I have a notebook. Every Sunday I take that notebook and write down one thing I accomplished the previous week that I was proud of. Then every New Year’s Eve, I sit down with that notebook and read through the 52 things I accomplished that year that made me proud. These things can be super small, like taking the Red Line by myself for the first time (in my defense, it was when I had just moved to the city) or it could be something big like starting to write for A Sweat Life!
After reviewing my 52 accomplishments, I then summarize my year with one overarching theme. I have been doing this since 2015 and it is honestly one of my favorite rituals I do for myself.
This past year in 2018, my theme was this, “Know your worth. Know your value. Demand it. No matter if it’s personal or professional, don’t settle for anything less. You deserve the best.” Dang. Pretty deep, right, but how exactly do you come to know your value and demand your worth?
Knowing Your Value – Professionally
In my opinion, knowing your worth is easier said than done, and it took me a long time to know my own value. Heck, I am 31 years old and I am still figuring out my value some days. The problem with coming to know your own value is that no one can do it for you. Only you know it, but how do you discover it?
Here’s an example: I work as a full-time Wellness Writer, and it is up to me to set my own pricing. Only I know how efficiently I work and how long projects will take me to complete, which means when it comes to setting my prices, only I know the value I bring to the table and it is up to me to set a pricing that will accurately reflect that.
You may not be your own boss, but you do know the skill set you bring to the office each and every day. You know the time you have contributed to your education, courses and training, which means you know the value you contribute within the workplace. You are the only one who knows your true value, so if you want others to respect that value, you have to ask for it. If you don’t ever ask for your value or what you’re worth, how will you ever get it? You simply won’t, so you have to go for it.
I once had an experience working with a company who offered me x dollars for a project, and although the opportunity was huge for my professionally, I knew the time it would take to complete said project would cost more than the compensation they were offering. I did not want to miss out on an amazing opportunity for my career, but I also knew if I didn’t speak up for myself and my value, I wouldn’t feel right because I wouldn’t be honoring myself, my time and my abilities.
After having a good think, I re-evaluated the project, the time it would take to complete, the cost of my time and came back with a higher counter-offer. I was absolutely terrified I would lose this business opportunity, but knew deep down inside my gut this was the right thing to do.
You know what happened? Not only did the company offer me the project at the price I countered with, but they specifically gave me a shoutout for countering. They said most people (especially women) do not come back with a counter-offer, but because I did, they honored my price. Umm, how cool is that!?
Asking for What You’re Worth – Personally
When it comes to knowing your value and asking for what you are worth, the same rules apply personally as they do professionally.You know your value when it comes to a professional setting, but knowing your value in a personal setting is just as important—and setting and maintaining boundaries for what you’re worth in a personal relationship is arguably harder than doing so in a professional setting, because of the emotions and energy involved.
Here’s what I mean by that: we all have friends whom we enjoy seeing. After spending time with them, we usually leave feeling good, like our cup (or our energy bank) has been filled. However, there are also friends and friendships who sometimes leave us depleted. Instead of feeling like our cup has been filled, our cup feels emptier, sometimes even drained entirely. To demand what you’re worth in that personal relationship, maybe we limit our time with these friends, or even eventually get to a point where we realize those relationships are no longer worth our time at all and we say see ya.
I for one struggle with asking for my value when it comes to romantic relationships. I would rather settle for breadcrumbs than have nothing at all. After a recent father-daughter heart-to-heart, my dad pointed out how I know my worth when it comes to business, but not when it comes to relationships (brutal, but brilliant). He recommended I start thinking of my romantic relationships like I do business relationships. Hey, whatever works, right?
You Deserve the Best
Knowing your value and asking for what you’re worth isn’t selfish; in fact it’s quite the opposite. Knowing your value and asking for what you are worth, whether professionally or personally is by far one of the greatest acts of self love you can give yourself.
No one can tell you your value or your worth; that is up to you to discover for yourself. Whether you are asking for a raise at work or figuring out whether a friend or potential romantic partner is valuing you the way you know you deserve to be valued, remember this: “Know your worth. Know your value. Demand it. No matter if it’s personal or professional, don’t settle for anything less. You deserve the best.”