One of the people we regularly meet up with is an old Durban surfer who comes for coffee at his son’s coffee shop after having gone for an early morning surf. He’s in his 70s and he lives a very simple life. He is a long-time yoga instructor who learned from one of the gurus who brought yoga to Durban in the 1980s. He’s an excellent instructor – we have a weekly private lesson with him. Like so many self-employed people, he’s apologetic about what he charges – and his charges are WAY TOO LOW!
This is just a simple example of someone who does not appreciate his worth. His free coaching session was about recognising his value and charging what he is worth. We talked about how to attach discounts to commitment – for example, he might charge you R100 per session, but if you pay for a month up front you will only pay R80 per session. We talked about how it is ok to walk away from someone who does not want to pay you what you are worth – even though it does take some courage.
I’ve had to confront this over the last year. All my clients pulled in their horns somewhat because of the impact of Covid-19 on their revenue. What would that mean for my fees? Did it mean I would have to slash them to the bone? I elected not to do this. I elected to rather adjust my fees to accommodate the fact that all my work is now online – no travel time, no plane trips, etc. It was a bit of a lean time, but if I had slashed my fees, how would I ever get back to charging what I am worth?
It’s a bit like accepting a lower salary than what you are worth because it gets you in the door, and you have been promised that your salary will be adjusted after a period of time – once they’ve seen what you can do. How many of you have fallen for that? If you start on a salary that is lower than you deserve, or lower than the going rate for the job, you nearly never catch up. It takes courage to stand firm – what if they choose another candidate instead? Well they might; and they might not. I know it is a tough job market, but I would still recommend that you stand your ground if you have done your homework and you know what you should be paid.
And what about relationships? Whether we are speaking of a love relationship, a friendship or your relationship with your manager, you need to be clear on your value and on what you deserve. Do you deserve to be insulted? Do you deserve to be fobbed off? Do you deserve to be neglected or ignored?
Let’s flip the questions. How do you deserve to be treated? Do you deserve respect? Do you deserve to be heard? Do you deserve time and consideration?
How easy or difficult was it for you to answer these questions in the affirmative and with conviction?
If you really struggled to say “Yes” to these questions, my inclination would be to encourage you to embark on a journey with a therapist – you really cannot stand for what you deserve if you don’t believe that you deserve. There is a healing journey to take first.
However, if you were able to say “Yes” with conviction, your challenge will be to start the process of asking for what you deserve and standing your ground. It might be useful for you to figure out what you will do if you don’t get what you want. In Negotiations, this is called a BATNA – your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. It is enormously empowering to figure our what you will do if you cannot get what you deserve. Will you walk away from the relationship? Will you start looking for another job? Will you impose some other consequence – such as being unavailable in certain ways? It speaks to a quotation that was shared with me today: "Find the courage to leave the table if respect is no longer being served" (Tene Edwards).
“You teach people how to treat you. You either teach people to treat you with dignity and respect, or you don't. This means you are partly responsible for the mistreatment that you get at the hands of someone else. You shape others' behaviour when you teach them what they can get away with and what they cannot.” Dr. Phil McGraw.
How do you need to stand up for yourself? Who needs to be taught to treat you differently? How will you teach them? Who do you see settling for less than they deserve? How will you help them?
Know your worth, expect the best and don’t settle for less.