Photo by: Robyn Woodman

It’s Not About the Money

Last week I did something I’ve never done before. Something that makes me absurdly proud of myself. But before we discuss it, I owe you some backstory.

Recently I’ve been taking stock of my life and making a mental checklist of sorts; actively ticking off areas of abundance while noting those which need a bit more attention.

I am fortunate to have a crazy amount of abundance in my life.

I’m turning 40 this year and I’m in great health, I always have been. I’ve never broken a bone, overnighted in the hospital, or visited a specialist of any sort. Just this alone blows me away, what a gift. A gift and a job well done — I work actively each day to take care of myself.

Health box: check.

I have a lovely family and a group of friends that blow my mind with their love and support. Each one unique and adding something special to my life. Even though they’re vastly different, they have one thing in common across the board. They raise their arms high above their heads and hold me up. Like a crowd at a concert, they form a cohesive bridge of support while I crowd surf toward my goals. When I stumble and fall, they throw a rope down into the hole and pull me out. In turn, I do the same for them. It’s this back and forth, the giving and receiving of love, which sustains me.

Friends + Family box: check.

I’m also very well off in the romance department. I’m in a relationship with someone that I simultaneously want to kiss and strangle. The perfect combination of love and growth, I feel more like myself when he’s around.

Each of my past relationships were important in their own way. Broken hearts and silly arguments have helped me grow and learn about myself. I’ve dated some great men; they just weren’t my great men. I learned something valuable from each one of them. Thanks, guys, I appreciate you.

Romance box: check.

In the past few months, I’ve also been thinking about another relationship that for most of my life has been rocky. Finances and how they relate to my professional life; we haven’t really been the best of friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fabulous saver and I know how to spend it wisely. I’m just not great at thinking I deserve any.

When I dig down to the root of the issue, it’s not about the money. It’s about an evaluation of my self-worth.

In the past when I have worked tirelessly for someone else’s dream, I didn’t ask for and take what was rightfully mine. I stayed in professional situations and allowed myself to be undervalued — not just financially, but as a human. Not even begrudgingly, but with enthusiasm.

Over the years, this damaging relentless voice has dictated decisions big and small. Professional direction, salary negotiation, client discounts, the list is endless. However, by far, the most damaging effect has been the “that’s for other people” mindset I have cultivated.

A fulfilling life and career with financial security? That’s a nice thought Robyn, but that’s for other people, not for you. Health insurance which actually covers your one Doctor’s visit per year? Awww Robyn, that’s so sweet. But that’s not for you either. That big girl job? And an article in that prominent magazine? Sorry Robyn, but you’re not qualified and they don’t want to hear what you have to say.

I’ve spent decades developing this limiting belief narrative. Like an old story told over and over it’s rich with detail and achingly familiar. It’s insidious, the way these thoughts creep into your brain and take over.

Except, last week. Last week I did something completely out of line with my narrative.

Among other things I am a freelance writer and I’ve been looking for new clients. Last week I received an email from a software company, asking me for a piece they could share on their own channels and distribute as well.

They gave me some specific information about the article and also asked me for a quote. My first inclination was to rush in and give them a low ball offer because I’m not worth a premium price, remember?

I composed my email response and sat reading it, the cursor blinking at me expectantly. I deleted the original number and wrote what I really wanted instead. I began to write a couple of sentences to soften the number, suggesting they could negotiate. Then I deleted those as well.

I took a deep breath and held it. I thought of my narrative and my other people mindset. And I made a choice. I made a choice to ask for what I am worth. I made a choice and sent the damn email. I didn’t care if they said no, because I knew what it was worth. More importantly what I was worth.

When they wrote back later in the day accepting my price, I did a little dance. And 5 days later when I delivered the article their response overflowed with thanks, a paid invoice, and an offer for additional work.

But it’s not about the paid invoice, is it? It’s about me and my mindset. It’s about me changing my narrative. It’s about me recognizing there’s not a group of others, there’s just us.

All of us in this together.