Why 'Asking for a Raise' Holds Us Back

career confidence career roadmap product coach Jun 25, 2024
The Brave Start Blog

The Permission Paradox

Last week, I caught up with an old friend over lunch. He's a talented product consultant who took the leap into entrepreneurship (or what I like to call - product-prenuership.) As we chatted, he shared something that really resonated with me:

As a W2 employee, he had a huge aversion to asking for a raise.


The Value Paradox

My friend consistently delivered top-notch work for his employer. He was confident in his abilities and the results he brought to the table. Yet, when it came to asking for a raise to reflect his growing value, he hit a wall.

The irony is, he knew he was worth more. He understood the market, his skill set, and the impact he had on his company's bottom line. But something about the act of seeking permission for greater financial recognition didn't sit right with him.


The Problem with Permission

The traditional employment model is built on this idea that someone else gets to decide our worth. We work hard, exceed expectations, bring in results... but then we have to ask for what we deserve.

It's a subtle form of disempowerment. It can:

  • Erode our confidence: Even the most accomplished professionals can start doubting themselves when their compensation is tied to another person's approval.
  • Breed resentment: Why should someone else have the power to dictate our income when we're the ones delivering the value?
  • Stifle our ambition: If getting a raise is a long, drawn-out negotiation, it's easy to lose motivation and stop striving for more.


The Entrepreneurial Mindset Shift

My friend's story highlights a key difference between the employee mindset and the entrepreneurial mindset:

  • Employee mindset: "I need to prove my worth to my employer in order to earn more."
  • Entrepreneurial mindset: "I create my own value, and I get to decide how much I earn."

Of course, entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. But I think we can all benefit from adopting a more entrepreneurial approach to our careers, even if we're working a W2 job.


How to Break the Permission Paradox

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Reframe your relationship with money: Instead of seeing money as something you get from an employer, start thinking of it as something you create through your skills and effort.
  2. Own your value: Don't wait for someone else to recognize your contributions. Track your achievements, quantify your results, and be prepared to advocate for yourself.
  3. Take initiative: Look for opportunities to go above and beyond your job description. The more indispensable you are, the stronger your negotiating position will be.
  4. Explore alternative income streams: Even if you're happy with your job, consider side hustles or consulting projects to gain more control over your earnings.
    • Like Gabby did! She side hustled for almost three years before going out on her own. She shares all about it in our free course, 5 Steps to Launch! Grab your spot here.


The Bottom Line

It's time to stop asking for permission and start taking ownership of our financial futures. Whether you choose the entrepreneurial path or not, remember: you are the ultimate architect of your success.


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