Given the supportive and personal nature of the work we do here at SHIFT-IT Coach, Inc., its not unusual for clients to send us updates about how they are, what they are doing, and indicate how the outer and/or inner work they did with us has continued to impact them … often with expressions of appreciations.
These kinds of emails make us all feel REALLY good and underline the reason we are in biz in the first place … to make a difference in the lives of our clients and those they impact.
Recently we had two unusual emails … unusual given the length of time since we had last had contact (2 years in one case and 7 in the other) and unusual in that neither of these people were technically clients (didn’t actually purchase anything from us). Both had referred to complimentary Exploratory Calls they had with me that carried a lot of impact … words that had echoed for years and guidance they implemented that changed the trajectory of their work and life.
Both were very gratifying emails to receive and reflect on. On reflecting, I thought I would share a few of my thoughts about giving, the Law of Reciprocity … plus also the importance of owning and standing in the power of your value and worth.
Thoughts on Giving:
As part of the marketing arm of our business, we actively gather client testimonials (as nothing highlights the worth of our services or products better than a satisfied client sharing their positive experience). A word that surfaces repeatedly in these testimonials is ‘generous’ … that our programs, and me as an individual, give a lot. With the risk of blowing our own horn, I think this is a fair assessment … we DO give a lot. Always have and hopefully always will. And I actively coach my clients to do the same.
Why, do we give a lot? I think a lot of it has to do with being pleasers … wanting to make people happy (that is the nature of being in a helping profession). And genuinely wanting people to be satisfied in their experiences with us. While there can be a shadow side to pleasing (co-dependence comes to mind) I have also found that giving is extremely good for business (and life). Happy clients communicate their happiness to others. Giving comes back to you!
The Law of Reciprocity:
Early on in my career (and again when I moved – both geographically and subject wise) I did my fair share of pro-bono and lower fee work. Even now we occasionally donate our services or do something unexpected if it feels like a congruent fit for us. And we have always given lots of useful content in articles and on the blog and even Exploratory Calls for those who want to talk about our services (like the two folks who sent us those emails years later).
I recommend this approach to clients who are also Process Professionals as I believe that what you give comes back to you (perhaps not via the same person or group that you gave it to … but it comes back to you somehow and somewhere … as that is the Law of Reciprocity – the universe has a way of keeping the scales balanced).
Know Your Worth and Respect It:
There are a few important things to remember when giving … where the line is for an appropriate boundary and the importance of really knowing your worth.
Obviously at SHIFT-IT Coach, Inc. we are in business, and we can’t give ALL of our information and time away for nothing. So we exchange plenty more in the context of a fairly priced program. This is not selfish, it’s just a mature business boundary that keeps us in business being able to afford our staff, invest in needed infrastructure, keep developing new offerings, etc.
The other thing that helping professionals (myself included) need to watch (in business and in life) is being taken advantage of by people who are self centered or self-serving and/or downright greedy. Some folks will take, and take, and take, if you are willing to give, and give, and give … and have no qualms about it.
The onus is on us not to allow our giving nature to be harmful to ourselves. To establish a healthy functioning boundary and enforce it if need be, rather than expect the other side to change their scruples or morals. It’s important to know our worth and value … and stand nicely but firmly in it. Nobody can take advantage of you if you deeply know your own worth and value and create and enforce appropriate boundaries when needed. Good to be a ‘helping’ person but no need to be silly about it at the expense of yourself!
©2013 Christina L. Merkley
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Author’s Bio: SHIFT-IT Coach, Inc. is a boutique training and coaching company specializing in visual process work for groups and individuals. Founded by Christina Merkley, pioneering Visual Facilitator and Coach, we work deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what you really want. We also train Process Professionals from across the globe in our innovative ways of working. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com and www.visualcoaches.com.