Yesterday there was a humbling moment and conversation. And a profound learning. I have always known that our relationship with money is often screwed up- and how. In my interaction with many people I see that that is one of the areas that we need to heal. But let me talk about myself and as I do, I suspect many of you will resonate with pieces of what I say if not the whole.
The simple question that often begs to be asked in our kind of profession (and in most others) – Leadership Development, Life Coaching, Self & Relationship Mastery, Healing etc. is – How much should we charge the client? Deeper related questions are – What is the value that is getting generated? How comfortable are we having this discussion? How much do I value myself? 😉
On one hand we have the whole ‘gift economy’ (Charity Focus being a great example, Seva Café and others). On the other hand we have the corporate world where profit maximisation is the name of the game. And many are asking the vital questions – How do we balance the social perspective and the profit motive. Social Entrepreneurship hence is an emergent field. And then we have movements like ‘Conscious Capitalism’- and these are larger issues. Let me come back home to the specific challenge at my hand and how I am navigating it.
One of my friends in ChittaSangha, the Consciousness Collaborative, that I am a part of decided that he will let the customer decide how much they would like to pay for his work. A bold move, I would say- also trusting of the universe.
In response to this a very wise friend of mine wrote:
“For quite a while now, I have followed a somewhat similar system. When
the client and I are ready to get down to what they will pay me, I
propose looking at three measures.
a) One, what they think it is worth to them;
b) two, what they can afford to pay;
c) three, what I think my time is worth.
The third, which I provide, is a rather broad range, in which the
top end is about 2.5 times the bottom end.
And I make it clear that the fee will be the least of the three numbers.
I have never felt cheated or unhappy about the outcome of this
exercise. And I have always felt that it created a level of trust that
helped me greatly in the core of my work, which was to help the client
listen to himself (herself) in an environment of faith.
May you find the same.”
This idea really appealed to me for a variety of reasons. Especially because,
- It would, in a very simple and safe way, bring up a difficult conversation.
- It would enable reflection of our relationship with ourselves, reveal clarity and enable a win-win decision.
- It would enable the client and oneself to really look at what value is being generated and charge accordingly
Essentially, it would enable authenticity, transparency and Integrity. And healing of my relationship with money. What more could one ask for?
So I had the opportunity yesterday to have the first such conversation with a dear friend who is also a coaching client and it was so revealing. She had agreed to pay me Rs. 7500 for a 1.5 months of coaching. I happily agreed.
After postponing the difficult conversation for a while, I brought it up. Fortunately I had up front told her that this is the way I would operate. But had not actually operated like that. As a young bright colleague and another great friend pointed out to me that while I had said that’s how I would operate, how come I didn’t actually do that?
I asked my friend and client, after taking her through 2 sessions, what would be a) what it is worth to her. She said that it seems that based on the coaching that I was doing with her, her monthly income could go up from 200,000 to 400,000 and if that happened, She would gladly share 25%, no 20% seems more real (she said) of that with me – which is Rs. 80,000. Then I asked b) what she can afford for a month now is Rs. 20,000. The figure c) about what my time is worth I told her is between 10,000 to 50,000.
I am sure you sense the value of this open conversation. It is so interesting that when we are willing to be open and transparent, a lot gets cleared, healed and resolved… in fact dissolved!
As an aside, for those of you who are open to the metaphysical – it may be interesting for you to know that both the friends operate with a life path in this lifetime of ‘Power and Abundance’ (the friend who brought this process (3 aspects of value) to me and the friend who is the coaching client). This means they are here to discover, learn and teach what is the true meaning of power and abundance (Power is very different from force but requires us to understand force – and Abundance is different from money and requires us to heal our relationship with money). This is based on Dan Millman’s wonderful book, ‘The Life you were born to live’. You arrive at a number which is the total of birth date (d+d+m+m+y+y+y+y). For one of them it is 26 and the other is 35 – both of which add up to 8, the path of ‘Power and Abundance’. You will agree no doubt, that both these wonderful souls have helped me to learn about money and abundance.
As I was writing this blog post, I posted a question in the status update on fb
”.. Most of us need to heal our relationship with ‘Money’. What is the nature of your relationship with money? Do you sense that it needs some clarifying/ simplifying?”
Some wise responses:
“Money is simply an energy. By itself, it is meaningless. Neither is any quantity of it good, nor is it bad. We need to remove judgment and ask for higher things – the things we think we can get with money – maybe the divine intends those to come to us in other ways. If we get stuck on money, we get STUCK in life!
Let the energy flow into you and out of you. Hold on to only what is necessary and grow it! Let go of the rest. Don’t let it become stagnant and be mindful of what it is going out to as well through you. Is it making the soil, soul and society better in some way?” – Nandini Gulati
“People are trying to find “something” in money..the same thing which they are trying to find in intoxicants, in sex etc. But somehow that ‘something’ is not obtained. Because that something lies as a treasure inside us and can never be obtained from outside. Even if this much knowledge comes, theoretical though, it can go a long way in normalising our relationships, not only with money, but with everything and everyone in life.” _ Sarvesh Mopkar
So, the invitation is to either try out this process or find something else which essentially enables an honest dialogue and the ‘arriving’ together at what is the ‘right’ pricing. Because we are now in the times of co-creation, of building safety and integrity in the way we work and live. And indeed, with this it becomes possible to deepen our relationship with ourselves and the apparent other. Plus discovering the relationship between net worth and self worth. On the way to dropping the self and embracing awareness.
Some wisdom to transform your relationship with money:
- How to make a hell of a profit and still go to heaven – John Demartini is a master in this field. (book)
- Www.HeartOfBusiness.com – Mark Silver is a Sufi teacher and comes with very practical and yet deep wisdom to align money and meaning (website and courses)
- Soul of Money – Lynne Twist (book)
- Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin – a brilliant process to actually get to financial freedom so that you can follow your heart without having to worry about money. (a program in a book)