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• Jennifer McClanahan-Flint

# What Basic Math Can Do for You

Do you know what I discovered when I started my business?

Basic math.

Yep, I started using math to determine my percentage of increase. I use math to calculate how far I am from my financial goal, how well I’ve done over the past year, and how much money I owe.

I use basic math to figure out many things in my business. It turns out, the only math skills that are required are addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. Most often, I simply add and subtract using a calculator.

I share this because financial discussions and negotiations stymie many women.

But the fact is, you can’t set prices, gauge your salary, understand your profitability, or know your net worth without basic math. And the good news is basic math is all that you need.

This Tedx Talk, Homegirls’ guide to being powerful,from my friend Rukaiyah Adams seriously underscored the need to understand how math affects your personal wealth or lack thereof. Doing a mathematical calculation helped her tell the story of African-Americans from reconstruction to current day. Her fluency with math got her more than just a seat at the table; she now sits at the head of it.

That is why math is so important.

When you take time to look at your numbers and do the math, you understand your story in a way that enables you to objectively learn from it and alter it.

Math also gives you a path to get beyond where you are now. It gives you options, a reality check, and it helps you pace your expectations.

Stop ignoring your numbers. Without them you won’t know where you stand or how to measure what matters to you.

We spend so much time looking for ways to counter what others do (or fail to do) to hold us back that we forget to consider how we hold ourselves back. Ignoring your numbers is another way you keep yourself stuck. And no, you can’t just hand this work off to your spouse. That doesn’t count. This is work you must do for yourself.

Math matters because you have to have your own financial platform. It gives you choice and freedom, and the courage to raise your voice when you need to.

I know there is fear associated with our numbers. We can’t talk about math without talking about the fear.

Writer and Coach Tara Mohr shared a very helpful article, On Political Fear, Part II, on our responses to fear: fight, flight, tend, befriend, freeze, and appease. Take a moment and understand your response to the fear of your own numbers and the hesitancy to explore your financial worth. And then realize that all it takes is basic math for you to get clear about where you stand and how that relates to where you want to be.

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