I adore what I do, and although I am convinced that I provide an extremely valuable service, I still struggle to talk to my clients about payment and money. And I am not alone, as the frustration that comes from feeling that personal needs are not being met comes up again and again in my client meets. Even if, as happens most of the time, these have not been clearly communicated.
Our needs are many. We all need space, time, understanding, forgiveness, love, and unfortunately and very importantly, money. For most of us, clearly and comfortably asking for what you need often takes serious inner mental work as well as persistent practice. And, I would dare to say that being able to verbalize our basic needs is as essential for our health as is rest, food, and exercise. Thus, the decision to write this piece – to help you feel good about asking for what you need from those in your life as well as saying no without feeling bad.
Our society has a cultural neurosis with money, and depending on your culture or family upbringing, there is usually some discomfort associated with talking about money. The truth is that a lot of the fear associated with asking for money has nothing to do with money but rather is due to fear of asking for anything at all. Therefore, although this post will focus on our need for money and therefore our right to ask for it, the lessons are applicable to other needs as well.
Here are some tips to help you own your needs and set limits around them:
1. Recognize that you have needs, know your worth, and live it. Time wasted in unhappy moments takes away from productive time. When it comes to money, freebies take away from pay time – so make sure how much you are worth is clear for all parties involved.
2. Set expectations with those around you. Regarding money, have a clear view on pricing, time, and objectives. If you do offer a service or have clients, clearly state how much time you will be available for the job and how much it is worth. I find it very helpful to send potential clients a written document with all the information before talking about fees.
3. Change your mindset. Do not let your dislike of asking for money be an obstacle to your own development. If your needs are not met, you will not be able to continue to do what you do. Nor will you be able to invest in your own growth and learning. Remember that getting paid fairly is what allows others to gain from your services. Moreover, when you ask people to invest in your work you are asking them to invest in their own work.
4. Believe in yourself – don’t set up yourself for failure by not believing in your worth and your needs for money/time/etc.
5. Practice, practice, practice - It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but you will get there. Start shifting your relationship with meeting your needs now.
Just to end things off, I would like to bring forth the idea of how feeling comfortable saying no to someone is very much a part of asking for what we need. I think these two are inter-related, as they are about learning how to manage a giving personality, learning how to set and maintain personal limits, and getting your needs met so that you can give and still be your best. So the next time you feel like you are stuck and unable to bring up your needs (including saying no), remember these tips and just do it – for your health!