February 18, 2021

Are You Really Worth This Much?

I used to think it was a problem that only I faced.

The problem with music.
The problem with the music in my head.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the effect music has on me!
But not the annoying-tunes-in-my-head-at-3:00 am (what is it about that time of morning?)

Some things you hear; then they just won’t leave you alone.
Some things stay to haunt you. Perhaps for decades.

I’m particularly haunted by speeches I’ve heard.
Speeches by men and women who unsettled the world around them.
Speeches that leave me in tears, or adrenalin-rushed. Or simply in awe.
Speeches that grip me so that I can hardly breathe.
Speeches that inspire me to believe that I could do mighty things in this world.

Then, I stagger to the bathroom mirror.
And it’s only me staring back.

Ordinary, ordinary me.
Nothing special.
Nothing of any greater value than those doing a similar job to me.

So, I’m tempted to imagine that I don’t deserve to be rewarded highly.

I used to believe this crushing lie.
And my business – particularly my fees – used to reflect it.

So, I’d try to beef up my ‘Value Proposition’.
(A word I learned that sounded ever so grown up and intellectual)
You know. Throw in more amazing stuff and energy and options and precious, precious time.

The improvement in reward came grudgingly, marginally.

Then one day (this is such an embarrassing story!)…
I had this conversation which left me incredulous (actually, downright cynical).

In spite of the embarrassment, I’ve convinced myself to share with you what this bright, delightful American coach told me to do. (You’re not going to believe this.)

She said: “David, that’s ridiculous! Your impact on lives is worth far more than that!
So… I challenge you to walk 5,000 steps each day for 3 days.”

(Or was it 3,000 steps for each of 5 days?)

Then she said (Oh, this is soooo embarrassing!)
”As you walk, you’ll be constantly telling yourself “My name is David Scarlett. I’m a Leadership Coach, and my fee is (double what it was at that point).”
Then call me in a week to confirm what happens.”

You already know what I’m going to say, don’t you?
And you’re right.

Within 8 weeks I’d doubled my minimum fee!

So, the point of this cutesy little story?
Well, two less-than-cutesy points, to be precise.

What I haven’t told you was that I spent much of those 8 weeks studying client conversation notes more ardently.
Because, in those notes I found out what they really, really valued.
And it wasn’t my clever Value Proposition!
(No, the very name “Value Proposition” imbues us with the myth that what we’ve created is inherently valuable! Whereas value is only ever contained in the minds and hearts of those we serve.)

The biggest problem in my life is usually what’s rattling around in my head.
My lack of belief in the capability of my God-endowed humanity, gifts and talents.
I think they call that lack of belief ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

I am the limitation that I wrestle with.
I am the force that won’t allow me to fly. To soar.

When I shake off those shackles…
I’m just a little lower than the Angels.
Then I can be an instrument, with powers to serve beyond my natural self.

Then… I can enjoy the full, rich rewards of doing something truly valuable in people’s lives.