Learn a valuable lesson on owning your value and charging your worth and why insecurities are a learned behavior you need to unlearn to achieve your goals.
Why is it that as freelancers, business owners, and entrepreneurs we often struggle with owning our value and charging our worth?
- Is it because of fear?
- Are we afraid of judgment?
- Are we concerned with what others might think or of what they may say?
Whatever the reason, understand that your feelings around charging your worth are learned feelings. We don’t doubt ourselves and what we bring to the table as children. Those feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and uncertainty are learned feelings that were created by comparison and the societal rules, judgments, and expectations put on us by other people.
When we are young, we have oodles of confidence and we believe in ourselves. We believe we can charge $2.00 for a paper cup of lemonade. We believe other kids will want to play with us on the playground. We believe everyone will buy a bar of chocolate to support our sports team. We believe in who we are and the decisions we make because we haven’t yet learned of comparison and insecurity.
A Kindergarden Flea Market Challenges The Notion Of Worth
My daughter Natalie’s class was learning about money. To reinforce their lessons, the teacher planned a class flea market where each child brought in three things from home to sell at their desk. In the weeks leading up to the flea market, students earned pennies, nickels, and dimes for good deeds at home and at school. Most students earned around the same amount of change that would be spent at the class flea market.
On the day of the flea market, Natalie picked out two small toys and a book to sell and headed to school excited about the day’s activity.
When I picked her up, she was radiating with excitement and was smiling as if she had just won the lottery. I asked how the flea market went and she opened up her paper bag to show me several toys and A LOT of money.
I was seriously concerned. How did she end up with so many toys and so much money — more money than she began the day with?
I asked a lot of questions trying to find out how she ended up with everything, but she was only five and couldn’t explain things very well. I even asked if she accidentally took someone else’s things home but she was insistent that she simply bought and sold her items and her money was what was leftover. At that point, I knew I needed to talk to her teacher.
The next day, I arrived at school early to get the full story. Her teacher told me that in the thirteen years she had run this exercise in class, not one student has ever done what Natalie did… At that point I was secretly freaking out, but when I heard what happened, I was shocked and proud.
You see, each child was responsible for setting the price of the items they had to sell and creating the price tags. While most children set their prices at one penny per item, Natalie priced each of her items at ten cents! As a result, she raked in the profits and even bought her little brother a present.
When I asked why she priced her items the way she did, Natalie looked me in the eyes, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “My toys and book were worth more than a penny to me. They were worth a lot.”
When I asked if she was ever scared no one would pay a dime because everyone else was only charging a penny, she looked at me as if I was crazy and responded with, “No, I was selling the best stuff. Plus, I only needed to sell one thing to get everything I wanted.”
She didn’t care what any one else thought and she didn’t price her items lower just because everyone else did. She knew in her heart what her offerings were worth and stood her ground.
And do you know why the other children paid her higher prices for the same types of toys all the other children were selling? They gave her exactly what she asked for.
This was a huge #proudmom moment.
Natalie wasn’t afraid to stand tall, communicate the value of her items, and ask for the sale, and she definitely wasn’t afraid of a little competition. What’s incredible is that as children, we were the same and had the same confidence level.
Comparison, insecurity, inadequacy, and uncertainty is something we learn as we grow up. Without the proper support, encouragement, and mentorship, it can fester and spread, causing us to struggle to confidently communicate our value and charge our worth as adults and business owners.
I learned three valuable lessons from Natalie and that flea market:
- Lesson One: We talk a lot of business in front of our kids. Strategy, approach, pricing, you name it. Never underestimate how much of your conversations rub off on your children.
- Lesson Two: All the negative feelings and fears I experienced around charging my worth are feelings and fears I let in. I allowed them to grow and affect me and my business and it was up to me to change my mindset.
- Lesson Three: To truly move forward and step into my own power as a business owner, I needed to rediscover my unabashed childhood confidence, believe in myself and the value of the services I was delivering, and ask for the sale with the expectation that I will get a yes every time.