Why you're nervous to ask for a pay rise

career change coaching confidence pay rise promotion Jan 25, 2022
Lata with green lamp resting chin on hand, text: why you're nervous to ask for a pay rise

For any woman who has had to ask for a pay rise, you know how nerve-racking it can be. You feel you're worth more, and your performance shows an amazing track record. You're reliable, deliver great work, people love working with you, and you're keen for your salary or day rate to reflect this.


And yet you're petrified to go into the negotiation... or even to send the meeting invite or pick up the phone for a chat! And sometimes - you never get there, and you spend days, weeks, months and maybe even years, stuck on the same pay (or growing only incrementally).


You are absolutely not alone! Many women I've coached are terrified to go into pay negotiations and to ask for what they feel is fair, reasonable or simply desirable. There's many, many reasons (and everyone thinks their situation is unique) but often it boils down to a simple set of three.


Here are 3 reasons you might be scared to ask for a pay rise (and what you can do about it!):


#1 You're worried you'll be rejected

Asking for a pay rise is seen as a socially evaluative situation, just like public speaking or interviews. You're worried that if you ask, they'll say no. And you'll look like a fool, be embarrassed, or ashamed. What we're really talking about is a fear of failure - of trying, failing and then having to live with the shame of failing.


#2 You're worried you'll be seen as greedy or ungrateful

This is a big one, especially for women. Traditionally, girls are often taught from an early age to share, be fair, be considerate, compassionate, give to others first, and be a "good girl". Boys are too, but in many cultures and families there's an expectation often that girls should defer their rights and voice for the greater good, while "boys will be boys" and given more free reign. Fast forward to adulthood, and all this unconscious programming comes up when you want to go for a pay rise. You're worried you'll be seen as greedy, asking for more than others, or more than your fair share. Or that you'll be tagged as "ungrateful" for the pay you are already getting - how dare she? And this all boils down to a fear that people won't like you... which at its deepest level is that people won't love you. As humans are social creatures, we crave love to survive, so something that threatens that stops us from even trying.


#3 You're worried you're not good enough

You're worried your track record isn't enough. The glowing feedback isn't enough. The commitment and focus you provide isn't enough. The great relationships you've built aren't enough. That you, simply, aren't enough. And while this links to the fear of rejection and failure, it's slightly different because you're afraid the process will show you up to be not enough. Keeping your head down, working hard, and taking what's given to you without question often means you aren't exposed to negative feedback or truth. This is less about shame, and more about self-worth and confidence. In some cases, there's even an underlying fear of success - that if you get the pay rise, you'll have to work harder or prove you're worth the money. And you're already exhausted, so what's the point in trying? Success, ironically, can be as cruel a mistress as failure, and both can stop you feeling confident to ask for what you're worth.


So what can you do about it?

Work on your confidence blocks so you can ask for the pay rise and feel good about doing it. 

Asking for a pay rise can be one of the most liberating things you can do. The process itself helps you understand what you truly want. Getting a "no" opens you up to new possibilities (a.k.a. do you want to stay somewhere that you're undervalued?). And getting a "yes" gets you more coin in your bank account. It is literally a win-win.


I provide ideas for identifying and releasing your confidence blocks in my free "Underpaid & Overlooked Coaching Action Guide", which also includes a script to ask for a pay rise.


Download your Underpaid & Overlooked Guide here


And I'd love to know - which of these 3 reasons resonates the most with you? Send me a LinkedIn direct message and let me know.


Love and light,

Lata xx

Free Coaching Action Guide :  Underpaid & Overlooked

If you're thinking about a pay rise, promotion or full career change, download my free "Underpaid & Overlooked Coaching Action Guide" now to change with confidence and earn your worth.

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