The Mental Toll of Negotiation and Self-Advocacy

May 25, 2022

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I'm Tori!

After successfully saving $100,000 at age 25, I quit my corporate job in marketing to fight for your financial rights. I’ve helped over three million badass women make more, spend less, and feel financially confident.


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The Mental Toll of Negotiation and Self-Advocacy

At Her First $100K™, we strive to give our audience the information and resources they need to advance in their career. Our best-selling course is Navigating the Negotiation – a guide to helping you negotiate your way to better pay, lower bills, and equal and fair treatment in the workplace and beyond.

While we believe that this course is extremely valuable for every woman, we want to put a big ol’ disclaimer on Navigating the Negotiation (NTN) that reads “WE KNOW SELF-ADVOCACY AND NEGOTIATING ARE WAY EASIER SAID THAN DONE!”

Here’s the thing: in addition to carrying the pressure of trying to meet society’s unrealistic expectations while having far fewer advantages than men, women today are frequently forced to be their own biggest advocates in the workplace.

We often have to be the first voices that speak out against harassment. We have to carefully navigate conversations about paid parental leave during job interviews. We have to advocate for a rate of pay that is equal to our male peers – and these conversations come at a price.

Being a self-advocate and proactively negotiating requires courage, confidence, resilience, tenacity, and mental toughness that is challenging for anyone to muster. But when we consider that women are at a higher risk of struggling with depression and anxiety, being a self-advocate becomes much more taxing.

Self-advocacy and negotiation are skills that are essential to women achieving equal pay, opportunity, and treatment, which is why we are exploring the mental toll that these skills can require and giving you the information and resources you need to master these skills while prioritizing your mental health.

women in job interview - negotiation tips for women

Why do self-advocacy and negotiation matter?

Self-advocacy and negotiation go hand-in-hand, as self-advocacy is the ability to promote and support your interests and well-being, and negotiation is the ability to engage in a discussion to achieve an end that suits your interest and well-being.

There are two parts to the skills of self-advocacy and negotiation:

  1. You have the self-awareness to identify what you want and need, as well as what is not serving those wants and needs.

  2. You can seek out and ask for the things that you want and need.

Our ability to self-advocate and negotiate not only helps us overcome obstacles that get in the way of our goals and desires, but also helps us identify when we aren’t receiving the treatment that we deserve in our relationships, careers, and workplaces.

Without the ability to self-advocate and negotiate, women are more likely to stay in situations that do not serve them or hold them at a disadvantage physically, emotionally, or financially.

If we are to truly achieve equality, we must also achieve equality in the workplace through fair treatment and equal pay. As women continue to endure the gender wage gap, lack of a federal paid parental leave, and higher rates of discrimination and harassment than their male peers in the workplace, we need to develop and use our skills of self-advocacy and negotiation to create systemic change.

The mental toll of self-advocacy and negotiation

We are big believers in the power of negotiation. Our founder, Tori, prides herself on helping women negotiate for higher salaries, better benefits, and more time off. Hell, she even negotiates her phone and internet bills twice a year.

But we also know that self-advocacy and negotiation can take a significant mental toll, especially on women.

These skills require vocalizing your needs and desires, something that can be extremely challenging for women, as society has taught us to downplay and disregard our feelings to better serve the people around us. As a result, many women feel out of touch with their own emotions and have difficulty identifying certain things that they want or need.

Negotiating can also be a massive source of stress and fear, as many women worry about making the people around them feel uncomfortable. They fear that advocating for their needs will result in being perceived as abrasive, harsh, or bitchy. In the workplace, they may fear that their employer will retaliate against them if they ask for a pay raise, or that their coworkers will see them as ungrateful and greedy. These fears can hold them back from ever engaging in a conversation about securing a pay raise that they have every right to initiate.

This inability to identify, vocalize, and advocate for our needs and desires can lead to dissatisfaction with life, professional burnout, and emotional fatigue – making self-advocacy and negotiation incredibly daunting – which in turn keeps women stuck in a cycle of enduring unfair treatment and struggling with obstacles that keep them from their goals.

How to improve your mindset around self-advocacy and negotiation

Although women face many societal obstacles that make negotiation and self-advocacy particularly challenging, there are certain steps we can take to improve our mindset and better enable ourselves to utilize these skills.

woman writing in journal - negotiation and mental health

Believe that you are worth advocating for

Sustainable self-advocacy often comes from a place of self-love and the desire to be treated the way that you deserve. If you do not first believe that you are worthy of fair, kind, and empowering treatment, then it will be that much more to advocate for yourself.

If you struggle with believing that you are worthy of self-advocacy, take some time today to write down a list of the reasons why you want to advocate for yourself and why you believe that you deserve what you are advocating for. Try to look at yourself the way that you would look at a dear friend: with kindness, compassion, pride, and love, and write down a few qualities that you love about yourself.

Once you have written out your list, leave it somewhere that you will see it often – like next to your laptop or on a bathroom mirror. Read through the list a few times a day and remind yourself of all of the wonderful reasons that you deserve to advocate for yourself.

Give yourself the tools that you need to feel confident

In our Facebook community, The $100K Club, we often read posts from community members who express feeling intimidated by negotiating because they don’t know what to expect or what to say. The willingness to negotiate is there, but they simply lack the skills and knowledge to put the negotiation into practice.

That is exactly why we created Navigating the Negotiation – the course that breaks down everything you need to know about negotiating so you never have to be underpaid ever again.

Whether you want to know what you can expect from the negotiation process, need an email template to initiate a pay-raise conversation with an employer, or want the exact script Tori uses to negotiate her utility bills, you will find it all and more within Navigating the Negotiation.

NTN has helped thousands of women secure millions in pay raises and savings through the ability to confidently negotiate – what’s keeping you from being next?

Write down what you would like to say when you are self-advocating and negotiating

For people who struggle with depression and anxiety, engaging in challenging conversations can be extremely intimidating. One of the best ways to combat this is through preparedness.

By simply writing out the key points you want to include in your negotiations, you can start to feel more prepared and confident in the negotiation process. Write down your specific demands, and why you believe you deserve those demands, as well as specific examples that support your demands.

Review these points regularly leading up to the negotiation meeting so that you can enter into the conversation with confidence and preparedness.

You may even want to practice bringing up each of these points with a friend or family member so that you can feel secure in your delivery and your ability to advocate for yourself in front of another person.

Give yourself grace

Self-advocacy and negotiation are skills that develop with practice over time. It is normal and okay if you are not the perfect self-advocate or negotiator on your first go. Give yourself grace and the space to practice, challenge yourself, and grow, and you will feel your skills and confidence strengthen with time.



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