We recently looked at why it can be so difficult to receive. When combining the many “scarcity messages” society provides us along with a lack of self-worth the results can be devastating. This to the point of consciously knowing we’ve earned the right to receive while subconsciously — and unconsciously — not allowing ourselves to do so.
The post resulted in a number of emails. One was from a reader who — in extending herself far past the point of client expectation — wondered if that was appropriate or if she was simply allowing herself to be taken advantage of. She wondered if she should ask for additional compensation, but noted she felt “guilty” for even thinking it.
In other words, was she simply “giving additional value” because it was the right thing to do or was she being self-sacrificial? And, that’s a very important question.
If you ever have similar questions regarding your thoughts or actions, please consider asking yourself the following:
“Am I doing this consciously (and feeling good about it) or unconsciously (and feeling a bit yucky)?”
In this case, the question might be, “Am I providing this additional value because it’s congruent with my belief system of giving as much value as I possibly can? Or, because an unconscious lack of self-worth says that I’m not worthy and must do even more in order to justify the money I am receiving?”
You can decide whether you should inform the client that you’ve found an additional way to add value to the relationship (that was not part of the original agreement) and that you’d need to charge additionally to pursue that. Or, you might decide that it’s a natural part of what you had agreed upon and simply act upon it in order to provide a knock-your-socks-off customer experience.
If you choose the second option because it is congruent with your values and will result in happiness and peace of mind, then that’s terrific. If, however, it’s because you subconsciously feel you are not deserving and must be self-sacrificial, then that’s more than likely a self-worthiness issue and should be treated accordingly.
Please know that the worthiness issue is something we all (at least “I”) continually need to work on. The key is to keep working at it and to keep growing!
What are your thoughts, most awesome readers?
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Congruency with our own personal priority values is key to feeling content with our response to any given situation – spot on Bob.
Self worth is a struggle – we all live with the voices of others in our heads who question whether we “earned” our rewards. I take comfort from knowing that no client… even the most demanding ones who always seem to want more for their pennies… will ask you or me for something that we are either incapable of or that they do not believe will be useful/valuable to them. So, given that they see you and me as capable and worthwhile, there is every reason for us to think of ourselves that way too!
Jackie: Thank you. As always, your responses are both kind and filled with wisdom. The other area I’d look at regarding self-worth and “voices” is our own. Sometimes, our internal voice is more critical on us than those of others. I can recall a number of times when I’ve had to suggest to people doing consulting work for me (in other words, I was their client) that they were not charging enough. As we discussed their situation and business, they were shocked to realize that a lack of self-worth and underestimating the value they were providing to others was at the root of their undercharging. I was very fortunate early in my speaking career when a fellow speaker helped me realize the same thing about myself. Again, thank you so much for commenting and for being a very valuable part of our discussion!
Great post as you said, we are all human… and are all continually growing and dealing with some aspects of self worth on some level.
Carly: Thank you for your feedback. And, right on. It’s about understanding ourselves and continued growth, isn’t it?
I have never met the perfect person. With that as my premise, I would readily admit at age 68 I’m still a work in progress. I talk with people every day who aren’t sure what giving means. They sometimes do it out of a sense of guilty, sometimes out of the joy of giving and other times because they are feeling good about themselves that day. All these happen to everyone at various times. Thank you for articulating a concise definition of what we ALL experience.
Interesting… very interesting. My default about 70% of the time is the “knock-your-socks-off customer experience choice. There is a condition that includes balancing the additional time and effort vs current case biz/family demands and expected results. The other 30% of the time I present options and fees for client’s final decision. Long-term value and relationships are always considered.
As for “why” I feel this way (confidence, happiness, peace of mind, deserving, self-sacrificial…), well, that’s well above my pay grade and I’m going to leave that opinion to the experts 🙂
Mitch: Indeed, and I hope I didn’t mis-communicate my intended message. A “knock-your-socks-off customer experience” is practically ALWAYS the right choice (as is being well-compensated for it). The question was more along the lines of being aware of whether what we were doing was out of conscious choice in alignment with our values (to provide that awesome value) or because we didn’t feel worthy of charging a fair fee for what we were doing and so felt the need to be “self-sacrificial”, etc.? Please let me know if I need to re-write some of the post in order to avoid confusion.
Bob- Your post (as always) is clear. For me, it’s always a conscious choice. Probably inline with values and a desire not to let my client down. BTW, always know and appreciate the fact that confusion, if any, is usually self-induced and radiates from this end of the internet 🙂
Mitch: Actually, before seeing your second message I did something I usually don’t do – I made a slight adjustment in one line (2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence) because I myself felt I might have been unclear. Hopefully, it now reads a bit…”more better-er” 🙂 (And, I do believe the confusion radiated from *this* end of the Internet) LOL!
Doug: Thank you. And, you’re looking GREAT at 68! 🙂
Fascinating topic. I agree much of it is how you feel when you are doing it.
Finding the right balance between knock your socks off value, price and the cost of delivering that value is the key. If your business is not making a profit, something is wrong in the equation.
Doug: Thank you. Great points in all regards!
A really interesting topic. I can empathise with the person in this discussion and have grappled with similar thoughts and decisions myself.
My natural tendency is to provide “knock-your-socks-off” service and most often I feel really good about doing it as it gives me a sense of pride that I have done a good job. The problem is recognition.
Previously (and hopefully again sometime soon) as a consultant, I found myself in a situation where I far exceeded what the customer was expecting. Other than verbal recognition for a job well done there was no discussion about increased fees in fact, with this company pressure was being continually placed on consultants to reduce fees.
I suppose I was not brave enough to stop and renegotiate my fee (and risk losing the client), but I think this is the dilemma being faced by the person in your blog. Should I have brought this fee disparity to the attention of the client? Or should I just continue to give and give in the hope that it would be recognised.
In summary, I think its great to give and provide over and above what was expected, and to feel good about it. But I also believe that there is a point when you can feel that you are being used and that makes you feel, as you put it, “yucky”.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer on what to do when you reach that point.
Keith: Thank you for sharing with us. Without knowing your unique situation and what the “scope” of your agreement contained (thus, I can’t answer based on knowledge) I think there are two points here: The first goes back to why you are doing it (which was the premise of the original post itself) and the second is, what were the expectations both from your client and from you? And, would there be a reasonable expectation on your part for being able to renegotiate after the agreement was in place. If the client asks you to do more than what was agreed upon (often known as “scope-creep”) then, indeed, you might consider tactfully explaining that for this additional value you’re being asked to provide you’d need to be compensated for it. If, on the other hand, you are taking it upon yourself to do so, then it might simply be part of that “knock-your-socks-off” service. Of course, if it’s something where, to do so, it would “cost” (not just financially but that could include other areas) you more to do this because you’ve discovered something unique and additional that can add significantly more to the client, that again is something else to consider. You can then them know that this is another area of value you could take on, and that there would be a fee to do so. Again, I apologize that I can’t be more specific because I don’t know the situation, but I hope that provided something for you to consider. Anyone else have some thoughts I might have missed?
Bob: Thanks for your reply.
I think the main point is to be aware of the point where “knock-your-socks-off” becomes “scope-creep” and negotiate an appropriate compensation.
Keith: Thank YOU. And, please don’t think I’m being argumentative here; I’m definitely not. I do feel the need to make the point, however, that “knock-your-socks-off” service would not ever naturally (by the very nature of the term) become scope creep. “K-Y-S-O-S” is about *you* and what you choose to do! Scope creep is about them; it’s when *they*ask/demand that you do work that was not part of the original agreement.
Bob – this is a real issue for many people.
In the spirit of the Go-Giver, regardless of your value, it’s important to always go the extra mile just for the sake of going the extra mile…no keeping score. 🙂
Mike, I appreciate your suggestion. And, while of course I agree with you and believe going the extra mile to provide value and not keeping score is the correct way to run both one’s life and business, in this post, that’s not quite the issue being discussed. If you re-read the second half of the post, I think you’ll see that it’s more a matter of the context and the personal feelings involved. Going the extra mile doesn’t mean you do things not congruent with your personal values, allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, or being subject to “scope creep.” Going above and beyond for the “right” reasons is the correct course of action. Again, thank you for your comment and suggestion, and for being part of the discussion.