works. Once you commit to a goal and get out of your own way, it’s mind boggling what can happen. Try it, and tell me your results.