Monday, January 10, 2011

Ask for What You're Worth

When I travel to do consulting or speaking engagements, the clients generally cover travel expenses. I am often given the option to choose my flight preferences.  For those of you that travel frequently, you know that connecting flights can be a nightmare.  If your first flight is delayed, then it may make you miss your second flight. Another headache is when you end up in airports and on planes all day because your layover in between flights is so long. Either way, it makes for a stressful and draining day of travel, which often takes away from the energy needed for the performance that you plan to give when you speak, teach or train. So needless to say, my preference is for straight flights.

As I was looking through the flights I realized that most of them had connections.  I also noticed that the ones with the layovers were considerably more affordable than the ones that were straight flights on the airline that I usually travel on so that I can accumulate frequent flier miles. 

This time I tried something a little different. Instead of feeling bad for choosing a more expensive flight, or trying to save the company money by selecting the cheapest flight, or even sending my top three choices…I simply sent my first choice and left it at that.

As I waited for the response I began searching for my second and third choice because I felt that surely they wouldn’t honor my first request.  It was too expensive. I got prepared to accept my fate of having to take a cheaper flight even though all of the departure and arrival times were either ridiculously late or painfully early. 

In the midst of my melancholy search I received a response.  It was the confirmation for my first choice flight! It was a straight flight on my airline of choice. The client booked it without a question or a concern.  They saw the value in my services thus matching the quality that they know I will deliver with the accommodations that they arranged for me.  It made me realize that ‘affordable’ and ‘expensive’ are all about perspective.  If we want something different for ourselves, we must think differently about ourselves.  If I thought of myself as priceless, then I wouldn’t have thought of that flight as being too expensive.

The lesson in all of this is two-fold.  The first is that you must know your worth.  If you expect and accept less, then that’s exactly what you will get…less than what you are worth.  Look at it like this…if someone said, “I want give you some money.”  And your response was, “You can give me $5 or $500 or $5000.”  Which one do you think they would choose?  Most people would probably go with the $5 since you gave them that option.  Don’t low ball yourself. Start high because you are worth it. If negotiations are necessary, then so be it, but don’t settle for less than what you are worth.  When you ask for less it may cause those who you are communicating with to believe that you are not qualified or confident when it comes to your ability to execute the task.

The second lesson is that you must ask for exactly what you want.  You’d be surprised at how often you actually get it.  We have not because we ask not. A more common occurrence is that we have not, because we ask for less than what we truly want or are worth.

This week I challenge you to ask for what you want.  The worst thing that can happen is that someone can tell you “no”...they can’t kill you.  If you don’t know your worth, then perhaps you should take out some time to learn about it.  Once you know your worth, adjust accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for not settling for the cheapest flight options and for recognizing your value.