New Year, Intentional You

Are you ready to enter into the New Year with purpose and determination? Maybe you have multiple goals or one specific change in mind. Whether you want to ask for a raise in 2017 or you’d like to spend more time with your family, now is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and contemplate the New Year ahead.

Below I share my favorite way to enter into the New Year with an open mind, a full heart, and lots of determination. This process is my success formula to reach personal goals and change habits, but feel free to customize it for your needs. 

Use this time to get clear - what is most important to you right now? Who do you want to be in the New Year? Forget about New Year’s resolutions, let’s set intentions! 

To get started, find a quiet place to take a notebook and pen and set aside 20 minutes for yourself.  At the end of the five steps below, you will have created a list of actionable goals with specific steps to achieve each one. I promise you will be impressed with your results. 

1.      Reflect on the past twelve months. What accomplishment are you most proud of? Write down the first one (or several) that come to mind and then pause and take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Way to go! 

2.      Write a list of five to ten adjectives that describe who you want to be in 2017. The list should clearly articulate how you want to show up for all situations in the New Year. How do you want to be seen at work, with family, and friends? Is it confident, loving, and open? Or maybe brave, driven and humble? This is the most important step to creating a successful and fulfilling New Year – be honest!

3.      List three to five concrete goals for 2017. What is it that you want to achieve over the next twelve months? What will leave you feeling proud and accomplished at this time next year? Do these goals align with who you intend to be?

4.      Under each goal, write out the first one to three actions, or steps, that you will take to get started on the journey to completion. What can you do in the next two to four weeks to tackle each goal? I encourage you to create a deadline for each action item.

5.      Here is the secret to your success: share your list of goals and action items with your spouse, a friend, or co-worker and post it on the front door! Choose someone willing to hold you accountable to your commitments. Choose wisely - you should feel comfortable sharing your wins and challenges with this person and ask that your advocate commit to monthly check-ins to measure your progress.

Once you’ve completed the five steps above, review each goal and set the intention “I am committed.” The beauty of this exercise is that you are setting yourself up for success. If you approach each goal with confidence, love, and openness (insert your adjectives from step number two here) then no matter the outcome, you can be proud. Give yourself permission to try, to succeed, and to find lessons in your mistakes. The best we can do for ourselves each day is to honor where we are and who we are in each moment. Now go out there and step into the New Year with confidence and the capability to make it your best year yet!

Need an advocate to hold you accountable to your goals? I'd love to hear from you! Connect with me here.

Mum's the Word on Pay in Mass

High five Massachusetts! I’m proud to say that I live in the first state to pass legislation that prohibits employers from requesting salary history during the interview process! With the passage of the Massachusetts Pay Equity Act, the state has taken a huge step towards gender pay equality in the workplace. Employees, particularly women and minorities, face enormous challenges when negotiating for raises, promotions and job offers. As employer’s move towards pay transparency, employees will be paid for their true value regardless of pay history. Our economy, our families, and our women will benefit.

Employees:  If you’re currently in the job market and interviewing for a new role, don’t share!  Although the legislation doesn’t take effect until 2018, let’s encourage our employers to start adopting changes early.   Here are three things you can say to deflect the dreaded “please share your salary history” request from a recruiter or hiring manager:

1.     Based on recent legislation passed in Massachusetts, I’m not comfortable sharing my salary history with the organization. I’d prefer to interview for the open position to see if there is mutual interest, and negotiate salary at the offer stage

2.     I’m happy to share my salary expectations for the role once I know more about the position; however it would be helpful to understand the approved salary range based on your budget. Can you share this with me?

3.     I’m not comfortable sharing my salary history. I’m looking to be paid fairly and competitively for the role for which I’m applying, based on market data and my expertise.  I’m really looking forward to learning more about the role and your company to determine if this is the right fit for my career.

Share your salary with your peers, not your employers.

CEO's: Set strategic objectives and clear goals with your leadership team for 2017. Redefine your organization’s pay practice and prioritize pay equity. Implement changes to your recruitment and hiring strategies using benchmark data and update your job applications by removing salary history fields. Offer training to managers and recruiters on salary discussions and offer negotiations. Most importantly, work with HR to conduct an audit to understand if your organization has pay gaps that can be self-corrected and set goals for interventions. 

If you’re looking for an employee retention strategy – this is it! Communicate to your current and future workforce that you are committed to paying fairly and equitably. Add your company to the growing list of firms that are proud to be taking action towards equal pay for equal work in Massachusetts. 

As Lt. Governor Karyn Polito says, “This legislation is an important step toward advancing more equal, inclusive and thriving workplaces throughout the Commonwealth for women and families.” The health and growth of any company depends on its commitment to equal pay. Whatever state you are in, do your part to help close the gender wage gap. Follow in the footsteps of Massachusetts! Pay equity is good business - for everyone.  reShare Mum's the Word in Mass on Pay

Five Ways to Nix Fear and Negotiate your Next Raise

I often ask people what holds them back from asking for a raise, and the response I receive over and over again is:  fear.  So what is it about fear that makes us pump the breaks?  When it comes to negotiating for a raise, fear can paralyze us from taking the appropriate action to successfully ask for what we want because we are afraid of the perceived negative consequences

We worry our bosses won’t agree with our reasons for asking.  We fear we are not worth more. We fear retaliation.  We worry the answer will be “no.”  And maybe we even fear our colleagues will no longer like us.  How terrifying!

There are many fears associated with asking for a fair and competitive salary, and negotiating can be intimidating, but the positive results of successfully negotiating a salary increase far outweigh the potential downside.  More money in your pocket tips the scales in your favor, and you are worth it.

Check out the five steps that will set you on the path to conquering your fear of negotiation and landing your bigger paycheck.

1.      Do your homework

Preparation reduces anxiety and is a key ingredient to any successful endeavor.  Hop online to research what the market is paying for your role and experience.  A quick search of your current job title in your city will give you a basic understanding of what companies are paying in your area.  Define your target salary range using the market data from sources like (employer reported) and (employee reported). 

Your target salary range is defined based on what you earn today, what the market is paying, and your desired total compensation package. It’s essential to understand the current market rates in order to determine your worth.  Once you are armed with the facts, your boss can’t argue numbers.  

2.      Ask for a meeting

Create a deadline for yourself by getting a date on the calendar with your manager.  A hard deadline will help to transition your focus from fear to preparation.  Getting a date on the calendar catapults you into action mode and moves you away from the paralysis of fear.

Ask your manager for a 30 minute meeting to discuss your career development.  By definition, to negotiate is to try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion with others.  Use this framework to view your meeting as a discussion rather than a conflict or fight. 

Remember; avoid asking for a meeting during busy season, end of year, quarter close, or any other high stress time.  Be flexible and willing to adjust your time table to meet the needs of the business to give yourself the highest possibility of success.

3.      Practice, practice, practice

Your boss has the ability to approve your salary increase, and you have what your boss needs:  your unique skills, experience, a killer personality, and demonstrated high performance.

Prepare a pitch that clearly articulates your recent accomplishments, your unique and valuable skills, your dedication to the company, and your understanding of the marketplace.   You should aim to keep your pitch less than five minutes. 

Once you are comfortable with your reasoning, practice your pitch out loud. Don’t let the first time you say the words “I’d like a raise” be in front of your boss. 

Practice it in the shower, in the mirror, use your phone and record yourself, but most importantly, practice it with a friend or your partner.  Role-play and ask your “boss” to respond to your pitch with three of the most likely answers:  yes, no, and maybe later.  Prepare your response to all three of the potential answers and deliver your pitch exactly as you practice it when the big day arrives.  

4.      Breathe

Take a moment to yourself before heading into the meeting and inhale and exhale 3 slow breaths to stabilize your heart rate.  Recite a positive affirmation to calm your nerves:  “I can do this” and “I am worth it” are powerful examples of affirmations.  Choose any phrase that energizes you and makes you feel strong.  Bring awareness to your body to allow yourself to regain the confidence needed to deliver on everything you’ve prepared for. You’ve got this! 

5.      Follow up

With all of your preparation, it’s very likely you nailed it and will be reaping the benefits soon.  However, if you don’t receive an initial “yes,” don’t accept “no” as a final answer.  In most cases, your manager will need time to process your request, talk to HR, and get approvals.  Acknowledge that you don’t expect an immediate answer and instead offer to schedule a follow-up meeting. 

Ask your manager when it would be appropriate to meet again to discuss your proposal - in 2 weeks or 2 months?  Schedule a second meeting during your first meeting, or immediately afterwards, to ensure you can raise the topic again.  Demonstrate persistence and understand you are setting the stage to continue the discussion about your career development.  

So, go ahead.  Allow yourself the opportunity to start earning more today.  Reduce your fears by preparing to ask for your next raise using the five steps outlined here.  As Wayne Gretzky so appropriately said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”