Transforming our relationship with Money

Yesterday there was a humbling moment and conversation. And a profound learning. I have always known that our relationship with money is often screwed up- and how. In my interaction with many people I see that that is one of the areas that we need to heal. But let me talk about myself and as I do, I suspect many of you will resonate with pieces of what I say if not the whole.

The simple question that often begs to be asked in our kind of profession (and in most others) – Leadership Development, Life Coaching, Self & Relationship Mastery, Healing etc. is – How much should we charge the client? Deeper related questions are – What is the value that is getting generated? How comfortable are we having this discussion? How much do I value myself? 😉

On one hand we have the whole ‘gift economy’ (Charity Focus being a great example, Seva Café and others). On the other hand we have the corporate world where profit maximisation is the name of the game. And many are asking the vital questions – How do we balance the social perspective and the profit motive. Social Entrepreneurship hence is an emergent field. And then we have movements like ‘Conscious Capitalism’- and these are larger issues. Let me come back home to the specific challenge at my hand and how I am navigating it.

One of my friends in ChittaSangha, the Consciousness Collaborative, that I am a part of decided that he will let the customer decide how much they would like to pay for his work. A bold move, I would say- also trusting of the universe.

In response to this a very wise friend of mine wrote:

For quite a while now, I have followed a somewhat similar system. When
the client and I are ready to get down to what they will pay me, I
propose looking at three measures.

a) One, what they think it is worth to them;
b) two, what they can afford to pay;
c) three, what I think my time is worth.
The third, which I provide, is a rather broad range, in which the
top end is about 2.5 times the bottom end.

And I make it clear that the fee will be the least of the three numbers.

I have never felt cheated or unhappy about the outcome of this
exercise. And I have always felt that it created a level of trust that
helped me greatly in the core of my work, which was to help the client
listen to himself (herself) in an environment of faith.

May you find the same.”

This idea really appealed to me for a variety of reasons. Especially because,

  • It would, in a very simple and safe way, bring up a difficult conversation.
  • It would enable reflection of our relationship with ourselves, reveal clarity and enable a win-win decision.
  • It would enable the client and oneself to really look at what value is being generated and charge accordingly

Essentially, it would enable authenticity, transparency and Integrity.  And healing of my relationship with money. What more could one ask for?

So I had the opportunity yesterday to have the first such conversation with a dear friend who is also a coaching client and it was so revealing. She had agreed to pay me Rs. 7500 for a 1.5 months of coaching. I happily agreed.

After postponing the difficult conversation for a while, I brought it up. Fortunately I had up front told her that this is the way I would operate. But had not actually operated like that. As a young bright colleague and another great friend pointed out to me that while I had said that’s how I would operate, how come I didn’t actually do that?

I asked my friend and client, after taking her through 2 sessions, what would be a) what it is worth to her. She said that it seems that based on the coaching that I was doing with her, her monthly income could go up from 200,000 to 400,000 and if that happened, She would gladly share 25%, no 20% seems more real (she said) of that with me – which is Rs. 80,000. Then I asked b) what she can afford for a month now is Rs. 20,000. The figure c) about what my time is worth I told her is between 10,000 to 50,000.

I am sure you sense the value of this open conversation. It is so interesting that when we are willing to be open and transparent, a lot gets cleared, healed and resolved… in fact dissolved!

As an aside, for those of you who are open to the metaphysical – it may be interesting for you to know that both the friends operate with a life path in this lifetime of ‘Power and Abundance’ (the friend who brought this process (3 aspects of value) to me and the friend who is the coaching client). This means they are here to discover, learn and teach what is the true meaning of power and abundance (Power is very different from force but requires us to understand force – and Abundance is different from money and requires us to heal our relationship with money). This is based on Dan Millman’s wonderful book, ‘The Life you were born to live’. You arrive at a number which is the total of birth date (d+d+m+m+y+y+y+y). For one of them it is 26 and the other is 35 – both of which add up to 8, the path of ‘Power and Abundance’.  You will agree no doubt, that both these wonderful souls have helped me to learn about money and abundance.

As I was writing this blog post, I posted a question in the status update on fb

”.. Most of us need to heal our relationship with ‘Money’. What is the nature of your relationship with money? Do you sense that it needs some clarifying/ simplifying?”

Some wise responses:

“Money is simply an energy. By itself, it is meaningless. Neither is any quantity of it good, nor is it bad. We need to remove judgment and ask for higher things – the things we think we can get with money – maybe the divine intends those to come to us in other ways. If we get stuck on money, we get STUCK in life!
Let the energy flow into you and out of you. Hold on to only what is necessary and grow it! Let go of the rest. Don’t let it become stagnant and be mindful of what it is going out to as well through you. Is it making the soil, soul and society better in some way?” – Nandini Gulati

“People are trying to find “something” in money..the same thing which they are trying to find in intoxicants, in sex etc. But somehow that ‘something’ is not obtained. Because that something lies as a treasure inside us and can never be obtained from outside. Even if this much knowledge comes, theoretical though, it can go a long way in normalising our relationships, not only with money, but with everything and everyone in life.” _ Sarvesh Mopkar

So, the invitation is to either try out this process or find something else which essentially enables an honest dialogue and the ‘arriving’ together at what is the ‘right’ pricing. Because we are now in the times of co-creation, of building safety and integrity in the way we work and live. And indeed, with this it becomes possible to deepen our relationship with ourselves and the apparent other. Plus discovering the relationship between net worth and self worth. On the way  to dropping the self and embracing awareness.

Conversation in facebook

Some wisdom  to transform your relationship with money:

  1. How to make a hell of a profit and still go to heaven – John Demartini is a master in this field. (book)
  2. Www.HeartOfBusiness.com – Mark Silver is a Sufi teacher and comes with very practical and yet deep wisdom to align money and meaning (website and courses)
  3. Soul of Money – Lynne Twist (book)
  4. Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin – a brilliant process to actually get to financial freedom so that you can follow your heart without having to worry about money. (a program in a book)

The gentle Power of ‘The Work’ … to evoke play ;-) – Inspired by Byron Katie

– Is it possible to move from Conflict to Collaboration, conflict that inevitably happens between two or more people in a close relationship (personal or professional, family, business or community)? – Can a community that is grappling with purpose and being conscious, benefit from turning around the projections of ‘problems’ from outside to inside? – Is there a gentle, even playful way to embrace our shadows without making it painful and arduous task to build a conscious collective? Someone said that truth must be delivered with laughter for it to be palatable. All truth must make us lighter.. In Hebrew, the word Simcha is used for a happiness that generates laughter when we contact deeper layers of reality. I have been using ‘the Work’of Byron Katie – on myself, with friends and clients- now for the last 6 years or so (since 2006 or earlier!). It has perhaps been the most liberating and freeing experience which takes us from pain and separation to peace and connection. It has often resulted in tears of love and joy rekindled shifting people’s lives relationships. Some of the many benefits and shifts I have seen people experience are:

  • Dissolves Conflict : Instead of trying hard to ‘resolve’,  the work naturally dissolves deep conflicts with others and with parts of ourselves enabling us to make peace with our ‘shadow’
  • ‘I am just another you’– Gets us to see how whatever we judge/criticise or like in the other person is so present inside us. And we become kinder with ourselves and others.
  • Spontaneous Laughter – Enables us to effortlessly laugh at what seemed to trouble us deeply as we come palpably in touch with the cosmic comic 😉
  • Positive Intention – Gets us to see the positive intention of the person whose action/ behaviour is “negative” and thus just breathe easier.
  • Enables ease and flow–  As we make friends with Reality, we can relax into our natural essence.
  • Love and Compassion – For ourselves and others involved in the situation, love naturally erupts from a place deep inside as we contact our essence and the struggle with Reality drops.
  • We begin to see very practically how,:

a)      ‘Everything happens for us, not to us’ b)      ‘Reality is kind, unlike stories of the mind’ c)       ‘Life is wise, especially when it seems otherwise’ d)      ‘What is adverse, adds a verse, many verses to the song of our life’

  • Ownership and Responsibility – There is a clear shift from ‘blaming’ to ‘claiming’ the situation. And the responsibility doesn’t seem like a burden but a creative freedom to respond.
  • Unleashes Consciousness and a Creative freedom – As we begin to see and experience several of the above, we naturally experience a certain lightness and an inner freedom to be. The inner critic relaxes and allows life to blossom.

And there are many more. For me, the Work has been like an ocean- each time I discover a new pearl, a precious stone, a new life form, a vastness. Some of the experiences that people have shared are: “…Not only did I find the ‘cognitive’ Questioning process itself opening much subconscious material for me, Kiran’s personal empathy and wisdom allowed for the exploration and resolution of many related themes, during the Work itself. The process was deeply therapeutic as I noticed a significant change in my consciousness; I was somehow unblocked and that released a huge amount of energy, compassion and love towards myself as well as the person/s I was having the issues with. I can now carry these ‘things’ much more lightly. I feel liberated. – Nilima Bhat, Co-founder ‘Sampurnah’, ‘Roots and Wings’ and ‘Cancer Awakens’ “Just a thought can turn us so sad and depressed and feel so bad about ourselves that we become suicidal. And just by questioning the thought, in a gentle way, in a loving way, with someone who is himself centred and is able to hold your space without getting too attached to you, u can experience wat I now call – ” A Free Moment”. Thoughts still come, emotions still arise, I still have feelings but thanks to you I now have a look at myself in TOTALITY and not just one side of me by shooing away the other side. It was like a glass of chilled watermelon juice after walking barefeet under the scorching sunlight for miles and miles together.” – Shikha Kundra, a facilitator, musician and friend It is a gentle and clever way of letting u create the ‘other’ possibility – to see the other view and then shift the negativity completely by examining how the other could, in fact, be beneficial. It helps create an acceptance of the here and now, of what is happening and the doer. –          Vinit Taneja, CEO, Prerna Learning Centre The first time I saw the Work I witnessed someone heal a life-long childhood trauma in a few brief minutes of realisation. The simplicity of the process struck me as genius, and since then I have used the Work for myself and for people I have worked with. Once I used it a few times, it seamlessly became part of my thought process, helping me identify and reconstruct untrue belief patterns instantly. The Work has helped me to have better self-belief and allowed me to review my ‘mistakes’ with enthusiasm. It has taught me to be more responsible for my experiences in all aspects of my life. –       Dr. Santhan Reddy, founder, Deep Red Ink I was able to clearly see that my long-held grouse about my dad’s strict upbringing was a fixed viewpoint and there were several other points I could view it from. The realisation that the problem is really not the situation but the thought in the head, opened up the possibility of choice in the way I see situations. For the first time, through this exercise, I experienced what I knew- ‘we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are’ –       Neelam Mehta, writer, trainer-on-sabattical, cancer warrior (from an article in Life Positive) I am now able to see that all of life is a reflection of who I am and in many ways, a consequence of what I have attracted towards myself. – Rohit Sasve, Vital Gardener, CoEvolve

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