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Are You Worth More Than a Latte?

Posted by Julia Stewart

I coach incredible people. Most of them don't know how great they are until they've coached with me, but all of them are amazing and once I've unleashed them, there's no stopping what they can accomplish!

We frequently have conversations about about money. How much should they charge their clients? How do they ask their boss for a raise? I have these conversations with my coach, too. 

There's a big difference between how much you think you can get and how much you really want. And I'm not just talking about money.


Play a game with me, ok? Imagine you can charge (get paid) any amount of money you want. How much would that be?
 Now imagine you live in a country that taxes 100% of your income (Yes, I know you'd move away as fast as you can. Just bear with me.) Would you still charge the same amount? 

Let's say, in this make-believe country, all your needs are magically taken care of. You get to live an awesome life, no matter what you get paid. And you never hold your money in your hot little hand, cuz it's all taxed. (Kind of like socialism, if it actually worked)
 

Now how much would you charge for what you do? Nothing, you say? Minimum wage? A million dollars? What's the difference, right?
 

Now wait a minute. You and the people you work with would relate to you and your work - as they do in the real world - a little differently, depending on how much you're paid. I'm not talking about status, roles, or power here.

Let's say you charge the equivalent of a Starbucks latte per hour. How are you going to show up for your work? Would that be an excuse to coast? And how much would other people expect from you? How much effort would they put into working with you? About as much as it would take to say, "Tall Decaf Latte, please." That's my guess.

Would you enjoy your work, then? Remember, nobody would bust you if you fooled around most of the day, but if you did, you wouldn't be providing much value to others. Would that excite you? 

Let's say you charge $1000 per hour. How would you show up differently, now that you're not just working for latte money, anymore? Would your butt be on the line? (As Mattison would say)

Would you expect more from yourself? Would others expect more? Would your clients expect more of themselves?
 Would they work harder to get $1000 worth of value?

Would the people who want to work with you be different? I bet they would!

How much more exciting would that be? How much less mediocrity would you and everyone around you tolerate?

Most of us charge what we think is reasonable (which is another way of saying: What we think people will pay us) and then we work at a level that we think is reasonable (which is about as mediocre as everyone else) and that's not very inspiring.

What if we charged what we really want to charge and did our very best to earn it? Wouldn't that be a whole different game? And wouldn't it be a little more exciting?

I once heard Donald Trump say (I'm paraphrasing here) 
"There's no limit to what people will pay for the very best. Not second best. The very best." 

Never mind how much money The Donald has. Don't you think he has more fun playing that really big game? Do you think he wishes he were more like everyone else?

And what about Starbucks? I remember when (OMG, I must be getting old with that line!) it was outrageous to pay more than a dollar for take-out coffee, but it usually tasted awful. Now $5 for a latte at Starbucks is a bit of a treat.

All it took to get us to pay five times as much was for the owners of Starbucks to have a greater vision of what a take-out cup of coffee could be. And now we're happy to pay more! How reasonable is that?

I propose that we're all worth much more than we're settling for and that the only thing stopping us is our "obligation" to be reasonable. I see people charging what they really want and having fun stepping up to the challenge and I see a lot more people charging what is reasonable and plugging along being less than they could be.

It's just a choice. What do you want to be worth?

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2007
www.yourlifepart2.com

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