In late March, I was participating in a developmental course, “An Inquiry into Life, Living, and Self.” As part of our conversation, we were challenged to distinguish an area of life where we were committed to growth and development. I instantly reported that I wanted a breakthrough in the area of monetizing what I do ~ and I sounded as excited saying it as you were likely feeling while reading that. It was obviously not something that was inspiring to me. I was not lit up thinking about it. Obviously.
Over the course of the weekend and through a number of great interactions with my fellow participants, I discovered that I am really curious about “Wonder” and what we wonder about … which led me to investigating what money, and specifically, what billing clients meant to me. I noticed that I am regularly not charging, undercharging, giving major discounts, and just routinely avoiding collecting money … from clients or otherwise.
My resistance to collecting fees from clients has led to several (or more) issues for me, from juggling payments to avoiding certain situations where I think I might not be able to afford whatever it is I am being asked to do. This is a familiar pattern, one I developed growing up in a family of 10 folks with a teacher for a dad and a nurse for a mom. (In my home state, both those professions are at least 15% lower than the national average in their categories.) I would not trade my family nor my upbringing for the world. I would, however, prefer a distinct view of my own value, especially financially.
So today, I sat down and prepared invoices. I did not cut corners. I did not discount. I charged what I provided. I sent those invoices … and the earth is still spinning. Really.
And as I worked through the process over the last couple weeks, I have received a couple checks, unexpected, from odd sources. I got a referral check from a car dealership for bringing someone to buy a car. I got a check from the used bookstore for my excess books. I got cash from a thrift store for some items I provided on consignment. I even got cash and checks from clients.
Clearly, I have disrupted a pattern on being unable to ask for money. And the great part? Today, after those invoices were sent this morning, I had a great day. My experience of myself is of being valued and valuable, of being wanted and needed, of being worthy. I felt most of that before … just did not have the dollars to match my own sense of worth. Now, I can pay all the bills without juggling.
I am deeply grateful to those who have and continue to contribute to my growth and development. If becoming a stronger person allows me to make a difference, it is worth whatever pain and embarrassment it takes to get there.