You've Gotta Ask

You've Gotta Ask

Ep. 56.jpg

In this episode, I share insights on negotiation and leadership from the book Success Affirmations: 52 Weeks for Living a Passionate and Purposeful Life

In week 17, the affirmation is: 

I am asking for what I want and need with a positive expectation that I will get a YES. 

Some of the useful tips on asking include: 

Ask as if you expect to get it Assume you can Ask someone who can give it to you... 

I share my own thoughts, insights, and tips to help you ask for what you want so that you can become bolder, braver, and better paid. 

If you'd like to check out details about the upcoming mastermind, come over to

Or email me at 

Full Episode Transcript

Hello! Welcome to Episode 56 of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee. I’m your host and coach, Jamie Lee.

I believe we are all born to thrive.

I believe that negotiation skills are leadership skills that help us influence and thrive.

I’m so excited for what is coming ahead in 2019! I will be back at Stony Brook’s STEM Leadership Women’s Program this April to teach negotiation skills to women in STEM. I’ll also be coaching live at the annual Catalyst Awards Conference here in New York City in March. And I have other exciting workshops and events lined up for the first half of 2019 and the second half of 2019 is going to just blow my mind.

I just know it.

And, of course, I have more exciting and free webinars planned for you, so stay tuned for that. And I have exciting plans for this podcast as well. In particular, I have interviews with a lawyer and a business professor who are both experts in salary negotiation and on the topic of women working in the workplace. So, my intention here is to provide as much amazing content as possible that’s all about helping you become bolder, braver, and better paid.

Today I want to share with you some nuggets of deep negotiation and leadership wisdom from a book that I’m reading. It’s called Success Affirmations: 52 Weeks for Living a Passionate and Purposeful Life.

I love this title because don’t we all want to become successful and to live a life full of purpose and passion, by which I mean enthusiasm and with heart? I think that’s what being born to thrive is all about. And this book is quick, it’s useful, and it’s co-written by Jack Canfield, Kelly Johnson, and Ram Ganglani.

Jack Canfield, by the way, is also the co-creator of the uber-successful Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise which sold over half a billion copies around the world. I mean, how’s that for success? And here’s a fun fact: Did you know that passages from Chicken Soup for the Soul are being studied in China in English as a second language classes?

I’m not from China, I’m from Korea and I came to the United States as a young kid and so, when I was a young, new immigrant kid in New Jersey, I was in ESL for two and a half years, so the fact that Chicken Soup for the Soul is studied in ESL sort of warms my heart.

Anyway, I just read my favorite chapter so far in the book and as soon as I read it I thought, “Wow, this is so good. I cannot wait to share with my podcast listeners.”

The book is organized into 52 weeks or 52 chapters and the one I’m sharing with you today is from week 17 or chapter 17, titled You’ve Gotta Ask. I love it! You’ve gotta ask. Every chapter or week in the book starts with affirmations for meditation and reflection.

Now, I can imagine some of you rolling your eyes at that. Maybe some of you are religious and the idea of starting your day with affirmations or a prayer is not that foreign to you. In either case, I invite you to think about affirmations as simply thoughts. Think of the affirmation you’re about to hear as an optional or a suggested thought.

The big question here is, do you choose to believe new, positive thoughts? And why does this matter?

This matters because circumstances in our lives are neutral and we cannot change them. But thoughts we have, which are simply how we choose to interpret those circumstances, are optional. And how we think impacts how we feel and how we feel impacts how we act or don’t act and how we act or don’t act generates our results. And remember the result we want is to succeed.

We can have two types of thoughts. First is default, which are knee-jerk reaction thoughts that have been programmed into us from the past, from our upbringing, and from socialization. They tend to be negative and cynical, like I don’t have enough time, I could never do that, I’m not good enough.

The second type is intentional thoughts or the thoughts we think on purpose, by design because we want to be in charge of our lives and not live by default. We want to be able to manage our own thoughts, manage our own feelings, our own actions, and therefore create our own results.

These thoughts that we have by design, on purpose can be neutral. They don’t always have to be positive. And they can be positive, like positive affirmations. The more we meditate, the more we reflect, or marinate in these new, intentional thoughts, the easier it becomes to believe new, intentional, and positive thoughts because belief is simply thoughts we have over and over again.

So, here is the affirmation for week 17 of Success Affirmations:

I am asking for what I want and need with a positive expectation that I will get a YES.

In my negotiation workshops, I often talk about the importance of embracing no. But this affirmation reminds me that it’s equally important to go into the conversation with a positive expectation that you will get a yes.

Unless somebody has explicitly said no to you, there’s always a possibility of yes. A positive expectation that you will get a yes generates so much confidence, optimism, and forward thinking, so I love this affirmation.

But gets better!

I know that the phrase “ gets better!” is a sales cliché, so think of me on a mission to sell you on the idea that you can ask for what you truly want and that you can ask well and that you can believe in yourself and believe in the possibility of yes so that you lead and thrive.

Anyway, so I said it gets better because later in the chapter, Jack Canfield shares his tips for asking for what you want. Here are the tips and then after I read the tips, I will go into a little bit more explanation and share with you my thoughts on why these tips are so effective and such good negotiation and leadership advice, okay?

  1. Ask as if you expect to get it.

  2. Assume you can.

  3. Ask someone who can give it to you.

  4. Be clear and specific when it comes to money. Ask for a specific amount.

  5. Don’t assume you’ll get a no when you haven’t even asked yet.

So, number one: Ask as if you expect to get it. Ask with the positive expectation that you have already been given it - like it’s a done deal. Love that.  What would it be like if you’d already been given what you want? I want you imagine. I want you to live into it and ask from that place.

So let’s say you want a raise and promotion and if you already are promoted to, let’s say, senior vice president, what would you feel? How would you show up? And how would you ask? You’d be your future self or an evolved or more elevated version of you, whose got more gravitas, more dignity, more power.

So go to that place of more gravitas, more dignity, more power. In other words, show up to the negotiation conversation as your future self. You’ll be so much more compelling when you ask from that place.

So, for me, when I imagine that I already have what I want, which is a million-dollar coaching and speaking business, I see myself being calm. I see myself being graceful and grateful for the amazing abundance and success that I have already received.

And every day, I like to do a very vivid visualization of my future self as part of my daily meditation routine. When I envision my future self, I see myself standing tall, dressed in silk and wool, feeling grand. And you know what? That’s why, today, I am wearing silk and wool.

By the way, later in the book, there’s a really powerful affirmation:  

What I want also wants me.

What I want also wants me.

I love that. It’s a done deal! That’s a really powerful thought. What I want also wants me. If I were to imagine that what I want, which like so many of my clients, is collaboration, growth, and contribution, also wants me, I feel really good about asking for the opportunity to collaborate, to grow, and to make a contribution.

This is a really powerful mindset shift.

Here’s number two: Always assume you can. Don’t ever assume against yourself.

Now, how often do we assume against ourselves and give up even before we ask? I have a lot of experience in this. I have clients, too, who tell me they hold back from asking for promotions and raises because they are afraid they won’t be able to manage and lead well. They’re afraid to be a disappointment as a manager because they are attached to the disappointment they feel towards their own manager. They project this disappointment on themselves and assume against themselves.

Do you know what the biggest pitfall in negotiation is?

You guessed it. Making assumptions.

The worst assumption that you can make is believing against yourself. Assuming that you can’t do better or be different than what you have experienced in the past, than other people you’ve met and experienced and worked with.

Another dangerous assumption that I often hear is that people don’t know how to ask. I hear people, especially women, say things like, “Oh, I can’t ask for that. I can never negotiate for myself.” And I want to share with you, I absolutely don’t buy that there are people who cannot negotiate for themselves. It’s not true. Because negotiation is simply a conversation with the intention of reaching agreement where everyone has the right to say no. That’s it!

This means we’ve been negotiating since we were first able to say the word no, which is around age 2. We’ve already been negotiating all our lives. We can all say no. We can all ask.

So, assume you can. Don’t ever assume against yourself.

Number three was: Ask someone who can give it to you. Research who that is.

When I teach negotiation, I talk about the importance of identifying your allies, by which I mean identify who can be your mentor or a trusted advisor who can provide critical insights key to your success.

And then there are people who can be your champion or people who can go to bat for you behind closed doors when decisions about raises and promotions are being made.

And then there are also influencers who have the ear of the key decision-maker, right?

So, mentor, champion, influencer, decision-maker, there are different types of people who can be your allies. Sometimes the biggest hurdle in workplace negotiation is simply identifying who to ask, identifying the right person to ask, identifying the decision-maker.

For example, a couple of years ago, I coached a nonprofit executive who negotiated directly with the CEO for a raise and a title change, only to find out that the CEO could not implement the salary decision without the buy-in of the CFO. So it turned out the CFO is an important influencer and also a decision-maker who really needed to be part of that salary conversation.

So, do you know who makes the salary decisions at your company? Do you know whose buy-in is necessary in order for these decisions to be actually implemented? It may not be your direct supervisor. It may not be obvious because titles can be misleading.

For example, I once worked at a company where the CEO always deferred key money decisions to the CRO and the CRO deferred big decisions to the COO. So, ultimately, you had to get both the CRO and the COO to buy in before the CEO bought into the agreement. It was something that you wouldn’t know unless you had been part of the daily senior management discussions.

So, asking someone who can give you what you want does require research. It does require some study and being able to tap into your network to better understand the so-called unwritten rules of the workplace.

So, find out who can give you what you want and ask that person to give it to you.

Number four: Be clear and specific. When it comes to money, ask for a definite amount.

This is so important. A lot of my clients worry about lowballing themselves or getting burned if they ask for the amount they really want, which is the high end of the going market range for their role. And out of this worry and fear, they miss out on the opportunity to ask for exactly what they want.

Now, if you don’t ask for the definite amount of money that you want, then what happens is that you allow the other side to assign a dollar value on you. The other side, typically, is the recruiter or hiring manager. The recruiter or hiring manager, they are incentivized to acquire your services for low prices. They are incentivized to acquire high-quality labor, high-quality services for the lowest price possible. They’re not evil. That’s just how business is done.

So, don’t wait to be assigned a value. Go ahead and name your price.

So, let’s say if you want to earn $125,000 a year, you need to ask for $125,000 or more. Ask for $130,000. Ask for $135,000. This is even better because it creates wiggle room and you increase the odds that you actually get more than what you want. If you want to earn more money, you have to ask for more money.

This is called anchoring and it’s a very important negotiation strategy. And this is something that I have every person who participates in my negotiation workshop practice out loud. Ask for what you want. Make it specific, concrete. Ask for the number or more.

When it comes to requesting a specific behavior, say exactly what you want the person to do.

I talked a lot about this in Episode 53 about boundaries. I talked about how we often have manuals, invisible manuals for people and manuals are detailed instructions on how other people should think, feel, and act so that we can feel good. The funny thing about these manuals is that we often keep these manuals invisible or unexpressed and that can cause a lot of stress, aggravation, and resentment in a relationship.

So, I have been very fortunate to be in a loving life-partnership with a wonderful man for eleven years and we encounter this stress of invisible manuals on almost a daily basis. It can be something really simple and mundane. For example, this happened to us just last weekend. We were going from place A to B and we were carrying a bunch of bags, so we went to the place we wanted to go to and then he’s holding up this bag and he’s looking at me and he’s like, “Help!” And was like, “Huh? What do you want?”

I couldn’t read his mind. Yes, he said, “This is really obvious, Jamie.” Later on he said, “This is really obvious that I wanted you to help me by taking the bag,” but for some reason it wasn’t that obvious to me in the moment, I was distracted.

So I told him, “The next time you want me to help you, please tell me exactly how you want me to help. You want me to take the bag? Tell me, ‘Jamie, take the bag.’ It might seem obvious to you, but you know what? I don’t live in your brain.”

So this is a little example but there’s so many instances of stuff like this happening and creating stress in our lives. Don’t create invisible manuals. Make a specific request and say exactly what you want the person to do. So wise. So important.

He also has other tips, which I think are so important, like: Ask repeatedly. One of the most important principles of success is persistence. When you’re asking others to participate in the fulfillment of your goals, some people are going to say no. More than likely, they have a very good reason for declining. It’s not a reflection on you.

And number five: Don’t assume you’ll get a no when you haven’t even asked yet. That’s rejecting yourself before anyone else has even had a chance. Take the risk - if you get a no, nothing has changed and you’re no worse off than before. And you might just get a yes!

I mean what else can I add to that? This is so great. No is not a rejection of you.

If you do get a no, it can mean three things. Number one: It was not the right time. Number two: It was the wrong person to ask. Number three: It was not the right ask.

So, take that risk because the way I see it, the worst thing that can happen is that you learn from this no. You learn that it was not the right person. You learn that it was not the right time. You learn that it was not the right ask.

What do you want to ask for so that you can thrive?

What do you think and believe about what you want to ask for?

Is this thought believable for you: I am asking for what I want and need with a positive expectation that I will get a YES?

If so, go for it! If not, ask why.

Questioning those limiting beliefs that come up will be the first step in unlocking your bolder, braver, and better paid future.

By the way, if you’d like to take this work deeper with me and in the company of like-minded, ambitious women, I think you would love my Mastermind group. The next one kicks off on March 20th and you will benefit from both one-on-one coaching and group accountability. So, come check it out on

Thank you so much and I will talk to you next week.

The Human Brain: How Neurotransmitters Impact Negotiation Behavior

The Human Brain: How Neurotransmitters Impact Negotiation Behavior

How to Generate Self-Confidence without Faking Anything

How to Generate Self-Confidence without Faking Anything