When I ask people what keeps them from getting paid what they’re worth, I hear one word over and over again: scared.

“I am scared to counteroffer.”

“I am scared to ask for more money.”

“I am scared to ask for a better job.”

“I am scared they will pull my offer if I ask for too much.”

Over and over again, I hear how scared people are to demand that they are paid what they’re worth. Most of their fright is simply a fear of the unknown.

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy has to get through a series of deadly obstacles to find the chamber where the Holy Grail is held. One of those obstacles is called “the leap of faith” because he is confronted with a seemingly uncrossable chasm. This chasm is terrifying because the only way forward is to cross it, but it’s so wide and so deep that it seems that certain death awaits anyone who tries.

Indy realizes that he simply has to make a leap of faith, so he stands at the edge of the precipice, closes his eyes, leans his head back, sticks one leg straight out in front of him, and falls forward into the chasm. And, seemingly miraculously, he doesn’t fall to his death and instead seems to float above the chasm a few feet from the ledge.

Then the camera moves around to show us that the chasm is spanned by a bridge, camouflaged to blend in with the walls so that it is invisible from Indy’s vantage point. He carefully moves across the bridge to the other side.

Indy went from being terrified of the seemingly uncrossable chasm to being totally fearless, and the only thing that changed was that he found the bridge that spanned the unknown.

Understanding salary negotiations, promotions, and raises is the bridge across the chasm of fear that keeps so many people from taking a leap of faith for themselves.

Fearless Salary Negotiation is a guide to getting paid what you’re worth. But it’s also something deeper—it’s an exposé on how companies determine salaries and job titles, and how they think about raises and promotions. It is my way of showing you how to successfully bridge the chasm between what you think you know about salaries, job titles, and pay structures, and how they actually work.

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