Uncomfortable topic alert: Yes, gorgeous, we’re gonna talk about money!
I grew up the daughter of first-generation New York Jewish parents. My grandparents were eastern Europeans who came to the U.S. in the 1920s; things had been very uncomfortable for Jews in their part of the world for a long time and were only getting worse.
My parents were young kids during the Depression and by the time they were raising me and my sisters, a mindset based in deprivation had taken a firm hold on them both. Deprivation—there’s never enough, there can never be enough. Accompanied by deprivation’s other half—entitlement. There’s never enough, there can never be enough, so I’d better grab anything I can get.
Believe me, growing up in New York, the children of immigrants, in the Depression, does not make for a healthy mindset and a lovinghearted relationship to money. Nor does it make for any kind of good example for your children (one of whom is me!).
A weird kind of frugality drove things in the household of my childhood. Cupboards were full of plastic containers (from Chinese take-out, of course), coupons were clipped so nickels and dimes could be saved, and when staples like tuna fish would be on sale at the supermarket, my mother would buy dozens of cans.
Seriously. There were stacks of tuna cans in the cabinets. And rows of jars of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. And mountains of six packs of Diet Coke.
The weird part? Mom and Dad would spend lots and lots of money eating out in fancy restaurants. And traveling. And then come home to the stacks of plastic containers and tuna fish cans.
What a perfect breeding ground for settling for anything that comes along
I learned how to settle, that I’d better take whatever was offered, at an early age, and it led me to some spectacularly stupid decisions (like getting married at age 18 because someone asked me, and what if that was the only proposal I was ever gonna get?, but that’s another story). Settling also led me to a long career of being buffeted about in my career, taking whatever jobs came my way, with little intention and less authenticity in my choices.
It took me years in my working life to even consider thinking about and naming how much I wanted to earn, how much I wanted to be paid. When I first started working, I would interview for a job or a freelance gig, and I would be told how much the job paid, and I would take it. I don’t think I ever turned down an offer (I’d better take what I can get, remember?). I don’t even remember countering an offer.
I’ve been in business for myself for over twenty years, and I’ve grown in so many ways around my rates and fees. And yet, I’m still uncovering many deprivation- and entitlement-induced blind spots. For example, It wasn’t until I learned about pricing resonance from Mark Silver that I actually began to have an intentional, direct, heart-based relationship with what I charge.
Another big one, for me, is abstaining from saying Yes to every offer of paying work that comes my way. In other words, learning to say No. No, thank you.
The gifts of saying No
Does this sound familiar to you? You’ve established your practice, you have created your messaging and your marketing materials to speak to and invite your ideal clients, you’ve created clear and juicy programs and products to serve them. And yet, when business is slow, when your practice is less than full, and a job comes along that doesn’t really fit, but that would bring in a little money, you say yes.
Or, you can’t resist going after a competitive bid project, one that you know is going to go to the lowest bidder. Seriously, if you spin your wheels chasing after every $500 contract that may or may not happen, aren’t you just throwing clutter in the way of attracting the business you want? Not to mention depleting your energy that you’ll want and need when you have the opportunity to work with the clients you’re meant to serve.
What would happen if you gently and lovingly and thoroughly released those old patterns of being at effect in the world, of being dependent on circumstances and people to dictate your actions, of having to settle for whatever you were offered? Yes, gorgeous one, I’m suggesting kicking this old behavior to the curb, now and forevermore!
What if, instead, you were at cause in your own life, decisive, creating what you want, seeing the world as full of opportunity?
While letting go of these old mindsets may be difficult the payoff is huge. First, your clientele will self-select. Clients who want to nickel-and-dime you, who want you to bid on a job competing with other vendors, will leave your practice. And that’s the good news, because when they do go they make room for the clients you want to serve, the ones you’ve been calling by name in your messaging and marketing.
Second, you will do a better job for your clients. Because now that you are at cause, you can be fully present in the way you are meant to be for your clients.
There’s an old spiritual lesson I was taught long ago:
When your hands are clenched tight, grasping whatever you can hold, you can’t receive the abundance the universe has in store for you. Open your hands, open them up and receive!
How do you draw the line between the work you are meant to do, intend to do, and the work that holds you back from your fullest expression? Let me know in the comments.