(3-minute read)

With the end of the year approaching, it’s natural to look back and consider how you did against the goals you set for yourself back in January.

At the same time, your organization or company is in the process of setting budgets for the coming year. So while you’re looking back, your organization is looking ahead.

Now is the perfect time to consider your professional worth and prepare to ask for more responsibility and perhaps more money.

  • Self-worth.
  • Increased responsibility.
  • More money.
  • It’s a lot to think through.

1) Start by constructing an honest self-assessment.

2) Then process the pros and cons of moving ahead.

3) Finally, make a Go/No-Go decision.

If it’s a ‘Go’, you have to pick the time, place and language to ask for what you want and believe you deserve.

Today, we’ll focus on the in between time – the time between your decision to ask for what you want and actually asking.

Once you’ve decided to ask for more, it’s natural to want a quick resolution. After all, you’ve been thinking about it for a while. Your self-worth voice has told you “This all makes a lot of sense. I’m worth it. I can do this!”

But for many of us, there’s another voice. It’s the voice of self-doubt. This voice LOVES to negotiate with your self-worth voice. Beware! This is the time when doubts are raised, confidence is undercut and momentum is lost.

Negotiating with yourself begins as a whisper that questions the mastery of skills required for a new role.

“Do I know enough?”

“What if I can’t..?”

“What if my boss doesn’t..?”

Once this voice has raised enough doubt, these questions convert into declarative statements.

“I’m not even going to ask about…”

“Why bother? I’ll never be allowed to run that project”

“I know they aren’t going to give me the promotion”

“There’s no point in asking for a raise….the company just made cutbacks”

Now, you’ve squashed your ambition, closed the door to options and self-negotiated a predictable outcome.

It’s just not the resolution you really want.

Time for a different approach.


Get comfortable with “I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know”

We negotiate with ourselves to move past feeling uncertain.

Do nothing and the outcome is certain.

But with a little work during the in-between time you can prepare for an advancement conversation in which the outcome is unknown.

It starts by writing down every “If….Then” scenario you can think of.

The “If/Then” exercise during the in-between time helps you define boundaries of your thinking and examine the likely positions of those with whom you’ll be negotiating.

The in-person discussion will minimally involve;

Your assertion
Their likely response
Your re-assertion or fallback positions

Writing it all down will go far to stress-test your rationale and prepare you for a give-and-take discussion. It will also keep your voice of self-doubt at bay.

If/Then Prompts

If I don’t get the role and raise, then what’s likely to happen?

If I do get the role then what do I need to do first?

If I get additional responsibility without a raise, then is that acceptable?

If I only get a small raise, then how much more responsibility do I want?  


Prepare for Incrementalism

We like to think of If…Then conversations in binary terms.

“Yes! Good idea. You got it!”

“No! Nice try. Get back to work.”

However, if your rationale makes sense, and you’ve delivered it well, it’s possible that you’ll get what you want, but not all at once. It’s why you need an incremental path and plan to give your employer a way to give you what you want.

Prepare answers to questions like,

If I don’t get everything I’ve asked for, what does an interim step look like?

What deliverables should I promise so that I can move from an interim role into the role I really want?

What will I need to learn or prove to move ahead faster? 

What’s a reasonable timeline?

How can I create greater value/interest in my current role? 

How can I create value/interest in an interim role? 

Negotiating with yourself to avoid a conversation with an unknown outcome keeps you stuck in a controlled and predictable place. It is a place that’s often below your capabilities.

By going through the ‘If…then” exercise and creating an incremental plan during the in between time, you codify your thinking, develop new ideas and options and prepare yourself for a successful conversation.



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