I recently read through the new national report on women called Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being. Among all the amazing facts about women’s progress was one piece of data that hasn’t changed much: the unfortunate fact that women still earn 20% less than men. I get totally angry thinking of my hard-working female contemporaries under-earning. My immediate reaction is to blame men, society and government for putting us women in this situation. But the self-help junkie in me knows better. Rather than blame others for my discomfort, I chose to turn inward. I asked myself, “Why do these statistics make me so angry?” And after coming down, I realized why: my inner voice (aka ~ing) responded, “You’re angry because you too are under-earning.” Wow! My ~ing was right on the money. It’s not that others are undervaluing me; it’s that I am undervaluing myself. My anger was the result of not knowing my own worth.
This revelation caught me off guard. For nearly a decade I’d perceived myself as a kick-ass businesswoman. I’ve been an entrepreneur since the age of 21, I’ve started several businesses, closed tons of deals, managed my books, paid my taxes—you name it. With this kind of track record, what gives? Why am I still undervaluing my worth?
I turned to the expert—Amanda Steinberg, my dear friend and the founder of DailyWorth.com, a personal finance email for women.
Women still make 20% less than men because we don’t understand our real market value,” Amanda told me. “We often approach jobs and contracts with fear and insecurity, hoping ‘they’ll want us,’ and not thinking about the established market value of what we bring to the table.
She continued, “It’s more common for a female job candidate to ask what the job pays, rather than walking in the door clear about her own bottom line.”
Recognizing this is the first step to realizing earning parity. The next move is to take action toward significant change. My personal energetic change around money could benefit not only myself, but all women. By shifting my own thoughts and energy around earning, I could become a power of example for women throughout the world. So, I committed to taking the necessary steps towards earning more and loving it.
The first step toward know~ing my worth was the willingness to feel uncomfortable. Most change can cause growing pains. In order to move through them you must be willing to feel whatever comes up. In my case, thinking about negotiating, raising my rates, or spending less made me feel nauseous. I found that as I entered into these conversations, I’d defend my old patterns in an effort to stay safe. But playing small was no longer an option. I braved through the discomfort and committed to change by welcoming everything that came along with it—the good, the bad and the ugly. I shifted my inner dialogue from, “That doesn’t feel good. Run!” to “Bring it on!”