Two the most crucial factors in creating a successful business is standing in your value and charging what you are worth. Even though practically all women business owners know this, it can still be challenging for many. Most women have been culturally trained to be givers. This cultural programming creates a giving “comfort zone” that can make it emotionally uncomfortable for women to stand in their value and receive what they are truly worth.
Isabelle, a drama therapist and women’s creativity coach, recently consulted with me about her therapy business. She was having a hard time motivating herself to network and promote and market her services. “I know I want to make a lot more money than I am making now. I just have a hard time “selling” and making money important. The last thing I want to become is one of those sales-y self-promoting types.” Isabelle clearly had a conflict around creating success in her business. She wanted to make more money and be successful, but how could she if she didn’t promote herself and her business?
When I scanned Isabelle’s energy field, I noticed some dark green energy in her throat area. “This dark green energy I see in front of your throat is telling me that you feel undeserving or unworthy of saying or doing something that would actually be good for you to do or say. Your fear of being undeserving or not being good enough is blocking your willpower and your communication.” Isabelle admitted that this was true, she feared coming off as too self promotional when she marketed her services. What if people didn’t want or like what she was offering? The possibility made her so uncomfortable she found herself avoiding marketing altogether.
I also noticed an area of white energy in Isabelle’s lower abdominal area. I said to her, “This white energy in front of your lower abdominal area is telling me that you have an extremely high standard about what you should or should not make important. If something does not match your ideal of what should be a priority in your life you put it on the back burner. You may even ignore it.” Isabelle admitted that this was true. She just could not bring herself to make money important. To her marketing her services and “selling herself” was making money more important than people. “But,” I said. “How can you help people if they don’t even know about you? You are actually doing them a disservice if you know you have something valuable to offer them and you are not letting them know about it.”
Isabelle realized she had a block about receiving a healthy income from her services. To her, it felt selfish and materialistic to ask for money. After all, she just wanted to help people. That was what made her feel really good about herself, not getting people’s money. “But,” I said, “part of your job is to empower your clients. You deserve and should be paid well for what you do. You are a skilled therapist with years of training. If you don’t demonstrate healthy self-care and personal empowerment to your clients, how will they be able to do it for themselves? Part of your job is showing them how.” Isabelle then realized part of her ability to be a good therapist depended on her willingness to empower herself and market her services. Her clients didn’t just need to find her and hire her, they needed to learn from her behavior and example as well.
Why is it so uncomfortable for so many women to promote themselves and their services and charge what they are worth?
Researchers at the University of Zurich did a brain activity study in female and male helping vs. selfish behaviors. They found that women’s brains tend to release dopamine (the “feel good” hormone) when they exhibit friendly and helpful behavior more than when they make selfish decisions. In contrast, men’s brains release dopamine when they exhibit more egocentric behaviors, rewarding narcissism over more selfless acts.
The researchers stated the differences don’t necessarily have an evolutionary origin, and are more likely pushed onto us from birth as part of our cultural values. “Empirical studies show that girls are rewarded with praise for prosocial behaviour, implying that their reward systems learn to expect a reward for helping behaviour instead of selfish behaviour.”
Certainly there is nothing wrong with being helpful and generous. The problem comes when women’s cultural programming causes them to over-give at the expense of their own personal and professional well being. It is not uncommon for women entrepreneurs to discount their services or even give their services away for free at the expense of their own business and financial success.
Do you ever find yourself “over-helping” in your business and then wonder why you aren’t more successful and making more money? Here are some tips to help you break through your “over-helping comfort zone.”
1)Try to see the bigger picture in when/how you offer help.
Look at what you are offering for free and to whom. Will your help make this person grow towards personal empowerment? Will there be a benefit for you besides feeling good about helping them? Will you feel like your time was well spent considering all the other priorities on your plate?
2) Be strategic with free strategy sessions.
Many coaches and consultants offer free strategy sessions. If you do, be strategic. Be a good listener, but be mindful of leading the conversation so both of you get the most value for your time. Keep the focus on helping the prospect clearly identify the real cause and extent of their problem. This will help make it clear to them what they need to do next, and will guide them to say yes to your service which is often the solution to their problem.
3) Avoid giving too much free advice.
In a strategy session or consultation, giving a lot of free advice is probably not a good idea for a few reasons: a) the helpee may feel like you have completely solved their problem, causing them to not hire you and then wondering later on why they still have their unsolved issue b) most people need help implementing several new ideas- they may not even know how to follow your advice once the conversation is over c) you may unknowingly put them into overwhelm thinking about all they need to be doing while not really knowing where to start. A more effective way is to help them clearly identify their real problem, give one or two instantly actionable tips, then ask: “What is your take away from our conversation today?”
4) Give yourself permission to say “no”
Ok, I know this is an obvious one but it can’t be over-emphasized. Remind yourself that over-helping does not help yourself or the person being helped, it merely perpetuates an unhealthy pattern. If you know you have a chronic problem saying “no” you may need to release feelings of guilt, over-responsibility and need for acceptance. Consider using methods that work at the level of the subconscious mind such as energy release work, tapping and hypnotherapy to help you release culturally ingrained emotional over-helping patterns that don’t serve you.
5) Honor and stand in your value
If you can’t comfortably stand in your value and ask for what you are worth, you may need to release limiting beliefs that are blocking you from owning and communicating your value. Many of us receive cultural messages from the day we are born that run counter to creating success in the marketplace. These messages create limiting beliefs and a comfort zone that can restrict us from being powerful leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Identifying and releasing these limiting beliefs will help you to stand in your value and more easily create wealth and success. My free workbook “5 Common Blocks that Stop Women From Wealth and Success and How to Break Through” will help you to begin to break through some of these patterns to more easily create wealth and success in your business and in your life. Get your free copy here.
I hope you found this blog post helpful? Have you ever struggled with over-helping that blocked your own success? How did you break through? I would love to hear about it. Please leave your comments below.