Did Not Die
In the recent weeks, I've been fortunate enough to speak with women negotiating more than one offer at a time and offers they deserve but perhaps were never comfortable considering. Each process has involved several steps and somewhere along the way, it became common place to say, "I did it and I did not die."
Fingers shaking, breath shallowing and eyes filled with tears-that was the physical state of my body when I announced Work Wives Global on LinkedIn and other social media outlets. The chorus showing up in my head is the one showing up in the heads of so many women reaching for what they deserve: "Who do you think you are?" and "Why is she so audacious? Can't she just accept _____?" When one full night and day had passed, I woke up realizing that I did not die.
Risk is not terminal
Advocating for oneself, changing the dynamics in an office relationship, speaking up more, having a difficult conversation, squaring back shoulders, lowering shoulders and holding heads up higher, none of these things will kill us. Think back to the last time you tried something completely outside your comfort zone. Your brain and your body may have shown a few physical symptoms of anxiety but your heart, will and soul pushed forward anyway.
You took a deep breath and articulated a salary number commiserate with your value but far above the number they suggested, you ran a marathon, completed a Century ride, moved across the world, gave a fantastic speech in front of an audience of 500, decided you want to submit a book proposal, managed up for the first time, or said 'no' to anything when you have been hard wired to be pleasing. You died after exactly zero of those things.
What is kicking around in your brain this week? What one challenge have you been considering in your personal life? What is keeping you silent even when you know you should negotiate more salary, more time off, more RSUs, or a better title to reflect your responsibilities?
It is not your job to stay small so that others can feel bigger or consider you likable.
It is your job to step solidly into your gifts, talents, goals, dreams, experience and to offer those things to your career and your life. Is there an invisible finger against your sternum? Is the chorus of "who does she think she is?" starting to sing? Are you taking deep breaths as you consider a conversation about your raise or before that third call as you negotiate your offer?
You will not die. Not from those things. None of them are terminal. They just don't have that much power. If you've made it so far in the process that a verbal offer is on the table and you push for more, you won't die. They want you. They don't want to start all over again in their search. They have decided on you. You will not die because you deserve more; but you will be so proud of yourself.
When was the last time you made you proud? When was the last time you took a step toward a bigger career, more adventurous life or scheduled a hard conversation but one you know needs to happen? Do the thing making you hold your breath or bow your collar bones and then exhale and make the mental note: "I did not die"