Awhile back I had an interesting turning point in my life. I was on Saadiyat beach in Abu Dhabi reading “Tribe of Mentors” when two ideas hit me:
Know your worth.
Swing for the fences.
My mentors had told me about these concepts for some time, but I didn’t have the confidence to step up to the plate and point the bat to the stands. Instead, I was constantly bowing down in the ninth inning playing small ball with my team and my worth.
Until I wasn’t.
When I decided enough was enough I came to my senses (as most people can relate to) and I began swinging for the fences. Oddly enough, the greatest home run hitter to ever play major league baseball also accumulated the highest strikeout ratio during his career. So how bad could it be?
After a few weeks past my initial realization at the beach, I began to hit the field with my internal game plan. Not an agenda, just a game plan.
I went to my employer with an amazing idea which would see the company generate 10% more revenue with 3% of the cost equaling out to be a 7% revenue brainchild for the company. All they had to do was let me do it (which they agreed to) and pay me.
Getting to the agreement to move forward was easy.
Then we began to talk about money…
I politely asked for a 3% raise which would still allow the company to come ahead by at least 4% from the idea I had brought forward. Four percent isn’t much, but I saw it as a win/win. Four percent is better than 3,2 or even 1%. The company makes more money, they show they are investing in me as a thought leader and I got to provide more impact and change in our field. There was no real downside!
It took less than a minute for my boss to say “no” to the 3% with no counter option.
There was a lot of dancing and very little intent on giving a raise.
So, I thanked them for their time and left the office.
As I walked home that evening I thought about a phrase a mentor of mine once said:
“You have to say no to the good, to be able to say yes to the great.”
I had stepped up to the plate, swung hard and struck out. It was time for me to go back to the bench and to develop another game plan.
Getting an absolute no, with no counter offer showed me how valuable I was to the company so the negotiation was over.
Fast forward a year and because I said ‘no more negotiating’ and because I struck out trying to swing for the fences, my professional life has dramatically improved.
I turned that strikeout into a next at-bat home run.
Why did this happen in my life? Because I decided that there was simply no more negotiating.
It wasn’t that I became arrogant about my qualifications and expertise. It was that I was ready to swing for the fences with my skills and crush them where they would be met with a standing ovation, applause, value and great reward. I changed my mental game from being a, “just settle for this” to, “absolutely not settling for this.” After all, there is no substitute for experience. If you have it, it is richer than gold.
I say this to you because many businesses, organizations, and individuals seem to miss this point which Simon Sinek put so eloquently in one of his podcasts:
“If I need to prove to you why you should hire me, don’t.”
Life is too short to work somewhere nearsighted, penny focused and not willing to invest in top talent to move the entire business forward. To soar like an eagle you cannot have your wings clipped.
To get what you want, you must be willing to swing for the fences.
You must be willing to strikeout.
You must be willing to develop a better game plan for the next at-bat.
And you must be willing to bring more confidence to the plate over time.
As you can tell I absolutely love the sport of baseball. It is a romantic game that involves great confidence, competence, insight, strategy, and tactics as well as intuition. I believe that the business world is no different. We must bring these pieces with us as we innovate, create and change the world in our areas of influence with the skills we bring with us.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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