…when it comes to money.
(And many other things.)
I am privileged.
I am white.
I come from an educated family.
I live an upper middle class lifestyle.
I have my own car. (Also, I can drive in the first place.)
My husband’s income is more than enough to support us.
I own my own time and owe none of it to anyone (that I don’t want to).
I live in a large home.
My child and his family are (mostly) self-supporting.
Our parents are all self-supporting (as are our siblings).
I have control over my own money.
I have disposable income.
When I want more money I can make it.
All of my primary needs are met (and exceeded) on a daily basis. I never have to wonder how I’ll make something (essential to living) happen.
I can easily access medical care as well as alternative health care.
I have my own space in which to do my work.
I can easily access education and resources to further my business training.
It is essential that before you and I began to talk about money (and business) that I first gave you an accounting of my privilege.
Privilege is something that is almost never earned. There are exceptions to this rule, but most of the time even the privilege you earn is built on the back of an invisible (to you) privilege you already had: family of origin, community, education, a home, etc… People do break out of unprivileged situations (and we like to talk about those stories) but most of us with privilege now were born into at least some, if not all, of it.
I myself didn’t grow up like this, but I don’t want to begin our conversations with what I once didn’t have. That feels disingenuous. Instead, it feels important to me that we begin with what I do have now, and especially what I have that I didn’t earn.
This conversation is essential because my privilege colours my every experience and way of thinking. (And yours does too, btw.)
I don’t know what it is to be a single person trying to make ends meet and earn a living off my business. If you do then to be able to support and communicate with you means that I must make an effort to think outside of experiences of what has worked for me and where I am comfortable.
And I might still be wrong.
This doesn’t mean that you and I must be in an equivalent lifestyle to work together. Of course not. Neither I nor my work is like that. But you do deserve to know. You deserve to know the tone of the glasses through which I usually see the world. And you most especially deserve to know that I know I am privileged.
I Am Passionate About You + Money
I want you to make it. I want you to have choice and freedom and adventure. I want you to know abundance. I believe that everyone has a right to living abundantly.
But one of my core values around money is that all of this must be defined only by what is right for you.
To talk to you about how you should be running a six figure business, or charging $200 an hour, or be hiring a VA and a house cleaner is to set goals for you that are based on my experience and privilege. I want you to have all of those things – and in particular to know that it is possible to have them – but only if you actually want them for yourself.
My goals and values are not yours and should never be placed on you as some sort of expectation – and especially never as a measure of your success.
To be sure that I am honouring this value we needed to begin with where I come from; with an acknowledgement of my privilege. And I believe it would serve you to examine yours too. What do you have and take for granted (I know you have them because I added to my list between writing this up and typing it here) that others do not? What are the tools and resources that you can use to leverage your finances that someone not lucky enough to be born you can not?
There are many privileges in life. And there are some that I don’t have:
- I do not have an under-graduate degree
- I am not Christian (nor am I willing to “pass” as one/let others assume I am)
- I could have an income that outpaces my expenses even more than I do
- I do not come from a family with money
- I am not a man
But that I can afford to have a graphic designer work on all my projects, I can get the best equipment for the work I’m doing, I no longer have a child I need to take care of (or find care for), that I have time to even write this… all of these are privileges that I use to serve my business in ways others can not. For this I am grateful and I intend to continue to seek how I can share the power that this privilege gives to me with those who don’t have it – beginning with this post.
What do you think? Should the very real and influential fact of privilege be something that those who serve and teach other businesses should be acknowledging and talking about? Is their privilege something you take into consideration when you apply the lessons of another teacher or coach? Should you?
February 9, 2016 1 Comment
A decade or forever ago, when my main job title was “house wife” I signed up for FlyLady (because I was actually an abysmal housewife as it turns out). You remember FlyLady right, she of the “Shine Your Sink“? Her program claimed to help you learn to keep your house clean and orderly – or to at least have a shiny sink.
Shining your sink as the minimum chore never made any sense to me. Mostly cause my sink pretty much always has dirty dishes in it. (An argument could be made that this just shows how much I needed the program, I choose to overlook that logic.)
The instructions given to us, her neophytes, were that each day we should empty our sink and shine it into chrome perfection. Of course, it would be ideal if you could wash the dishes too, but if you weren’t able to get to that then you would just put them back into your freshly shined sink and at least you’d have done that one thing. The theory being that the shined sink was a magical beginning that inspired you to keep going.
It turns out that my skepticism was actually well-founded because it’s not your sink that is magically empowered by shining it – it’s your stove.
Shiny, Shiny Stovetops
In Feng Shui your kitchen in general speaks to how you nurture yourself, but your stove (where you prepare the food that feeds and sustains you) particularly amplifies what nurtures you.
“The stove is the most critical reflection of Abundance in your home, no matter which life area it falls into. In Feng Shui, the stove is considered the energy generator of your home–symbolic of financial abundance and prospering health. In addition to keeping the stove sparkly clean and functioning properly, ensure that you use all of the burners to fire up your wealth Chi… Feng Shui says that perfect health is the highest form of wealth—by honoring your stove, you invite two great blessings at once!” ~ Tanya Jenkhe
What nurtures you is not just food, it’s people, books, experiences, your home as a whole, time in the bathtub and funny movies with people you love. We are all nurtured by a myriad of different things, and what feeds my soul may be meaningless to you, but all of these things – no matter what they are – are represented by your stove.
The quality of our day to day life is a direct reflection of the quality (and quantity) of what is nurturing us. Quality and meaningful nurturing is essential to the creation of a rich life 1
Try The Magics
– cleaning solution
– a cleaning cloth
– your stove
1. Gather your supplies at your stove. Take a moment to centre yourself.
2. Close your eyes. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your breath coming into your body. Now begin to think of the things in your life right now that are nurturing you. The last meal that you ate, the work you love, the foot rub your lover gave you, a great book you are reading… what ever they are let them begin to rise and bubble up within you.
3. Allow yourself to feel how each thing nurtures you and to see just how well you are being nurtured right. now. (This may also bring up realizations of how you could better nurture yourself but for now we’re going to stick with paying attention to what is working.) Let the feeling of it begin to overflow from your heart, filling your body and then even the space you are standing in.
4. While feeling full of gratitude and contentment shine your stove. (I shall assume no instructions are needed for this step.)
According to Feng Shui a shiny stove top tells the Universe that we are grateful for what we have and open to receive even more. But this magic also helps to anchor us in what is beautiful about what we have. It changes how we are feeling, what we’re looking at (and therefore what we are seeing) – it is a magic of perspective as well as the, you know, actual Feng Shui magic part.
Go Even Deeper with More Feng Shui Stove Wisdom:
Make sure that your stove is in the commanding position (a clear view of the room, without having your back to the kitchen while you are cooking) and not directly opposite the sink (Water Element), which can put out the Fire of your abundance and health. If your stove is not in the ideal position, you can bring harmony by hanging a clear faceted crystal overhead or a mirror behind the stove that symbolically doubles the burners (more wealth!) and allows you to see behind you. Add healthy plants (Rosemary plants are a symbol of financial independence, especially for women!) or a bowl of healthy fruit, which symbolizes increased prosperity and health. ~ Tanya Jenkhe
- I define a Rich Life as having the qualities of being abundant, vivid, meaningful, lush, plentiful, interesting, wealthy. ↩
February 5, 2016 No Comments
A few months ago I was looking for somewhere I could get one of my paintings professionally scanned and printed. You’d think this wouldn’t be so difficult to do, but scanning art requires a skill set most printers/scanners don’t have and so I followed the recommendation of a friend and contacted a place over one and a half hours from my house. I called and was told I could drop by anytime and drop the art off.
One day a week or so later I rearranged my schedule to be able to get out there during their business hours (i.e. during MY business hours) and the girl at the desk was a little shocked to see me. Apparently what the lady who does the scanning didn’t tell me on the phone is that she’s actually only in three days a week, and those are the days I was supposed to come. Not sure what to do the desk lady went to get her boss (the owner of the gallery/business).
“Stephanie (not actually her name) is only here on Mons – Weds.” It was the first thing he told me.
“Yes, so I was just told. But I talked to Stephanie on the phone and she didn’t tell me that. She told me to come anytime.”
“Well she’s not here.”
“I’m not sure what to do then. I drove a long way to get here.”
“Well you should have come on Mon-Weds, she’s not here today.”
“But she didn’t tell me that. I’m here now. Are you telling me I need to leave and come back.”
“I guess I can take your order. But really, you shouldn’t have come today. You’re supposed to drop things off when Stephanie is here.”
Yes. This was my real conversation. Guess what? I won’t be selling prints of my art for the foreseeable future because I will NEVER give that company my business again. The entire time I was there the owner was aggressive and accusatory and clearly annoyed at having to serve a peon like me.
Would It Have Hurt Him to Say, “I’m Sorry”?
Listen, I hate to apologize. I can’t even tell you. Being forced to apologize (even if I know I’m in the wrong) makes me feel nothing less than angry. (It’s a character flaw, I’m working on it.) So you can know that if I’m telling you learning to apologize – and to do it gracefully – is an essential business skill, I’m telling you this because it matters, not because I’m some kind of self-abasing entrepreneur who thinks everyone should be like me. Fuck no. I apologize to my clients and then go feel frustrated and angry for ten minutes.
But I apologize anyway because that’s the right thing to do.
A month or so ago I placed an online order from a brick and mortar store that I’ve ordered from multiple times before. I had an issue with their cart, but didn’t hear from them so I thought everything was fine. It seemed to be taking a LONG time to ship when out of the blue I got a notice that my order had been cancelled.
Not sure what happened I called them. The girl on the phone told me there was an error with the order payment processing (the problem I had with the cart) that she had been away on vacation and none of the other employees had bothered to even look at the incoming orders (i.e. do their jobs) and now two weeks later she was trying to fix everything and the only way to fix my problem was to cancel my order. I’d just have to go back and place it again.
“There’s no other way to fix this? I can give you my credit card number right now.”
“No. Our system can’t do that. You only ordered a few things, just place the order again.” The I-Don’t-See-What-Your-Big-Deal-Is was clearly implied.
The big deal was, of course, that because their cart kept effing up I’d placed the order three times in the first place before it would take. I really didn’t want to have the same problem happen again.
“Listen,” I said to the frustrated girl on the other end of the phone, “I run my own business and I can tell you’re super frustrated and none of this is actually you’re fault, but I’d like to offer you a little advice from one person in business to another if that’s ok.”
“I get that things aren’t working the way they should and that your day is going crappily and I’m not blaming you. But I honestly don’t care about all that, all I care about is how this can be fixed easily. From my point of view I’m the one who’s been inconvenienced and not gotten what I paid for and all I’d really like for you to say is: “I’m sorry this happened. Here’s what we can do to fix it.” I know it sucks because it’s not your fault but honestly I don’t care who’s fault it is.”
“You’re right,” she said, “I AM sorry this happened and…” and then I was calmly explained that placing a new order was the only option but if I wanted to do it while she was on the phone she would let me know what to do if there was a cart error again.
Here’s the honest truth:
Customers Only Care About Their Experience
When you are the customer whose waited two weeks to get her order, who was given incomplete instructions, whose just trying to get this thing you need you do not care about anything but you’re experience and getting your shit.
I mean, you might choose to care about how that person’s day is going or that it was a tech error, or something fell through the cracks. But the only safe assumption is that your very first concern is your experience. And it’s your experience that will decide whether or not you come back, AND what you will say about that person or business to others.
I get that sometimes things go wrong in business. Trust me, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and fuck ups and then I’ve gone and made things worse by not knowing how to fix those fuck ups. Sometimes it really is our fault.
And I get that sometimes it’s not our fault. Sometimes their email went into spam and you had no idea it was there. Sometimes you’re sick, or your supplier falls through. Sometimes you were super busy (not your fault) and something fell through the cracks (your fault).
And you know what. As the person who fell through the cracks, or whose email was lost, or who’s unhappy with the end result… I don’t give a fuck.
I just want the problem fixed.
I just want you to apologize and then tell me how you’re going to fix it.
Just Say You’re Sorry, Damn It!
Really. I know, I know. It’s tempting to defend yourself (because actually sometimes it’s the clients fault, but that still doesn’t matter), or explain what happened, or justify the situation. But the hardest, most difficult, most humbling thing I’ve ever learnt as a business owner is that I need to stuff all that shit down and just say, “I’m so sorry. How can I fix this with you.” or “Here’s how I’m going to make up for this.”
That’s it. Don’t say any of the rest of the things. If it was the client’s fault, or a misunderstanding then apologize and fix it in a way that closes the door on a good note, but keeps the door closed (there’s no reason to keep working with clients who don’t get you etc… but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to apologize because – remember- it’s their experience that matters to them, not yours).
Being able to look someone in the eye (or email) and say, “I’m so sorry. I screwed up/this really sucks and I’m sorry it happened to you,” this is a skill that will get you far both in business and in life.
I know that you’ll hear a lot of people tell you that running your own business means you need marketing, and social media, and copy writing or money, or SEO or networking skills – and I’m not saying you don’t need those. But I promise you, no matter what kind of business you run, whether online or off there are also a host of (often humbling) interpersonal skills that you need to thrive and one of them is saying, “I’m sorry.”
How do you react when things have gone wrong? Do you have amazing stories, or horror stories, of businesses who got or totally missed this lesson? Have you had to learn how to apologize in business? Do tell!
December 10, 2015 2 Comments
I’m currently studying the energetics underlying money and this lesson has been making a big impact in our house lately. It’s one I learnt for myself years and years and years ago, but that Jeff is truly struggling to grasp hold of right now. Do you know, in your body and the parts of you that hold the purse strings, that you deserve pleasure? Let’s find out…
…answer the questions quickly without too much thought.
1. In terms of personal needs, I always seem to be running out of…
2. If I only had a little more money, I would treat myself by….
3. I never seem to have enough…
4. I have learned to do without…
5. Something that I enjoy that I won’t let myself have is…
6. Something that I really need that costs less than $5 is…
7. Something else that I really need that costs less than $25 is…
8. Something that I enjoyed as a kid that I won’t let myself have is…
9. I never keep the cupboards stocked with enough…
10. Something that would be good for my health that I won’t buy myself is…
~ taken from Feng Shui and Money, Eric Shaffert
You Deserve Pleasure.
You deserve happiness. You deserve joy. You deserve the little things. You deserve to buy you something you don’t need.
You deserve the pint of raspberries. You deserve a night away. You deserve a new book, an ice cream cone, those lovely shoes. You deserve a few hours to yourself. You deserve some of my time. You deserve enjoyment.
Not because you’ve earned it. Simply because you ARE.
You are enough.
Deprivation is never about money… Deprivation is about punishment…Would you deprive a child of the things that make him or her happy and healthy? ~ Eric Shaffert
Share your responses – especially those that feel powerfully significant – to the quiz along with one thing you are going to buy yourself this week to remedy that problem! You can post them as a reply, Facebook, or email them to me.
July 7, 2015 10 Comments