While conversing with my business coach Julia about the release of my book, “The Promise I Kept,” as well as a class I’m creating to help others write their story too, we got down to the usual stalemate in our planning: discussing price.
“Do you realize the minute we talk money, you freeze?”
“I do?” I asked, confused.
“You’re a realtor. I bet you have no problem telling people what you charge when you take a listing. Why do you have such an issue with this?”
“That’s different. Real estate is business. This is just fun stuff.”
But knowing she was right, I felt my insecurity towards this particular topic must be hiding in my childhood. After all, don’t we get to blame everything wrong or not working in our lives on our youth?
My first thoughts went to my mom and her fear of money. She, like so many of our parents, suffered through the Great Depression and WWII fearing there’d never be enough. Then, I traveled to my dad and his insistence that we always be humble and kind. When you’re humble, you don’t brag or believe you’re better than anyone else. But neither of those felt right.
Knowing there was only one other place to search, I focused on that annoying person who, at any given moment, can easily tweak with my self-esteem – me. And, VOILA!
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved creating things. In the early years, it was art. I seemed to have a natural talent for it and sold my sketches and paintings right off my lap. After my kids were born, I sewed hair accessories and marketed them in children’s clothing stores and boutiques. Today, it’s writing. And, while I charged a minor fee for the bows and artwork, more often than not, I gave them away.
“Ok!” I cried. “It’s my fault. What I craft is precious to me. It’s personal! What if they don’t think it’s good enough? How can I ask for money?”
Hearing the deathly silence on the other end of the phone, I could only imagine what Julia was thinking: “This woman’s crazy?” Instead, I was given the homework assignment for the following week.
“For seven days you’re to write seven reasons why people should pay for the book and your writing services,” she insisted.
“How am I supposed to come up with forty-nine reasons?” I grumbled.
“You say you’re a creative person – start creating,” Julia ordered.
And, so, the struggle began. Getting a listing in this challenging marketplace felt much easier than complimenting me any day. But knowing I’d receive the riot act if I weren’t prepared the next time we met, I began with “I’m worth being paid for my services because I keep myself in class to enrich my talents. Because I love helping people, bring creative ideas and clarity, speak from the heart, provide a service, blah, blah, blah. Forty-something reasons later, I was exhausted.
While I’ve never had a problem with knowing what I’m capable of doing, producing such a list felt a bit egotistical. Maybe it’s that humble thing again. But, knowing I had one more to go, I thought hard. Suddenly, an old L’Oréal hair commercial came to mind, and I giggled. Sometimes I overcomplicate even the simplest of exercises. If I want others to believe in the value of my work, I must be confident that it brings meaning to their lives and charging for it is part of the process. Sitting at the computer, I proudly typed reason number forty-eight: “Because I’m worth it.”
The truth is, we’re all worth it.