Did you know that nearly 70% of women accept the salary they’re offered and don’t negotiate? The numbers are a little better for men but still nearly 50% of men do the same thing.


I’m normally empathetic to the professional challenges we all encounter, but I just CANNOT wrap my head around this one.

So I’m going to offer some tough love.

You MUST negotiate.

I’m appalled by how many women – really successful, assertive and confident women – never ask for what they want.

These women have told me it’s because:

  • The first offer they received was higher than their last salary
  • They don’t want to offend anyone
  • They don’t want to get fired or lose the offer
  • They don’t want to seem cocky or like they aren’t a team player

Look, I get it. I don’t agree, but I do understand.

Asking for more can be scary.

But what’s the worst that can happen?

They could say “no”.


Then you are in the exact same spot you were in before you asked. No better. No worse.

If you’re hesitant to ask for what you want (and this doesn’t just pertain to salary), why do you think that is? What’s holding you back? Do you think you’re not good enough? Do you think you don’t deserve it?

I’ve never had trouble asking for what I want.

And here’s why: I work my butt off and I’m good at what I do. I produce results for my employers and my clients. And they know it.

So it’s not crazy that I would want more. And I fully recognize that I may be told “no”. And that’s ok.

But the simple act of asking, even when the answer is “no”, opens up a new set of possibilities.

By asking, you have put that request out in the Universe and now people know what you want.

You also clearly know where you stand.

And that gives you options.

  • You can happily accept the status quo, knowing you tried
  • You can use a “no” to fuel you to make some moves and look for your next opportunity
  • You can use a “no” as leverage to negotiate towards a lesser ask

This last point is important.

A “no” doesn’t necessarily signal that the discussion is over.

Often, it’s just the beginning of a longer-term conversation to get you where you want to go, perhaps at a slower pace.

If the idea of negotiating still makes you uncomfortable, then start small.

Try it at Starbucks. Seriously. Ask for a discount on your coffee. (This approach also works at your favorite shoe store too – I tried it and got 20% off just because I asked!).

They might say “no”. But who cares. You just got practice asking for what you want.

It only gets easier and more natural the more you do it.

Try it this week. And let me know how it goes!!

Originally published at www.mosaicgrowth.com


  • Elena Lipson

    Principal and Founder, Mosaic Growth Partners

    My 20 years of consulting and coaching experience has afforded me an inside look at how different organizations operate and what it takes to succeed. I spent the majority of my career as a healthcare strategy and change management consultant, serving federal, commercial and non-profit clients and mentoring emerging companies. I've had the privilege of working with hundreds of companies in the digital health and life sciences industry, supporting projects on consumer and patient engagement; telehealth; health and wellness; caregiving and independent living; and innovations in gene therapy, medical devices, rare disease drug development and AI-driven digital therapeutics and diagnostics. In 2015, I founded Mosaic Growth Partners, a consulting and coaching firm based in Washington, D.C., to help my clients develop new solutions for growth. I support clients in the digital health and life sciences industry with strategic and operational planning, commercializing new products and services, and workshop facilitation. I also coach professional women to take control of their careers and build professional lives that are congruent with their personal aspirations and natural talents. For professional women, I offer digital, group and 1:1 executive coaching programs. Prior to founding Mosaic Growth Partners, I led AARP Services' business development efforts in health and caregiving. At AARP, I was responsible for securing strategic partnerships, developing new business models and serving as an innovation champion. In this role, I built deep market knowledge and a strong industry network by working with hundreds of emerging and established companies. I also spent nearly 10 years as a management consultant, primarily with Deloitte Consulting, where I led strategy, human capital and technology engagements for federal health clients and the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. I also led sales and capture strategy, teaming, strategic business development and client excellence for the Department of Defense Military Health System account. I'm a Project Management Professional and a certified Agile Scrum Master. I graduated with a Master of Public Policy from American University and a B.A. in Political Science with High Honors from the University of Michigan.