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KNOWING vs. BELIEVING

A conversation is recounted in the book # Shantaram  in which the character, Khaderbhai, says: “There is no such thing as believing in #G...

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Thursday, 30 May 2013

HOW DO I ASK FOR MONEY? or VALUING MY SELF, Part 3

I spoke in my last two blogs about the need to unhitch self-worth from market-worth in order to get comfortable about money matters and, in particular, in order not to under-value yourself.  How to do that?

The first, easy part, is to assess your market-worth.  This is an objective number which can be bench-marked against a basket of measures.  It is an objective exercise because money has no subjectivity about it.  Money is just a means of exchange, devoid of feelings and worthiness.  In fact, money in its own right has no value.  A banknote is just a piece of paper with a number written on it. It is only our crazy minds that have attributed a value to the number and hence a value to the note.  Even more interesting is that US$100 has a very different perceived value for someone like Bill Gates than it does for a homeless person.  Nonetheless, it remains for the world an objective measure of value i.e. what one is willing to pay for something else.

You have certain skills / gifts / experience / services / intellectual property / widgets / qualifications, all of which can command a certain price in a market economy.  Your only challenge is to determine that price objectively.  The price, or value of your services has nothing to do with what you think about yourself.  The price, or value, must be benchmarked against similar services in the market.  

NEXT TIME:  ASSESSING YOUR MARKET WORTH, continued.



Sunday, 26 May 2013

HOW DO I ASK FOR MONEY? or VALUING MY SELF, Part 2

In my last post, I spoke about the challenge for some people of asking for money, or for asking for enough money, that is asking to be paid what they are worth in the market.

The problem is that, before we  ask for money from others, all too often the first step we take is to sit in judgment of ourselves, deciding whether we are worthy of being paid or not.  We may not even realize we are doing that, because our sense of self-worth often sits at a sub-conscious level.  What we believe about our own worthiness then guides our behaviour in relation to money (and other things) and often we don't even realize that that is what is guiding our behaviour.


Once we have made up our minds (consciously or otherwise) that we are not terribly worthy, it then becomes a challenge for us to ask others to pay real money to a person who is not worthy of love, respect, receiving money or indeed much else.  "What if they think I'm unworthy?  What if they think I'm not good enough?  What if they don't like me when I ask for money?  Perhaps I'm a fraud."  The issue is that many of us actually think these sorts of thoughts about ourselves.  Then, in order to avoid the things we fear from actually happening, we don't send out the invoices, or we charge too little because that way we needn't worry about what others think of us.


The problem here arises when we create a direct link (consciously or not) between how we perceive our worth as human beings with our entitlement to be paid a fair fee for our services.  Un-coupling or de-linking self-worth from market worth and understanding them as two completely different concepts is the first step to both financial and emotional freedom.


How to do that?

The first truth is that money is just a means of exchange.  It has no feelings, no thoughts and no baggage.  It is simply a commodity.  If we are to earn money, we are required to produce value which others (those paying the money) regard as equivalent to the money we require.  Money has NOTHING to do with who we are inherently as human beings.  It relates only to the fair market-value commodity/service/skill/expertise we provide.

The second truth is that we are all worthy: worthy of respect, of being loved and worthy as human beings.  So who are we to judge ourselves as unworthy?  Our worth as human beings is beyond being valued, so it makes little sense to link it to the amount of money we think it is fair to charge.

How then do we separate self-worth from market-worth in a way that stops us from connecting our entitlement to the one with our perception of the other?

NEXT TIME: MEASURING MARKET WORTH

Thursday, 23 May 2013

HOW DO I ASK FOR MONEY? or VALUING MY SELF, Part 1


I know a guy .who hates asking people for money.  Actually, I know quite a few people who feel uncomfortable asking others for money, especially for services which they have rendered.  Which seems strange, really.  If you have given value for something, why shouldn't you be paid a fair fee for your expertise, skill or knowledge that you provided?

Even if you don't find it challenging to present your invoice, you might nonetheless find it difficult to ask someone else to pay you what you're objectively worth in the market.  So you ask for less than the market rate and then end up feeling hacked off and resentful that you have been underpaid for your services, when in fact you never asked to be paid enough in the first place.

Why doesn't this guy like to ask to be paid for his services?  And what is it that so many other people find so difficult about asking to be paid for their services?  Well, the person to whom I was speaking thinks he might not be worthy enough to be paid, or at least not worthy enough to be paid what everyone else gets paid for similar services.  It's therefore easier simply not to ask, or to ask for a low amount which is unlikely to be questioned or rejected.  (Because if it is questioned or rejected, then it proves in his mind that he must be unworthy, I guess.). This seems to be the challenge of everyone who battles to ask for money, or for fair value.

The secret lies in several steps, including distinguishing self worth from market worth.

NEXT TIME:  DISTINGUISHING SELF- WORTH FROM MARKET WORTH

Monday, 20 May 2013

"YES, BUT HOW DO I CLEAR THE OBSTACLES?"


Last time I spoke about us having obstacles which get in the way of us achieving and being our personal best in the areas if our lives.

You may have thought of all sorts of obstacles: money, lack of opportunity, ignorance, time and others, to name a few.  My view is that the most common and biggest obstacle to us living the life we would prefer is..... Fear.  

We get scared of what others might think, how much effort might be involved, how powerful we might become and then not be able to manage, that we might fail and what that might mean about us, that we'll be found out as frauds or failures, that we'll offend others and what that might mean about them and us, that we're just not good enough and a myriad of other cr*p that our minds make up to hold the fear in place.

The fear sits on the path like an impenetrable barrier between you and possibility, confining you to your life as it is right now, cutting you off from the way it could be, the way you really want it.

And the way through the barrier, to melt the screen of impenetrability?  It is about summoning all your courage (which you have, and have always had) and walking, wriggling or squeezing your way through the barrier into the realm of possibility, where choice abounds.  Moving through the fear is like going through the proverbial eye of the needle: it is going to take some effort to get through that eye, but actually it's the only way to get to see and experience the Kingdom of Heaven. In order to go through the fear, courage is required.  

And where do we find courage?  Often covered up somewhere deep in our recesses.  It requires breath, sometimes a lot of it, to re-ignite it if its been covered over for a long time.  The interesting thing about courage is that we don't necessarily stop being scared when we have it, but it helps us transcend the fear, to be bigger than the fear.

When we access that courage, we can make clear and inspired choices about changing our behaviours, attitudes, circumstances and lives.  Courage also has us take a big view of the consequences - if that's what its going to take to get your life back, then live with the consequences.  The chances are you'll discover that the ones you feared aren't real anyway.

If you want and are willing to keep every part of your life just as it is, then stay scared.  Otherwise, identify your obstacle (s), take some breath, clear it/them away and reclaim your life.

Next Time: WHAT'S MY WORTH?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

SO, WHAT'S GETTING IN YOUR WAY?

If you:

  • Aren't following your passion
  • Hate your job
  • Aren't making the money you want
  • Behave in a way which evokes any sort of reactivity in people around you
  • Aren't having fun in your life
  • Are in a toxic or unfulfilling relationship anywhere in your life
  • Feel hopeless about your life or some aspect of it
  • Are unwell in some way
  • Don't know where you are going or why you do what you do
  • Feel awkward communicating with others (about money, life, relationships, spirituality, sexuality or most anything)
  • Keep on asking what It's all about,

how is that working for you?  If it's not working, the chances are that there is an obstacle in your life (maybe a few) that you aren't addressing. 

 Most of us know what those obstacles are, or could at least figure them out with a bit of probing, so the amazing thing is why, if we know there is something getting in our way that is preventing us from doing what we want, being the best we can be or simply improving the quality of our lives, we choose rather to wallow in our discomfort and confusion and keep on doing what we've always done, hoping for a different result, or hoping that someone else - or perhaps Life - will sort it out for us one day, maybe.  The wallowing somehow gets comfortable and one day we wake up and discover that a whole part of our life passed by unsatisfactorily and we did nothing to sort it out.

Getting what you want is about seeing and choosing your path, identifying and then clearing away what's blocking the path so you can proceed. It's that simple.

Next time: "YES, BUT HOW?"


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

WHEN WE JUST CAN'T SAY "NO"...

Of course, it's never impossible to say "No".  Saying "No" is simply a choice we make each time we are presented with anything by Life.  Sometimes it is hugely challenging to say "No", especially when we fear the consequences of peer pressure, personal harm, discomfort or the effort involved.  

Saying "No" is about making a choice in your life which aligns your words with your actions, feelings and thoughts.   When every feeling and thought screams "No!" about:


  • Breaking promises
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Being physically, verbally or sexually abused
  • Political, religious, gender, etc. intolerance or discrimination
  • Taking on too much work
  • Hanging out with toxic people
  • Not taking good care of yourself
  • Selling out on yourself
or anything else that doesn't fit with your personal values, integrity or vision, it's time to say "No", or "Enough", however tough the challenge.  

If you carry on saying and doing "Yes" and feeling "No", you just keep on selling yourself and your personal integrity down the river.  Given that you don't have much more to offer than your personal integrity and authenticity, saying "No" isn't a bad option.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

MAKING SPACE FOR MIRACLES


'Miracle' (n): An extraordinary event that surpasses all known human or natural powers....Such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.

Miracles happen all the time and all over the world.  They often happen despite our insistence that they cannot happen, and despite our obstinate refusal to believe that they are possible.  Often we do not even recognise them as miracles.  Miracles are hampered when we place our judgments of impossibility on them.  By regarding them as impossible, or even unlikely, we close off ways for the miracles to manifest.  Our behaviour and thinking hinder Life from delivering miracles.

All that it takes for miracles to happen more easily is to remain open to their possibility.  Not to expect or demand that they do happen, because when we do that we are bound to be disappointed when things don't manifest as we wanted.  When we truly want to bring about a miracle, Life (or God, if you prefer) is simply calling us to be open to the possibility and to align our behaviour and thinking in such a way that that possibility can become a reality.  

Whether it be the healing of the 'incurable' illness, the conception of a child by the barren couple, the return of abducted children, reconciliation and healing of nations, or personal relationships, rain to ease the drought, finding your soulmate or beholding the transition of a child with its own personality from baby to adult, all we need do is envisage and open completely to the possibility.  Life will find the way.

Friday, 10 May 2013

JOY IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPECTATION


I was driving to a conference at Sun City the other day.  The landscape all around me was bushy, with hills in the distance, but the grass had turned grubby white and bland, as it does in winter in those parts.  There was still a bit of greenery in the indigenous bush, but the landscape was starting to take on the slightly monotonous, boring winter coat of the Highveld.

All of a sudden an enormous field of flowering sunflowers appeared a little way off the road, interposing itself between the bleak roadside grass and the distant dark hills, creating a stark contrast of vibrant yellow colour in a landscape of otherwise unremarkable hue.

I was not expecting this extraordinary vista, so beholding it in all its splendour allowed me to access that joyous part of me which opens up when I am in the space of beholding with no expectation.  

That is the opportunity open to us all: when we behold things as they materialise in our lives, but have no expectation or demand about how they should be, we see the world at every moment with new eyes – the eyes of the excited explorer, lapping up the freshness of each experience.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

"...SOMETIMES MY FEELINGS GET IN THE WAY..."


I was speaking to someone the other day who was sounding and feeling disheartened about some expected opportunities which had not yet materialised.  The usual vitality in her voice was gone, her natural exuberance and enthusiasm for life was palpably diminished and she was sounding negative about several incidents which had come into her life, uninvited and unwanted.

The next day I learnt that literally over-night a couple of the doors on which she had been knocking and which had been unanswered at the time of our first discussion, opened.  That day a few bouncy messages came in from her: “My energy is back… sometimes my feelings get in the way… I am inspired to work even harder now…”.  She acknowledged her own dip the previous day and saw how her feelings (of despair, disappointment, frustration and anxiety) had got in the way when her mind had started playing games with her after her expectations were not met. 

How easy is it for us to let our minds get in the way and start telling ourselves things like: “You’re not going to make it … You’re going to fail….You’re a loser … You’re a failure … You’re not good enough” when our expectations and demands are not adequately met?  The moment we have expectations, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment when they are not met.  By all means, put some realistic expectations in place, but understand that if they are not met, your potential for suffering increases exponentially.

Also understand that, whenever you are feeling down, it is merely because your mind has got you and is making statements which, when you test them for truth, will almost always be found to be untrue.  Noticing your feelings will be the way you know your mind has started playing loser games with you.  Notice your feelings: if any are getting in your way, check out what untruths your mind has been telling you about yourself, others and Life.

Monday, 6 May 2013

UN-INSPIRATION: IN SEARCH OF RE-INSPIRATION

Have you ever found yourself in that place of being uninspired?  Not inspired to exercise, diet, create something, be sexy, find a new job (or make your current job buzz), be the life and soul of anything, cook, entertain.....It happens to all of us at some time.  The problem is, the longer you leave it, the deeper inertia sets in.  Then one day you discover that you have become overweight, bland, ordinary, resigned, boring or whatever other labels you have put on yourself, and it's even harder to find inspiration.  The hole simply gets deeper the longer you allow yourself to wallow.

Lack of inspiration is insidious, allowing mediocrity to sneak up like the proverbial thief in the night, robbing us of our very essence and spirit.  What's the way out?

Start by setting a goal.  (A vision or purpose may be too challenging when you're in an uninspired place.)  It needs to be short-term, realistic, measurable (so you know when you've achieved it), time-based and, most importantly, must bring about one change that you want in your life.  One thing, no matter what it is, that will mean something to you and improve the quality of your life somehow.  Tidying that desk/garage/study; having a make-over (or even just tidying yourself up somehow); finding one way to make yourself more efficient or productive; choosing (or resuming) a hobby; going for a walk or a jog; starting a diary; and so many more possibilities....

Then do it.  No excuses, no fuss: like Nike, just do it.  The next step is to acknowledge yourself for what you achieved.  Feel your grateful for the change in your life and see the value that you brought (and can keep bringing to) your life.

When you're done, try another one.  And another, and another...until you break the inertia and get going again.  The more successes you have, the more you will reunite yourself with your inspired self and start getting truly purposeful.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

ACCESSING ABUNDANCE


If we want more abundance in our lives, our first challenge is to recognise, embrace and feel gratitude for that abundance which is already in our lives.  There is abundance everywhere: air, beauty, sunshine, love, people, work, opportunity and (dare I say it?) money, amongst others.  Which resources are already plentiful in your life?  Do you recognise them as resources? And if a particular resource is in your life already, do you recognise it as being abundant and are you expressing your gratitude for it?

Some things which are in abundance may not yet be easily accessible to us at this very moment, which is not to say that they cannot be accessed.  It is only the limits we place on ourselves which lead us to conclude that we cannot have abundance in our lives.


When we recognise a particular resource to which we do not yet have full access it does not help to covet it.  That is likely to make it even harder to access.  We are rather called to create and keep open channels to that resource.  We start by expressing our gratitude for all that is already in our lives.  We let go of the idea that we are not worthy of having that resource, or any similar limiting belief.  And we apply the universal law of reciprocal energy: if we want more love, we must give more love.  If we want to experience the generosity of others, we must give with no expectation.  If we want to be cared for and nurtured, we must be more caring. If we want more money, mean-ness will not serve our purpose.  We need to engage with money, and whatever issues we have around it.  Above all else, if we cannot be grateful for what we already have, we are unlikely to be gifted anymore.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

WHEN YOU ACHE ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE'S LOSS

I heard today that one of our local shop keepers had lost his wife a few months ago. I have used the services offered by his shop infrequently, but for some years, so was acquainted rather than friends with them.  Although I didn't know them well, they were gentle souls and the two of them presented a wonderful and harmonious partnership in the shop - an idyllic relationship on the face of it.  And after many years together, he is still bereft, with this gaping hole in his life.

Last week I renewed my acquaintance with someone from my school days who too lost his wife not long ago.  Speaking to him, and reading some of his writings, he also has a huge hole in his life which cannot adequately be filled.

These two men have lost their soul-mates and somehow they now have voids to fill.  I hear of people dying all over the world so frequently, some close to home and some not so close, and somehow expect that I would be immune to that sort of news by now.  But I'm not.  I find myself aching for these men, and I ache for all those who lose their mates, children, siblings and parents.

I can't especially explain the ache in any terms other than that, at some level, we are all one, so the loss by one person is a loss to us all.  It is as if our one-ness is revealed to us through our empathy, as if that particular feeling has been gifted to us to remind us of the universal connection we each have with everyone else on the planet.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

ARE YOU WORKING FROM DESPERATION OR INSPIRATION?

Happy Workers' Day!  If you're working out of desperation rather than inspiration, you can't be having much fun and your desperation will be apparent to all around you.  Consider whether you can bring a different energy to your workplace: one of wanting to be there, one of wanting to make a difference, of pride and creativity and then notice how your work can take on new meaning for you.