Know Your Worth, Know Who You Are and Listen to Your Body

Know Your Worth

It has been a challenging week. I’ve had clients in crisis, colleagues/consultees in crisis, and supervisees in crisis. It is challenging to both be there for others and at the same time take care of one’s own needs.

For the past few years, but especially recently, I have had colleagues and customers tell me that I should go up on my rates. The two services in particular being my consultation/coaching service for people who are independently licensed and my workshop rates.

Like many service providers, I’ve been hesitant about adjusting my rates. Not because I don’t think there is great value in the quality of services I provide. But mostly because I didn’t want to deal with the disappointment or push back I might receive from my current clients/customers.

I know that new people will simply say “Yes, sign me up” or “No, I can’t participate in this service.” However, prior or existing customers may not be able to afford the rate or they may not feel comfortable paying more for a service that they are used to receiving for a lesser amount.

I want my services to be accessible. I want to be able to serve “my tribe,” and like many helping professionals (woman in particular), I want others to be happy.

The true cost for me in keeping my rates low has been the following:

  • financial distress;
  • no vacations;
  • limited access to health care; and
  • working many hours above and beyond my direct service hours, where the cost is not recouped.

This is not the fault of my clients or customers, the fault is my own. I have supported the advancement and well being of others at my own professional and personal expense.

I have struggled with partnership in my life and in my business because I have a very strong identity. I like to chart my own course and do my own thing.

Know Who You Are

At times I have not partnered with others or hired support staff because I have not fully trusted that others can or will create or provide to my level and standard of creating or providing. The results of this mean doing way too much myself.

In the past few years I have gotten better about hiring help, in some cases services for which I should have hired support 15 years ago. Support staff cost money. I cannot grow, nor can anyone grow their business or themselves without the support of others. Some of that support will be mutual and free. Other support involves finding the right fit, effective communication and invoicing.

I know who I am and what I am good at providing. I understand that partnership involves compromise. I am looking forward to some new ventures with several colleagues coming up soon. I am grateful to be able to practice being myself  while being in collaboration with others. I no longer hold the view that collaborating with others will stifle my freedom and independence.

In 2008, I got on two insurance panels to accommodate the needs of some of my therapy clients. It is no longer serving my well-being to be on insurance panels. I have been preparing my therapy clients who use their insurance that those days are coming to a close. It is a very difficult transition because I do long-term therapy. I have a personal and professional connection to my clients. I know that termination sessions loom with this decision.

I know that the choices in my practice mean that some will not move forward with me. I also know that if I don’t make some of these changes, I will not move forward with myself.

Listen to Your Body

Today one of my supervisees, who thankfully is okay…let me know that she had emergency surgery. She saved herself by calling her doctor’s office and, by a series of unexpected and beautifully aligned events, she was able to see her doctor and her surgeon on the same day. She was having experiences that she kept dismissing. Among other factors, she cited remembering me using the phrase in several supervision meetings “Listen to your body.”  She did listen and honestly is alive today because she listened to the messages from her body.

I have to listen to my own body. Too many helping professionals are physically falling apart and are mentally or emotional drained. I know that my stress levels have remained high for too long…due to changes I have known that I need to make and that I have avoided.

The universe/God/coincidence whatever you want to call it…has a way of forcing change abruptly when we do not listen to our body’s distress signals.

My blood pressure has been elevated for several years. Not due to the physical problems per se, but due to the mental and emotional cost of not structuring the totality of my business in a way that supports my life. No one is coming to rescue me. I have to, like so many of yousave myself.

My holistic health doctor asked me when I last took a vacation. I told him that “I don’t take vacations.” He stated that I needed to take a real break from my day-to-day oversight including my numerous personal and professional obligations. He said take a break from the phone, e-mail and even family.

I realized that I don’t take vacations because I have been holding a belief that I can’t afford it. I have been trying too long to live off what is in some cases an unlivable income, based on making sure that others are okay. Making sure that others have access to the services that I provide.

  • I will not be a statistic.
  • I will make changes in my business model to support my own well being.
  • I will not behave as if what someone else needs is more important than what I need, and then resent or blame them for my decision to allow what in fact will no longer work for me.
  • I will trust that what I need will be provided.

Today I wore one of my favorite t-shirts by one of my favorite clothing designers Tracy Nicole at Tracy is a breast cancer survivor; a mother; an entrepreneur; and she and I graduated from the same high school. She inspires me to do what I do even though we are in completely different industries. The t-shirt was a fundraiser for a mentoring program for girls that she started called “Perfect Peach.” It says “I am enough.” I am willing that into my existence. I believe that I am enough and you are enough too.

Copyright © 2016 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

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