Have you ever made progress toward reaching your $ goal, only to feel like a failure if you didn’t achieve perfection? If so, you are not alone!

This is something I see with DevelopHers all the time, and a recent example prompted me to write this article.

Meet Casey, a software engineer who is a member of the DevelopHer community. Suspecting she was underpaid at her current job, Casey joined DevelopHer to learn how to ask for a raise and finally earn what she’s worth.

After learning how to ask for a raise through the NegotiatHer framework, Casey discovered that the first step in a successful salary negotiation is to ground herself in data and determine her market value.

Upon doing her research, Casey learned that her approximate market value was $100-$120K per year. And, she was currently earning only $70,000, far below what her skills were worth and her market value.

Casey realized she was, in fact, underpaid, and that it was time to interview with companies who were willing to pay her fair market value for her in-demand tech skills.

In a picture-perfect world, Casey would have immediately stood in her full market value, knowing that she’s worth every penny she was asking for, and command what’s she worth, $120K.

But, in reality, that number absolutely TERRIFIED Casey. Her whole body shook when she even said her bottom number of $100K out loud. Asking for $120K was simply out of the question. Have you ever felt terrified by your own money goal? It’s completely normal!

Fortunately, Casey didn’t have to face her fears alone. With the ongoing support of her DevelopHer community, Casey worked up the courage to ask for $100K…and she got it! She was ecstatic!

Then a couple of days later, she called me to say, “Lauren, I feel like I should be excited about this 42% salary increase, but I feel guilty because I feel like I should have asked for more.”

Even though her efforts to ask for a raise and help close the gender pay gap were met with great success, because she wasn’t paid a premium right away, a part of her felt like a failure. We women in tech are oftentimes our own worst critics, right?!

Casey was significantly underpaid in her previous job and asking for $100K scared her to death. Asking for $120K would have meant her nearly doubling her salary, and there was no foreseeable way that she would have had the confidence to do that yet.

I reminded Casey that a $30K salary increase is a HUGE accomplishment and something to be very proud of! Then I explained to her that closing the gender wage gap is a process, not a one-stop destination.

She went out on a limb and asked for the bottom amount, and she got it. Only after she earned that raise, her confidence spiked and she was then emboldened to want to ask for more.

“Do one small brave thing, and the next one will be easier, and soon confidence will flow,” says Katty Kay, author of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know

With her ever-growing confidence, Casey will ask for a premium range the next time she’s in a salary negotiation.

The point is, it’s great when you can get a gigantic leap in pay, but oftentimes it’s a process. You don’t go from being underpaid to being paid a premium all at once. Oftentimes, fear holds us back and that’s ok.

I know this from first-hand experience: I tripled my salary in 2 years, but I didn’t do it in one negotiation. It took multiple steps and several years for me to do that.

Each time it absolutely terrified me to ask for a certain number, and then after I’d get the number I feared asking for, I’d regret not asking for more. Then all of the sudden, those market value numbers became normal, and it emboldened me to ask for more. Now I can confidently look someone in the eye and know that I’m worth how much $ I’m asking for.

Every time I celebrated when I got a big jump in salary, I also knew that I had further to go. You can get great results in a salary negotiation and still feel like you left something on the table.

Forward progress is the goal. Real NegotiatHers know this and they’re constantly working on themselves. That’s exactly why I founded the DevelopHer community—so women can take small steps every single month to move themselves forward. Those small steps compound over time to create big results.

Ladies, celebrate every win on your journey to earn what you’re worth for your in-demand tech skills. You CAN achieve pay equity.

Do you want to be the next woman in tech who creates life-changing results for herself by learning how to ask for a raise? Register here to watch my free webinar and discover exactly how you too can earn what you’re worth!

Tired of being underpaid for you in-demand tech skills? Register for our live and FREE online course to learn how to make more $ in your tech career and earn the salary you deserve.

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