Quentin Hafner

Transforming Mindset: A $300,000 Simple Ask

In the realm of personal and professional coaching I do with my clients, it extends far beyond imparting skills and knowledge. It involves diving deep into the client’s mindset, uncovering underlying fears, and empowering them to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of them architecting their Ideal Life.

The power of a strong mindset cannot be underestimated. It dictates our thoughts, emotions, and actions, significantly impacting our personal and professional lives. As a coach to high-performers, I am beyond certain about the crucial role that mindset plays in achieving and sustaining success.

One of the superpowers I can give my clients is an objective perspective into their lives, combined with psychological expertise, that can illuminate things otherwise not able to see.

My client, Abagail, was in salary negotiations about to start a new job at Morgan Stanley Investment Banking in NYC. In our conversation discussing her salary negations over a few weeks, it went something like this (the condensed version):

Me: “What is the pay structure for the new job?”

Abagail: “They are offering me a $300K base, and a bonus of 100% of base”

Me: “So, you’ll be at $600K all-in. Are you pleased with that?”

Abagail: “(with a subtle hesitation) “I am….that’s good money.”

Me: “You seem like you’re not sure if you like the deal. Why don’t you ask for a better bonus?”

Abagail: “Industry standard is 100% of base…”

Me: “Who cares about industry standards, why don’t you ask for 200% of your base?”

Abagail: (laughing) “No one pays that!”

Me: “I don’t know every persons pay structure on Wall Street, but I bet somebody is making that. Plus, do you have anything to lose by asking?”

Abagail: “They would freak out if I asked for that…..it’s offensive!”

During our coaching, Abagail expressed a deep-seated fear of engaging in challenging conversations, and high conflict moments. She believed that expressing her needs and aspirations would be met with rejection or disapproval, hampering her career progression.

One of the benefits of coaching my clients with a deep background as a therapist, is that I can help them see where these limiting fears come from, and create a path for them to get unstuck. For Abagail, she was stuck in her childhood thought process, having grown up in a family where wealthy people were perceived as “selfish”, “greedy”, and “bad”.

To address Abigail’s fears, we delved into her belief systems and we could see how her fear of rejection, combined with her subconscious beliefs about “having more” had become a self-imposed limitation, hindering her ability to advocate for herself effectively.

Over the course of a few sessions, we explored alternative perspectives and reframed her perception of difficult conversations and making money. I gave Abigail tools she could use to calm her central nervous system (CNS) when her anxiety spiked.

And most exciting, by highlighting the potential positive outcomes, we shifted the focus from fear to opportunity. We emphasized that assertively expressing her needs would lead to growth and enhanced professional opportunities.

And to really build her confidence, we practiced role-playing difficult conversations in various scenarios.

We tackled the fear of rejection and old money beliefs head-on.

I told her that people on my team don’t lose, and we were going to conquer this.

With just enough more confidence and bounce her in step, Abagil, was ready to take on a daunting challenge: asking her potential new employer for a lot more money. We worked together to develop a compelling case, focusing on her accomplishments and the value she brought to the organization. We were prepared for a conflictual conversation.

Armed with a transformed mindset and a willingness to step into the wild, Abagail told her potential new employer that she was ready to take the new job, but with a bonus structure at 200% of her base salary, not 100% (a $300,000 difference).

In my next conversation with Abagail, I reminder her that she owed me a beer when I visited NYC.

What limiting beliefs are causing you to leave something on the table in your own life? Message me if you want to look at what’s holding you back.



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