I was a nerd in high school. Senior year, I edited the high school newspaper, and was about 20 pounds overweight. I wore glasses, of course, and liked to dress in baggy pants and t-shirts. I had few friends. Undaunted by my lack of popularity, I asked five boys to be my prom date. They all turned me down.
So I went to prom alone, dressed in my sister’s hand-me-down black strap dress and clunky platform shoes. And I had the best time of my life. Single and carefree, I danced the night away with friends and their dates. In the end, it didn’t matter that I went stag. No one cared. It didn’t hurt that I asked five times. In hindsight, it helped me see that I need not be afraid to ask for what I want and, even if I don’t get it, I can thrive.
Studies have shown that men initiate negotiation four times as often as women. One explanation is that men in general tend to be more comfortable with negotiating, because they get more practice from asking people out on dates. Conversely, women in general prefer to be offered something than to initiate negotiation and risk rejection. The study I cited was done around the same time I went to my senior prom. I think this trend will turn around, as more girls and women become forthright with our desires in the dating scene, at the prom, and at work. What do you think?
In the words of Wayne Gretzky, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” The more often you take that shot, mustering the courage to ask for what you want, better the odds you’ll achieve success.
If lack of confidence is holding you back from swinging the metaphorical hockey stick, here’s a tip for you. Commit to action steps, no matter how small, to help you get closer to where you want to be. And try again.
In the words of Aaliah, “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” The more you try, the better you’ll get. Confidence will follow.
And if you still don’t succeed, take action on your other options. Go stag, if you have to. You can still thrive.
In other news, Hands-on Workshop for Negotiation Prowess will be returning to the second annual Get Bullish conference this November. Get Bullish conference is powerful summit for ambitious women. It’d be great to see you there. More details here
Keep dancing, go on taking those shots, and go bold.