Have you ever sat in front of your computer, trying to gather the courage to send the email detailing your fees (or salary requirements)? Why is that? Why do we hem and haw, fearing the worst— 

  • That they won’t pick you because your fee (salary requirements) is too high. Or
  • That they’ll laugh in your face for asking for too much, or
  • That you’ll look stupid for asking for too little.

 “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” –Eleanor Roosevelt 

Second-Guessing Yourself 

It has been nearly twenty years since I started this career. I’ve worked with some great companies and leaders. My results speak for themselves. And yet, I still second guess myself for those same reasons I just listed. 

Why? Why is it so hard to put a dollar amount to the work we do? 

Here are a few of simple reasons— 

  1. We don’t know the market value of our product or service, which can be challenging to figure out.
  2. We have confused our value as a human being with the value we bring through our skillsets.
  3. We have a limited mindset, and fear there’s not enough opportunities to go around.

Fear Of Not Having, Being, Or Becoming Enough 

That third one became glaringly obvious to me a couple of days ago when, Yvette, my wife, said— 

“Misti, we can afford to buy you new shirts. You don’t need to get hand-me-downs from neighbors.” 

I was bragging about the shirt I was wearing… the one my neighbor gave me, after I asked if she had any colorful shirts she didn’t wear. 

Embarrassed, I responded with— 

“I like hand-me-downs. It makes me think of the person who gave it to me. Besides, I don’t like to go the store.”

Why You Don’t Ask For What You Really Want And Need 

Growing up as the youngest of four with a very tight budget, nearly all my clothes came from my siblings, neighbors, or yard sales. If I needed new clothes or shoes, I asked for hand-me-downs. If I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t get. Now, I don’t need to ask. I can go to the store and buy what I want. 

But I rarely do. Why is that? 

Well, partly it’s because I like recycling and sharing clothes. And partly because of an old habit of my mind that gets activated when fear grabs ahold of my brain and desperation tells me that there’s not enough to go around. It’s the same feeling I get when I send the email with my speaking fee. 

What if this is the last speaking opportunity that comes my way? What if I need this opportunity to get more opportunities? What if no one else picks me? 

When Desperation Talks, Listen; Don’t Act 

Desperation combined with fear of missing out and not being good enough, slam together and leave me questioning my value as a person, which is separate from the value of my skillset. 

It’s an old habit of my brain that’s based on lack, not enough, and scarcity. Within the confines of a belief system that says there’s not enough, it’s easy to find ourselves scooping the bottom of the barrel, taking the dredges, and even fearful of asking for the full value of our skillsets. 

When fear of not enough grabs our attention, and desperation tells us to hurry up or else we might miss out, we forget who we are, what we have to offer, why we (and our skillsets) are worth investing in, and that we live in an abundant world. 

What Fear Is Telling You 

Giving up on fear and stepping out on faith in a world that tells us to hurry, hurry, hurry or you might miss out, we sell ourselves, and our goals, short. 

I remembered a story about a mother who, watching her son try to chase down a bus that he had just missed, lovely say, “You don’t need to run after the bus—there will always be another one.” 

This is not to say that we never need to hustle, but rather that we never need to hustle for our worth. What’s meant for us will come to us, and it’s okay to enjoy the quiet time in between opportunities. What’s not meant for us deserves to be set free; thus, what’s truly meant for us gets the attention it deserves. 

Awareness Gives Us Capacity To Trust 

The challenge, it seems, is to trust… 

… in a plan that’s greater than us,

… in what we cannot yet see,

… in our skills, and

… in life itself. 

The alternative to trusting, it seems, is exhaustion and resentments from trying so hard and not winding up where we thought we should be. 

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” –Michel de Montaigne 

Instead, what if we considered speaking and acting from a space of grounded confidence in the skills (and magnificent personality) we bring to each opportunity? Confidence in our craft, in ourselves, is sometimes worth even more than the product or service we sell. 

Here’s to your greatness,  

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister equips leaders and teams with skills and resources to empower and engage across generations. For nearly 20 years, she has facilitated communication that results in trust, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Make sure your communication is coming across the way you intend, visit https://www.MistiBurmeister.com