Last week I had a tough business decision to make.
A business partner told me that I wasn’t ‘worth the money’ he was paying me for my role in the business. Not only did this come as a shock, but it was also hurtful to hear.
But most importantly, it was a wake-up call.
I knew it was a dealbreaker for me to stay in business together.
I knew that I was bringing a lot more value to the business than he was seeing and that no matter how much we negotiated, he would never value me properly.
So, I made the tough choice and walked away. It meant giving up on almost a year’s worth of work, and a lot of income. However, I knew that it was a better deal for me over the long term.
Right now, I am facing a situation where I need to reinvent and rebuild again. And although it’s frustrating, it’s also invigorating.
It has reminded me that there are times in life when we need to know our value and show the world that we believe in ourselves.
Value Starts with You
Knowing your value in life is a bit of a tightrope walk. You have to work with other people, and you have to help them. But you have to make sure you are getting what you want and what you believe you deserve.
I realize that ‘value’ is a subjective idea, and no person is really any more ‘valuable’ than another. Yet, you will notice that in life, people get wildly varied rewards. And a lot of that has to do with whether they value themselves highly or not.
What I have learned in my years in business, speaking, and in relationships is that people take you at your estimation of yourself. If you are willing to take less, you will get less. If you believe you are worth more, and you keep asking for it, you will get it.
Here are three lessons I have learned that have helped me better know my value, and when to take actions in life that keep me congruent with it.
Listen to Yourself
Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you feel like someone is undervaluing you or treating you poorly, you must listen to yourself. Your internal value will be yelling at you that this situation is not acceptable to you. You will know, even though you might not act on the outside.
But you must listen to your internal voice, and recognize that you are more valuable than what you are experiencing. Take note of it, and make plans to fix the situation you are in.
Learn to Say No
Often when we get ourselves in a situation in business or in a relationship where we feel undervalued, we stick around much longer than we should. We may ask for a better deal or better treatment, but it’s not given. In this situation, you have to make a tough choice and walk away.
Sometimes the best thing you can do in your life is to walk away from a bad situation. The world will not give you something better if you keep accepting something less.
Even though saying no may at times feel like quitting, often, it is the best way to open up new opportunities.
Find a Better Deal
After you have said no to a bad situation, the next step is to start seeking what you want. This means being clear about what you want and asking for it. That might be in business or relationships, but the process is the same. Seek what you want, and then ask for it.
I learned a long time ago that the world belongs to the asker. The more you ask, the more you get. And if you aren’t willing to hear no, then you are going to have to settle for less than you want.
I want to be clear here: there is a difference between seeing yourself as valuable, and thinking you are ‘owed’ something. That is the line where hubris or delusion takes over. But it is perfectly okay to see yourself as valuable and ask people to treat you that way.
If you are asking for a better deal and you keep getting no from a lot of different people, then you must reassess your value. Look at what the most successful people you admire are bringing to the table. Work on becoming more like them in terms of skills and knowledge.
It’s crucial that you keep working on yourself and finding ways to add value to other people’s lives. The more you do that, the higher your personal value becomes.
Always remember that you are valuable and worth more than you give yourself credit for.
It’s crucially important to know your value and to be brave enough to ask until you receive.