May 15, 2009

Asking for it.

I've just finished reading Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotation to Get What They Really Want by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. This book provides great insight into why women often have a difficult time negotiating for anything (not just a promotion or a salary increase, but a variety of things that would make our day-to-day lives happier).

Most significant for me, the book explores how to get what you want while maintaining a positive relationship with the other party. It made me aware of how much I fear offending or alienating others by asserting myself. I recently got feedback from a supervisor that one of my weaknesses is a failure to sufficiently advocate for my professional needs. So for me, it's a revolutionary concept, this idea of negotiating as a way to mutually improve the experience of both parties involved.

All of this leads me to wonder: How much of my fear of self-advocacy is due to my upbringing? How much is tied into societal views of me as a woman? And how much is based on personal experience? In the past five years I have experienced numerous successes on many fronts... and yet my belief system seems to be based instead on all the cumulative experience of perceived failure that preceded those five years.

I think of that moment in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (which I re-watched recently) when Harry protests that he can't really claim his successes as his own, because it was usually luck and outside help that got him through. Likewise, I feel like a fraud when I talk about my skills and what I've done well.

It seems that even when I acknowledge my successes, I feel guilty--as if, maybe, there isn't enough to go around, and I'm stealing success from someone who deserves it more. When will I begin believing that I deserve to succeed?

1 comment:

  1. I can really relate to this. Despite what others think, and proof that they value my work, I always feel like a fraud, as if I'm going to be found out one day. Really well said!