Money is a sore spot for so many people, regardless of whether or not they appear to have enough. It’s no small feat to find sanity, healing, freedom, and agency around this topic.
My friend Mark Silver has developed a deep, rich, and healing course about money called Heart of Money Transformational Journey. He is offering it now on a Pay from the Heart basis. You determine what to invest based on your circumstances, the value you expect to receive, and the guidance of your own sweet heart.
Mark brings extremely high integrity, real (not invented) spiritual awareness and presence, and a profound understanding of the nitty gritty of business to the topic.
If you want to change your relationship to finances, if you want a Divinely-inspired healthy relationship with money, I recommend this 8 week course highly. It runs late January through mid-March.
Note: That is an affiliate link. If you use that link and choose to take the course, I will receive a modest thank you payment from Mark. That said, I’ve been sending people Mark’s way for years, usually with no compensation. He’s the real deal, and I’m happy to share his work with you.
“You can hold yourself back from the suffering of the world: this is something you are free to do… But perhaps precisely this holding back is the only suffering you might be able to avoid.” Franz Kafka, quoted in Coming Back to Life, by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown.
How might allowing yourself to feel more deeply the suffering of the world bring you more fully to life? What if feeling these feelings could educate you in how to heal?
This note is for you if you know deep inside that you are an amazing being with infinite potential. You really get that creating is your nature. But there’s some connection between your creative-being and your daily-doing that isn’t completely . . . well . . . connected.
For some reason (and God knows you’ve thought about a lot of possible reasons), you’re not stepping up.
You’re not doing the thing.
If that’s the way it’s been, and you’re ready for a change, I invite you to join me for a five month adventure called “Come Alive and Do the Thing!”
Get your mojo on with a focused mastermind group
Come Alive and Do the Thing! is an eight-person Mastermind group that will meet by videoconference weekly for five months. I’ll be working with each participant to thoroughly understand his or her issues, goals, and dreams so that we hit the ground running with customized structures and experiences.
Through coaching, exercises, and mutual support you will get off the sidelines of your life. And if you sign up before next Wednesday (11/18/15) at 8am Pacific time, you’ll save $200. That’s something to dance about.
Clarity doesn’t always come at the beginning of the creative process. Engage with your life now. Follow the tiny prompts without waiting for a thunderbolt to strike. Clarity will emerge. But if you wait for clarity, you may never get started.
Last week at a coaching conference one of the speakers held forth about her wildly successful book on the formation of habits, habits that, in her view, lead to success.
Among other things, she proposed a model to explain why some people do what’s good for them and some people don’t (and some people do it some of the time but not other times). She went on to name some of the 21 (!) strategies that she had codified for forming habits that lead to success.
Her suggestion for a useful exercise was for us to sort ourselves into groups according to her model and come up with mottoes for our “types.”
Can you see how instead of pointing us inward toward the source of our moment to moment experience, she was pointing us outward, toward her model? Not only that, she was asking us to invest our creative energy and attention into developing her model, dressing it up with mottoes.
The world is overflowing with models and life hacks that don’t work.
You are a human being, a creature with infinite potential, not a robot who could benefit from an operating system upgrade.
Instead of looking outside for models of success, look inside toward the source that inspires and catalyzes human beings of all sorts to do extraordinary things.
Have you noticed that sometimes you just feel alive? Really alive?
And have you noticed that when you come alive, life works?
And have you noticed that sometimes coming alive happens regardless of your circumstances? It can happen when you have bills to pay (and no money in the bank). It can happen when you or the people you love are sick.
That’s because coming alive has absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances. It happens before and underneath them.
Coming alive is the realization of what you already are, not a new accomplishment.
It’s what the mystics and sages are pointing to when they tell us that all is well and all manner of things be well.
And when you are in touch with the underlying okayness, when you let that okayness unfold and reveal your true aliveness, life just works.
Last month I stopped charging set fees and announced Pay What You Choose pricing. Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far.
1. You don’t have to know step three before you take step one.
I have wanted to try PWYC pricing for at least two years. One reason I hesitated was that I didn’t know how it would work. Then I realized that I didn’t need to know how it would work in order to run an experiment.
As I set it up, I wondered what kinds of systems I might want or need. Should I screen clients before agreeing to a session? How would I handle payment?
I decided not to try to screen prospective clients before accepting appointments. Instead I ask folks to make one initial appointment. This lets me meet the client and have a conversation with them about subsequent work. It seems simpler and more effective than trying to screen people.
I use acuityscheduling.com, which enabled me to create a simple intake form that pops up when someone makes a PWYC appointment. I ask what calls them to work with me, what their previous experience of coaching is, and what else they would like me to know. At the same time I ask what they want to pay. As soon as I receive an email notifying me of the appointment, I send a PayPal money request.
That has worked beautifully. Many clients find that a single session is sufficiently transformative, and they go away happy. If and when they want another, they are free to schedule again. Other people have turned into weekly or bi-monthly clients.
And, in case you are wondering, there’s no correlation between the amount people are paying and whether or not we agree to ongoing work. Read on for more about how little money appears to have to do with the quality of the experience.
2. There is no correlation between the amount a client pays and their readiness for coaching.
One of my thoughts going into this was that I could end up with a slew of people who saw themselves as needy, broke and/or broken, and victimized, which some might expect to indicate that they are not ready for coaching. I certainly see and hear a lot in coaching circles to support that.
But that’s not how it has turned out.
Yes, I have had a few people show up who seemed to be in a needy or broken state of mind. But here’s the deal: I know that they are not broken. After years of holding that as an article of faith, I finally see deeply that it is true. And it appears that when I see a client as truly and inarguably whole, it doesn’t matter a great deal whether or not they show up as needy in their own minds.
Because a funny thing happens when any of us is held with true, loving regard. We begin to wake up to our true nature, which is whole and resourceful. That holds true no matter how much a client pays.
It distresses me that this is not more clearly and widely understood in the coaching world.
3. There is no correlation between the amount a client pays and the degree of engagement we experience or the pleasure I get from the session.
I also wondered if knowing what someone had paid might influence my coaching. Would I feel pressure to perform with a client who paid in multiples of a hundred dollars? And would I be less enthused or energized or have any number of thoughts about coaching someone who paid in multiples of ten?
As it happened, the first week I was far too busy to even think of looking up what a client paid before I showed up for the session. In week two, after a particularly satisfying session, it occurred to me to check. I discovered that the client I had enjoyed the most had actually paid the least.
After that I decided there was no benefit to paying attention to what people choose to pay, so I don’t.
4. Lowering the barriers to entry won’t help you get hired by folks who don’t know you exist.
21 individuals have signed up for PWYC coaching since I announced it in early September. As I write this on Friday, October 2, apart from a few sessions with folks who have become repeat clients, I don’t have any PWYC appointments for October. My conclusion? Even if you have been coaching for 20 years, as I have, your work is not front of mind for your prospective clients. No matter what your pricing model, you need to find a way to make your work visible and accessible to your just right clients on a regular basis.
5. Lowering the barriers to entry doesn’t change anything for folks who don’t know why they would hire you.
Being visible and accessible is not enough. Your just right clients need to see a reason to hire you–a reason expressed in terms that match their own values, needs, and priorities.
I’ll be working on this in the weeks ahead. I’m starting by asking recent clients to let me know what they got out of our sessions. I’m not talking about getting testimonials. I’m talking about listening carefully to how my clients talk about the value they received, the difference it made in their lives, and how it helped. That way, when I write a new description of my services for this ezine or the Web, it will be from the perspective of the client, not the coach.
This perspective shift is crucial. It is one thing to say to prospective clients: “I have seen something that could be really useful to you.” It’s another thing entirely to be able to report exactly how other clients have found it to be useful.
What folks have reported so far includes:
Actually being excited about marketing their work.
Feeling really, deeply good about themselves for the first time in ages.
Looking forward to “loving up” their significant other after having months (or years) of relationship tension.
6. It can be difficult for people to hire you if you don’t name your price.
Most of us have a lot of thinking about money, and that can make it very difficult for someone to hire you if you don’t give them a number. They get lost in their thinking about what you really want or expect. They can get lost in their thinking about taking advantage of you or being taken advantage of.
Sometimes clients are reluctant to book again because they don’t feel they can afford to. In their minds they are locked into a price because they chose it once and hesitate to scheduled additional sessions for less money. When this emerges, I explain that I want is to coach people who want to be coached at whatever price they can afford to pay.
When people make an appointment, the intake form offers them a range of prices and “other.” I give the range to give some context and a starting point, and I’m really okay with “other.”
7. I have no idea how this will work over time, and that’s okay.
I need to earn a certain amount of money in order to keep the business going and contribute to the household. The costs of ongoing professional training, renewing my International Coach Federation membership, insurance, utilities, equipment, and a few hours each month from the office angel do add up.
In September I brought in a little less than half of what I need to earn in an average month. Right now I’m undergoing radiation therapy and working about half time. I am hopeful that as I get back to full time in the months ahead–and as people come to know about and trust this offer–the numbers will work out.
If they don’t? I’ll punt. I’ve been at this for 20 years, and I certainly know how to create and enroll programs. I’m mulling over a couple of groups now, in fact, that might have set fees and might not.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep my eyes open, pay attention to what is unfolding, and make new choices as the needs and opportunities arise.