Friday, October 16, 2009

Embracing Your Potential to Earn What You’re Worth

Embracing Your Potential to Earn What You’re Worth

A new friend I met through a local Scrabble Meetup took my marketing series, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! She was interested in finding low- to no-cost ways to build her practice as a CPA who specializes in helping people deal with the IRS. The interesting thing was that halfway into the series, she said she was “really uncomfortable with all this marketing stuff.” She was reacting to what she perceived as the idea of learning to manipulate people into buying from you.

I remember having that same belief/reaction when I was choosing my major in college. Advertising interested me – but prosperity was a dirty word in our strict Catholic house because “God wants us to suffer” – so I found myself reviling the idea of helping rich companies get richer. Now, it’s what I do for a living. The big difference is that the companies I help are small, often fledgling enterprises that need all the help they can get if they are going to survive.

At a recent presentation I did on how to write effective media releases, one of the gals said she’s just not good at self-promotion. I asked her why – she claimed she didn’t know. My friend Connie Kadansky has built an entire practice around teaching people to get over the fear of prospecting and self-promotion, and she’s very, very good at it. I think it all comes down to two things. The first, I already mentioned: prosperity consciousness. We’ve got to be comfortable earning money, because isn’t that the whole goal of marketing – to find people who need our products and services? The second is the underlying reason for our discomfort earning money, which I believe has to do with our self-worth. We’ve been incorrectly taught that money is the root of all evil (the quote is actually “the love of money is the root of all evil”) – so we figure that if we’re earning what we’re actually worth, we are somehow out of integrity with “proper behavior” or “God’s law.” What an ugly, wrong thought. Contrary to what I was taught as a child, GOD WANTS US TO PROSPER!

I don’t think there’s one clear answer for getting past this antipathy toward self-promotion, prospecting, and marketing. It all has to do with changing your mindset. I can tell you what worked for me.

About number of years ago, I read a book called The Secrets of Attraction, by Sandra Anne Taylor. While it was not my first introduction to the Law of Attraction, it was perhaps the best book I’ve ever read on the subject (although I’ve not read the book version of The Secret, the movie was also very good on this subject, for both novices and semi-pros). Now the subtitle of Taylor’s book is The Universal Laws of Love, Sex, and Romance, so it did not even have anything to do with money, per se. But it was all about self-worth, and the fact that we create in our lives what we focus our energy on.

This is true in all areas, be it our love life, our weight, our homes, or our careers. So if we don’t think we deserve anything very good, that’s exactly what we create. If we walk around thinking, “I’m so broke,” or “I don't have enough clients,” or “How come nothing ever goes the way I want it to?” we inevitably create more of that.

The first step toward breaking free of these self-sabotaging – often inherent and transparent (as in, they’re so ingrained you aren’t even aware you’re thinking them) thoughts and beliefs – is to become aware of them. The second thing is to focus on what you do have – and learn to express endless gratitude for it.

I remember talking to a gal I worked with at the Arizona Diamondbacks ticket office back in 2002/03. She was a spoiled rich girl who was having a bad day. I suggested she write a list of things 10 she was grateful for. She couldn’t think of more than five. I could rattle of 100 things right now … things we often take for granted, but for which – when we stop to think about them – we can and should be profoundly grateful. I woke up today (1) in a comfy bed (2) to music on my alarm clock (3). That’s three right there. I got up and walked (4) to my indoor-plumbing toilet (5) and then grabbed my cell phone (6) to text my boyfriend (7). That’s four more right there. I took my dogs (8) for a walk outside (9) on this beautiful October morning (10) in Phoenix (11). Four more. You starting to get the idea?

If we can start appreciating all the gifts in our lives – both small and big – it’s easier to shift our focus away from what we do not have. And one of the best ways to incorporate this practice of gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal – a place where you regularly record everything you have to be thankful for in your life.

Next up, Taylor suggests in her book the use of affirmation cards. Affirmations are statements you write in the present tense about what you want your life to look like. “I easily reach my goal weight of ___ pounds.” “I live in the quaint, comfortable home of my dreams.” “I am welcome everywhere I go.” “Opportunities greet me every day.” “I am lovable, and I reflect love to others.”

Now I’ve been hearing the affirmation recommendation for some time, but Taylor did something I’d never seen before. She honored the fact that for some people, making positive self-statements might be really hard. After all, if you’ve spent your whole life listening to others tell you why you’re unworthy, and you now embrace those negative thoughts and shower them on yourself multiple times a day, it can be very challenging to start thinking differently (i.e., positively) about yourself. So she gives you permission to start with baby steps. Start by writing, “I am ready to consider that I might be worthy of earning what I’m worth.”

Once you’ve got your cards written out, you want to read through them two or three times every day – more if you can. It might help to make several sets and keep one in your purse, one in your car, one on your night stand … all the places you might find a few free minutes.

So how did I do at this task? Really well at the first part. I not only wrote affirmation cards, but I cut out pictures I affixed to each of them. Then I laminated them and put them in a box I decorated with positive messages. And then I set the box on a shelf, where it stayed, collecting dust, for more than 5 years. I am not exaggerating. OK – I'm not saying I never used them ... but literally, if it was once or twice a month, that was about it. And they really sat on that shelf for 5 years.


For some reason, though, I finally decided to take the box off the shelf and give some real energy to the affirmations. I’d heard that they become even more powerful when you record yourself reading them aloud, and play the recording back. So I did that. I recorded the affirmations into my digital recorder. Then I uploaded them to my laptop – and put them on my MP3 player. I listened to them once a day when I was up, conscious, and moving around, and once at night, just as I was about to fall asleep. The time just before sleep is supposedly when our minds are the most receptive to the power of this type of suggestion. Now I won’t say it was due to the affirmations alone – one of the big criticisms of The Secret was its failure to mention that the word “ACTION” is a key aspect of the Law of Attraction – because I also began to take new steps and actions. But sooner than later, I had radically shifted my consciousness about money. And romance. And worthiness. And my life’s purpose.

I’m pretty sure it will work for anybody who’s willing to put in the time and energy. One of my friends adds that you can’t do it part-time, or go all in for a couple of days, and then go back to your old ways. This is very true. You’ve got to repeat these processes – the gratitudes and the affirmations – until they become a habit, your new way of doing things. Don’t be surprised or judge yourself if occasionally you find yourself backsliding – that’s human nature. Just pick up where you left off. As long as you’re staying with it, you will continue to see progress.

So what does this all have to do with marketing? Simple. You can’t market – create relationships and then talk to people about how your product or service can make their lives better – if you don’t believe in what you’re selling. And underneath it all – whether you’re selling copiers, tires, consulting, carpet cleaning, real estate, counseling, skincare products, or anything else – what you’re really selling is yourself. If you wouldn’t do business with you, why should anyone else?

Trust me on this one – you’re worthy of much more than you are allowing right now. But you can learn to attract good things if you start with baby steps and keep on building.

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1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful and amazing perspectives as usual. I am actually working on a book that addresses the prosperity consciousness as you put it in the lives of Christians with specific Biblical references that debunk this erroneous mindset.