Who doesn't want to make more money, right? Turns out, the secret lies in how you approach each new job opportunity, promotion, or change in position...

$5,000 More Now, $600,000 More Later

A study by Michelle Marks of George Mason University and Crystal Harold of Temple University surveyed employees in a number of jobs/industries, and found that those who chose to negotiate (rather than merely accepting the company's first offer) got an average of $5,000 more in annual pay. And that starting pay has a compound effect. Say two people start at the same time, both getting offers of $50,000. One accepts the $50,000, and the other negotiates up to $55,000. Now, further assume that they each get the same percentage raises throughout a career, and the one who started at the higher salary ends up with $600,000 more over a 40-year career. That's right: $600,000.

How To Get Over Your Fear Of Negotiating

Obviously, the big objection people have to negotiating a higher salary is fear of failure. Nobody likes rejection. Even if you minimize the chances of rejection with smart skill building tips, you may still cop out from asking. Here's my trick to getting you to ask for more money: Set up an incentive to reward yourself for trying. You heard me. Plan on giving yourself a special treat just for asking for more money. That way, regardless of the response you get, you'll celebrate and feel good about the effort. For example, agreeing to buy yourself a new outfit, taking yourself out for a night on the town, or staying in and binge-watching your favorite show are all ways to celebrate your confidence and bravery. By reinforcing the new behavior with a positive incentive, you'll give yourself the motivation to try.

And, of course, it doesn't hurt to seek the help of a seasoned career coach and former HR executive who has helped many people build their salary negotiation skills (smile). In my experience, if you A) plan out what you are going to say, B) work with someone to get comfortable saying it, and C) promise to reward yourself for trying, you're a winner no matter what happens. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow in your career!