Saturday, December 01, 2012

5. Who Is The Greatest, Most Infuriating But Essential Partner Everyone Needs To Build An Alexander Technique Business?


Have you ever been infatuated?

You are desperately in love (you think) but unable to consummate your wishes in even the minutest way! It’s the scarcity of it that makes it so thrilling - as soon as you can have what you want, your intense desire dissipates. Instead of this wonderful, ecstatic feeling, now all you can feel is slightly irritated that your newly-won partner does not put the top back on the toothpaste. One day, it is all over. You see that person for who they really are, and only then do you get to decide if you can truly love them for life. You are much healthier now!

However, most people remain forever infatuated with money - you never get to see who money is. Instead, you feel frustration and anger when you have no money; elation and delight when you get some unexpectedly; and disappointment and hopelessness when it runs out. It’s a story being repeated in every notch and cranny of this planet.

Money is a like a partner teasing you all the time - luring you in, then slapping you on the face and running away. Aren’t you tired of living in this relationship?

I know I was. A few years ago I just shouted inside: “Enough is enough - I want a divorce!” A divorce from what? A divorce from my confused and complicated thinking about money. What I discovered was simple: money was never a problem. I was the problem: my confused ideas about money caused all my frustrations.

All I needed to do was get comfortable being in a relationship with money. It is amazing how uncomfortable people are. Try out this thought experiment: When you ask money for your session, what price would cause you to feel uncomfortable? How high do you have to go before you start thinking: “Oh, that is too high. People can not afford that. I am being greedy charging that much.” When these voices start to appear, they potentially jeopardize your ability to be objective…

How do you know any of that is true?

Here’s what I discovered: other people will let me know what is true. It is not something I have to worry about! What a wonderful feeling that is. And it is true to our principles. You are not my responsibility, you are your responsibility. I can tell you how much I charge, and I can trust you to decide if you are willing to pay that or not.

If I get an inflated sense of my own worth, and start charging ridiculous prices, other people will quickly wake me up. How? They simply won’t pay. Isn’t it wonderful how the world helps me stay real?

Given how long, and how much it costs to become a teacher of Alexander Technique, teachers universally understate the value of what they offer. I know, because in my case I undervalued my skills in a confused effort to look after you. Do you do this? Do you start worrying about the pupil’s ability to pay? It’s not your job to worry about that!

But you worry, then you lower the price, thinking you are being kind, but it is equally true that you are being patronizing and arbitrary. You are in your student’s business, deciding what they can and can not afford to pay. How rude! And anyway, is that true to principle? I love the story I told previously in this blog about Alexander Technique teacher Peggy Williams - I am 100% responsible for this lesson, and so are you!

There are many, many original, innovative and reality-based ways to improve your relationship with money. What I discovered, and continue to discover, is that one of the most powerful ways to learn more about who I am is to observe my behaviour around money. If you want to know deeply about you - consider investigating your current relationship to money.

What’s the first experiment? Put your prices up. Go on - do it. See what happens. It’s an experiment to let the world teach you, instead of you telling the world what to think.

3 comments:

  1. I've only recently graduated but chose to be ruthless and make my prices comparable with osteopathy. Hasn't done me any harm yet and I wonder if people make positive assumptions about my skills based on the price. I have, however, just started a half price low cost offer for my 2pm slots as I've struggled to fill them and it's nice that I can benefit someone I might not have been able to otherwise.

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  2. Fantastic! I hope your courage is inspiring others around you to do the same.

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  3. It's strange that our society tends to use the exchange of money as an motivation to learn. People need a front-end sacrifice of having already paid. I've always gone through the back door when learning a skill. This usually has had me paying with my direct efforts rather than cash; learning by mentor/apprenticeship.
    I'd also like to target the other motivations that drive people to take notice of the value of what they're learning too - to compound their commitment. I'd like to see a blog post on how to encourage commitment - because A.T. does take some time to learn. Some of those motivating categories are: fear-need, power-control, trust or bonding, mystique and/or curiosity, pride/desire for excellence, and rebellion. Can you add to that list?
    I've also volunteered some of my time in a limited slot for those people who need pain management who can't pay because they are disabled and will commit to classroom learning. (I don't accept insurance claims.)

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