6 Months In—She Got a Promotion
How my client was the only one to get a 25% raise on Wall Street after being turned down six times.
Rachel used “3 Easy Steps to Get What You Want With Confidence and Grace” to get through a tough job interview process, and she had just been hired as a senior manager at a major investment bank. It was a big win. Unfortunately, two months later that “win” had lost some of its luster, especially when she realized she was outperforming a male colleague at the VP level. She was outshining him in every area—except for her title and her paycheck.
"Working with Annette Was Nothing Short of Life Changing."
- S. S.
I think I know what you’re gonna say: This happens every day. And according to research from the Rockefeller Foundation, although more than three quarters of Americans (82%) said it’s important for women and men to have the same opportunities for career advancement, less than a third of employees (33%) said it’s a top priority for their direct manager. In a perfect world, businesses do have a responsibility to help bridge the gender gap. But hat if o’re more powerful than you think? You can own the responsibility to take care of yourself and your own needs and wishes. In other words, a perfect world starts at home.
Here are some questions I want you to ask and answer for yourself honestl: What are you doing to promote yourself in your current work situation? Do your title and salary reflect your value to your company? Are you secretly believing that you’ll be promoted if you work hard enough? Are you willing to work at developing the resilience it takes to get up after a major setback, to make a plan, and take action?
Rachel faced her hardest critique—herself—and got real with where she was. So after she stopped kicking herself for not negotiating more successfully during the interview process, she became very passionate about the fact that she was missing out on earnings. She went back to 3 Easy Steps and gained the necessary skills and backbone to persist through six tough conversations in which she was told “no” flat out.
When she stopped an ot in the world of her audience, the “yes” she wanted wasn’t far behind. ere’s what happened. In doing her homework Rachel realized her boss was a little lazy, and that was a valuable insight. So rather than depend on him carry her arguments for a raise to the ultimate decision-maker, she decided to make it very easy for her boss to fulfill her request by putting her compelling arguments in a sales deck—all he had to do was pass it along to the department head.
And while nobody else at her company got a raise this year, Rachel managed to secure a 25% bump, and she is prepping to get VP next year.
I was up visiting clients in New York City last winter when Natalie and I were beaming at the company’s holiday party. Beaming because the owners of the small but successful design studio informed us that she and I would work together in the year ahead to fuel her leadership skills. They knew she was essential to the firm’s progress moving forward. Natalie’s responsibilities include managing the company’s staff; working with software developers and designers to get projects out; managing client relationships; and pitching and pricing new business. She was amazing juggling her many roles, but she was losing time and peace of mind working with one particularly difficult–but important–client.
As the story unfolded, I learned that this single client was sucking up a lot of her time, and she felt like she was on call 24/7. He texted her at all times of day and night, creating a sense of urgency and panic for items that were, in fact, not urgent at all. Rather than asking if she could do something he clicked into her calendar and scheduled her time. As a result of his actions, Natalie was constantly changing plans within the firm and with the firm’s other clients.
More pressure and strain was added to the situation because, although the difficult client was an existing client, Natalie’s studio was in competition for another piece work with his firm. She told me that she felt she had to respond to his every perceived “need.” In the end Natalie was physically and emotionally exhausted. It simply wasn’t a sustainable way to live or to do business.
There was no question about Natalie’s work ethic, her loyalty to her company, or about her ability to perform her job (again, the owners—two great men–brought me in as an investment in her future and the future growth of the studio).
The problem was that Natalie, like many women (and a few men), was a ‘people pleaser’, and people in a position of authority were particularly hard for her to ignore. The more she jumped through hoops, the more the situation seemed to spiral out of control. Here are the mindset shifts Natalie mastered to turn her situation around:
How One "People Pleaser" Learned to Take Her Life Back at Work
How my client stopped jumping through hoops for a difficult client and was still voted MVP at work.
1. Set healthy boundaries:
We began with a very important meeting, the one in which her studio would pitch the new business. Instead of waiting for the client to put the time on her calendar, I worked with Natalie to be proactive. She reached out to him with the exact times that worked for her team and the times that did not. Setting boundaries is critical because it shows you respect yourself and expect others to respect you, too.
2. Practice restraint
I also worked with Natalie to stop responding immediately every time the client texted her, which almost instantaneously reduced the sense of urgency and panic. The client responded by backing off, and recently responded to an email with more than two words, making an actual show of enthusiasm.
3. Take a leap of faith
When Natalie first began setting healthy boundaries and practicing restraint, she was worried. What if it blew up in her face? What allowed her to follow through with my suggestions was that she mustered up her courage to try them. It wasn’t blind faith by a long shot but it was an educated ‘leap of faith’ based of my ongoing relationship with the studio’s founders.
This International Pharma Exec Stopped Worrying About Being Fired and Doubled Her Six Figure Salary Instead
How my client learned to overcome fear and achieved beyond her wildest dreams.
NYC-based international pharmaceutical company. The idea of doubling her salary, let alone taking on greater responsibility and a bigger role, wasn’t even remotely on her radar; she just wanted to avoid being fired.
Angelina had allowed her career to run on autopilot for quite a while. She’d been working for her original company–an NGO that focused on women’s health in developing countries–for seven years and hadn’t had a raise in three. She had accepted this lack of salary advancement by rationalizing that she didn’t want to ask for more money when her company wasn’t profitable and also it was okay since she was truly passionate about her job helping women. All she really needed was to be liked and for her boss to tell her she was doing a good job; that would be reward enough.
Now, however, she had a new boss and was returning from a hotly contested four-month maternity leave her original employer hadn’t wanted to pay for. Additionally, she was a French national living in a foreign country with no extended family support for her, her unemployed partner, and their two children. Her income meant everything to her family, and she absolutely could not lose it.
But Angelina was thinking too small; keeping what she already had wasn’t enough. To truly turn her situation around, Angelina needed to learn how to dream HUGE. Before she could do that, however, we needed to work on shifting her mindset from fear and panic to confidence and strength.
We began going through her history with her company and making a list of all of her accomplishments and skills. This showed Angelina how important and vital a role she played in the organization and that she possessed invaluable institutional knowledge. She wasn’t an employee who could be easily dismissed or replaced.
Next, I had her make a comprehensive list of all of her work contacts; it turned out to be rather extensive, and this helped her realize she had lots of people to reach out to to find another job if the worst came to pass–if she was fired.
Finally, I had Angelina conduct a detailed review of her financial situation. What would happen financially if she lost her job tomorrow? Would she and her family be all right? The surprising answer was yes. Even if she were abruptly fired, they’d be able to survive until she found new work.
Now that we had banished her panic, I pushed Angelina to ask for three times her current salary, convincing her that this situation wasn’t really about just keeping her job or getting a 2% raise–it was about finally getting what she was worth. To help encourage her down that path, I had her begin working on her most important list: what she could do with all of the extra money. She was buoyed by thoughts of buying a car and a house, of traveling, of building a more secure future for her children, and of helping her extended family and friends. All she needed now were favorable circumstances that would allow her to shine.
Not long after the mindset change, an opportunity presented itself–an important meeting with a company trying to get a new drug approved in Japan. Angelina was slated to attend with her new boss, but rather than waiting for him to tell her what to do, she took the initiative and began preparing on her own, finding all of the company’s competitors, developing relationships in advance of the trip, and scheduling meetings. Then, she put together an amazing presentation and impressed the heck out of everyone–the client included.
After Angelina’s return from Tokyo, I continue to encourage her to ask for three times her salary. With her recent success still fresh in everyone’s minds, she did and then managed to confidently negotiate her pay to twice her current salary. Not only is she now financially secure, she’s taking on more responsibility and is slated to take control of the day-to-day operations of her entire company in the very near future.
“The money is great,” Angelina told me this week coming off the big win. “But it’s more about being in power. Now I’m in charge.”
Old mindset: “I was a victim—I was afraid of speaking up.”
Mindset shift: You don’t have to be liked to be successful; just make sure you provide value. You can dream huge and step up your ownership even though your future is uncertain.
Testimonial: Annette was at my side every step of the way, seemingly equally invested in my venture as I was.
I have started working with Annette about a year ago, seeking coaching that would help me to restructure my business and assist me in my business development effort. After 10 years of being a consultant I had developed a desire to start an agency in order to grow my client base and get bigger commissions. I design graphic user interfaces and data visualizations for the financial service industry, but I wanted to broaden my client base and break out a bit. Over the past years "data visualization" has become a very 'hot topic' in the design community, and my services were always in high demand. I had just received a very lucrative offer to join the staff of the biggest financial data provider to start and manage their internal data visualization department, an offer that I subsequently declined in order to pursue my own venture.
When we first started our weekly coaching sessions I was at a point where I was deeply frustrated and troubled by the challenges I encountered in moving from the 'consultant space' into an 'agency model'. Mostly I felt disempowered by my difficulties to find and close new business opportunities and I had troubles to evaluate my services.
Annette helped me to understand, verbalize and manage my fears as well as to create a vision for my venture and my life. Through a number of exercises she helped me to recognize - and ultimately change - my preoccupations (or what she calls 'conversations') about issues as diverse as 'money', 'business goals', or my 'fear of the unknown'. We worked together on my personal and professional 'manifesto', creating and setting intentions, and working towards reaching them. For a long time she had me post a simple note saying "it shall be" next to my computer. Over the course of roughly six month she built up my confidence and provided aid to define who I wanted to be and what I wanted my business to be.
Additionally, we worked on a number of business development strategies. She gave me valuable feedback on a number of leads I had and coached me in interacting and communicating with them. Above all she introduced a layer of accountability, something I desperately needed since I did not want to bring in a partner. Annette was at my side every step of the way, seemingly equally invested in my venture as I was.
Our hard work (and it was hard and emotional at times) paid off a couple of month ago. I was approached by a client who wanted to hire me as a consultant for a big project, on terms that were financial lucrative, but not in line with my vision for my business. Applying the methods and skills I had learned from Annette I was able to renegotiate the scope and structure of the engagement to fit my needs. I turned a 30,000$ consulting job into a 120,000$ commission fully in line of what I wanted. I gained the necessary control over the project and - most importantly - did not undervalue my work as I had done in the past.
The post-it note next to my computer reads "yes!" now....
Testimonial: She replaces fear with the ability to see the humanness in yourself and others.
“When I contacted Annette, I was interested in the idea of coaching, though had been seeing a therapist regularly over the past several years. I found the two practices to be completely complimentary. My therapist and I worked on the deeper issues that take a longer time to fully explore and work through. My coaching work with Annette was about specific situational challenges where her immediate assessment and feedback helped me to more actively engage in behavioral change. Therapy helps me understand how I got where I am; coaching helps me use that insight to move forward in measurable ways.
I knew Annette was the right person for me when she challenged me to take action on what I thought were the right next steps, and made me accountable to her to report back on progress. I was completely out of my comfort zone, but at the same time she created a completely safe environment for me to work within. She was so excited and curious about what I was capable of, I quit stalling and got curious too!
Her techniques and exercises helped me to more clearly identify how my communication style blocked my own forward progress. Using her “catch and correct” technique gave me concrete evidence that I was capable of change; change that not only benefitted me, but also everyone I came into contact with. I’ve even added “..and release” to the practice – I don’t always get it right, but that’s what makes it a journey, an exciting one, and full of possibility.
When you’re struggling, the last thing you want to do is let your guard down. But that’s exactly what Annette encourages you to do – watch out comfort zone! What she replaces it with is the ability to see the humanness in yourself and others. Tapping into that in a genuine way can bring in return way more than what you fear may be lost – hello LOVE!”
Christine Turner, VP UBS Bank
I have written quite a few letters of recommendation over the course of my twenty-seven years practicing law– none more enthusiastically than the one I write now on behalf of Annette Saldana and her work.
In 2013, my wife and I were separated and contemplating divorce. My wife is also my law partner, making things particularly complicated – not to mention our mutual parenting obligations to our two children. We found it extremely difficult to communicate; however, given the level of involvement in each other’s lives, communication was essential, even if only to enable us to identify areas of disagreement.
My wife and I had abandoned hope when we hired Annette. During our sessions, Annette identified and attacked the impediments that were preventing us from communicating with each other. Annette showed us techniques enabling us to understand each other’s words – something I mistakenly thought I was already doing – and to both deliver and respond to the intended message. In order to teach us those techniques and bridge our communication gap, Annette had to reach us, understand us, and convince us that there was hope – that our situation was not irremediable. She did that with a calm, confident disposition and a well deserved confidence in her own abilities and methods.
Simply stated, Annette Saldana can be counted on to get things done – and to give you and your organization the tools to get things done. She will make good things happen for you: that is just what she does.
Should you wish to discuss my recommendation of Annette and her talents, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
M. J. T.
Testimonial: In order to teach us those techniques and bridge our communication gap, Annette had to reach us, understand us, and convince us that there was hope