Do You Know the Value of Your Own Stock?

Bird in the Hand

After a 22-year career with the company, Rose became part of a downsizing. Though her severance package was fairly generous, she was very anxious about finding a job, as she was a single mother with the pressures of a high mortgage in California. After two months, Rose was offered a position with the same company in a different department. Though she was overqualified and the salary was less than what she had been earning previously, she accepted the offer. Her family’s and friends’ nervousness about her situation reverberated through the phone lines with a loud and clear message: YOU BETTER TAKE IT. Rose took their advice but inside her spirits sunk with the unmistakable feeling of taking “multiple steps backwards”.

The day after Rose accepted the offer, she was contacted to interview for a dream job to which she had applied, also with the same company. In this role Rose would be able to make a bigger impact, there was room for advancement, and the money was better, too.

The Twist: Rose would have to decline the first offer in order to interview for her dream job.
The Dilemma: Accept the bird in the hand or take a risk and go for the dream job.

Chips on the Table

graphic of stock market chartOnce again Rose was under significant pressure from her family and friends to take the first job. I told her that no one would fault her for going with the bird in the hand. It was a valid choice. Only you know what is right for you. What’s important is that you understand the reasons for choosing A or B and are at peace with your decision.

Neither Rose’s family nor I as her coach knew the right answer for Rose. Only she could know that. What I did know is that it was essential for Rose to define the why behind her choices and to come to terms with her own risk tolerance. What was she willing to risk and what was she not willing to risk?

"Do whatever you have to do to hear your deep truth.” That was my coaching request of Rose. This is what she did in response: wrote down the pros and cons, limited exposure to people who were worried about her, noticed fears for what they were, gave herself some time to be quiet and pray, went for walks to move her body, and slept on it one more night.

Clarity came in the morning. Rose woke up feeling calm and ready to take the risk. She would decline the first offer and go for the second. The change in Rose’s voice was palpable. She was emboldened and enlivened to decline the offer and demonstrate confidence in herself by going for it. It was as if she were saying, “I know you can’t guarantee me the job but I’m confident in my abilities and I know what I’m worth.” This action made quite a statement that was not lost on the hiring manager. Rose’s chips were on the table. She had stated her worth. Now the real test would come.

Meltdowns On the Way to Victory

After Rose’s bold move, she progressed rapidly through the interview stages. Then came the quiet. It was a very competitive process with several candidates in the running. Time passed with no news and then, out of the blue, a phone call came from Human Resources informing her that her severance package could be at risk because she had declined the first offer. Confidence rushed out of her body like air from a pin-pricked balloon. Fear and anxiety returned. After allowing a major meltdown (she was entitled to it), we regrouped. “Are you still glad you took the risk?” I asked. Rose’s answer was yes and realizing this was empowering again.

It was tough to maintain her confidence some days but Rose kept reassuring herself that she had made the best decision. One Friday morning, the offer was made. While the money wasn’t quite as high as anticipated, it was still a significant increase over her last position and got her to a new bracket where she will be eligible for larger performance bonuses. The career and personal growth potential is there and it is a job she will enjoy doing.

Know Your Worth

graphic of pie chartNow that Rose has been working at her new job for six weeks, she realizes two things. First, it’s become important to her that she continue to think about future possibilities and not hide behind what is comfortable. Secondly, Rose now sees that knowing your worth is an everyday exercise. In her first days on the new job, she was tested on this and now it’s becoming clear what living from this truth actually requires: a deep valuing of yourself in every interaction.



This Week:

  • Whether envisioning a new job, a new relationship, a new home, or a new anything, don’t just think about what you might get. Think about what you are worth. Write it down. You might not get what you want every time, but naming it and claiming it for yourself, is one sure step to getting in closer range.

  • The next time you are faced with a bird-in-the-hand or chips-on-the-table dilemma, do what you need to do to hear your deep truth. You might even give Rose’s formula a try.

“You have to separate your net worth from your self-worth.”
—Chris Gardner

See more below:Additional excerpts from my interview with Rose and a link to a related article by Chris Gardner.

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

Read this article with wisdom from Chris Gardner:

During the same time Rose was evaluating her options, I shared an article with some great perspective from Chris Gardner which I blogged about here. In talking to some people who had just been laid off, Chris commented, “Will you have to take some risks? Absolutely! But you can take some smart risks… Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What do I really care about? What is your “Why” besides the money?” He also poses the question:

“If you’re not willing to take a risk on yourself, what will you take a risk on?”

More interview excerpts with insights from Rose:

Ginny: I remember the morning we talked and hearing it in your voice that you had made the decision to go for it.
Rose: Yes, I remember that, too. I woke up with a sense of strength and peace and joyfulness and thankfulness, more than fear. The fear was still there but there was a greater sense of trust… that I would be okay.
Ginny: So how do you look at risk now?
Rose: I believe taking risks comes from a place you have to be ready for, prepared for… the place is a deep belief in your abilities and your goodness and that you do believe you can make a very special mark on the world. I am in that space.
Ginny: What else did you take from this experience?
Rose: This whole experience strengthened my identity and showed me that I am not my work… I bring unique gifts and skills and a spirit to the world that is all my own. It has made me truly believe that I do have options, that I can craft at some level my happiness and that I have choice and I have my dreams. When you take a risk with positive belief and faith, you are strengthened and you reflect that to yourself and the world.

I also see the added benefit that your stretching and growth is positively mirrored and reflected to your family members and I like that — especially my eleven year old daughter. It is great to show that she can choose, be empowered, and believe in herself.

Ginny: Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
Rose: Yes, I want to acknowledge that your coaching helped me move beyond the fear and always reminded me of the possibilities. This energized me and empowered me to take action.

© 2010, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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