Years ago when I read Cheryl Richardson’s book Time for Your Life, I had a huge aha moment that changed the way I looked at things. Cheryl talked about the currency of time and how it is most important to value our time as much, if not more, than money.
How you spend your time should be intentional!
After all, time is a “currency” that is finite. We can never get it back…….so how do we really want to spend it?
She actually drilled down the way that we barter time for money by having us ask ourselves something like this: “Is that shirt that is going to cost you $100 worth 5 hours of your precious (working) time? That is what you are really bartering here. Is it worth it?”
If the answer is “hell yes” then by all means buy it! If the answer is no-if you value the way that you spend your time more than the shirt-honor that!
Most of us were taught that, in order to get ahead, we have to work really hard and “pay our dues”. That meant spending a lot of time working.
I come from a hard working blue collar family where the breadwinner, my Father, always said that hard workers would be the successful ones. He worked round the clock to provide a beautiful life for my Mother and his 4 children. We never wanted for anything. He never complained. In fact, he was proud of being able to provide us with everything that he did. None of us ever really realized the sacrifices he made on his time so that we would have no worries. He was my role model for being successful.
As I got into the working world, the story that I subconsciously told myself was that if I worked really hard, I would be successful also. Success to me meant being able to provide for my daughters and not have to “worry” about money. However, I always worried about it back then….
Since I have always had a “strong work ethic”, I found myself working harder and harder, somehow expecting that it would all pay off. Ultimately, it lead to mental, physical and spiritual burnout on a number of occasions as I tried to balance work with being there 125% for my 3 daughters.
What I did not understand at the time was that I needed to work smarter instead of harder.
I needed to think more strategically about the gifts that I had to offer and figure out a way to leverage my time and make more money so that I could provide my daughters with things that were important to them and still be there for them.
I look at things differently now than I did when I was in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.
Don’t get me wrong- I worked at this mindset shift!
I did a deep dive into learning the secret sauce that others knew that allowed them both an amazing life and a lucrative business.
Here are 5 ways that I shifted my mindset on bartering time for money:
1) I realized that my time priorities were as important to me as my client’s time priorities were to them and I stopped twisting myself into a pretzel to meet their ridiculous demands. This meant I wouldn’t work on Sundays or after 7 at night. Or I might schedule a long overdue yoga class in as an appointment (without guilt– I might add). And time planned with family was off limits-period!
2) I made a decision that I would charge more money for the value that I offered so that I could spend time doing things that were important to me-like time with my family, yoga, etc. This was very empowering for me because previously I had a hard time asking for what I was worth. For me, it took guts and I am so happy that I did it in spite of my fear! Once I did this and owned my value, customers were happy to pay and my business thrived. If they were not- that was ok. They could go find someone cheaper. In letting go of these clients, I opened the door up for my “ideal clients”.
3) I focused on working with ideal clients. Those were the clients who respected my expertise, valued my time, were open, collaborative and were happy to pay my fee. They brought me joy and a sense of purpose and the value of working with them, for me, goes beyond the monetary value!
4) I let go of my “people pleaser” default mentality and allowed myself to expect more for myself. Previously, I often subconsciously had put others feelings, goals, etc. in front of mine. I guess that I always thought I had to prove myself (ad nauseum) in order for others to see my value. Letting go of this need for approval became much easier when I realized that once I took a stand for the value of what I offered my clients, I didn’t need anyone’s approval but my own to charge what I was worth. Wooooohoooo……that was freeing!
5) I made a conscious effort to live in integrity and in alignment to what is most important to me. I am aware of what I spend my money on and make sure it is in alignment with what is really important to me. That fancy car means nothing to me. On the other hand, helping my daughters with weddings etc. and travelling with Jimmy and my parents means the world to me. I also structure my businesses so that I work with clients who I truly care about and feel great about making their lives better. Time is too precious to not be happy in your life and your work.
It is soooo important to understand what success really means to you. It is different for each of us. This is your life we are talking about here!
It takes guts to change the way that you look at this. I have seen so many business owners run their business from a mindset of giving away way too much of their precious time because they are afraid that they will lose business. They stay on the hamster wheel of constant busyness, always bartering their time for others-never prioritizing the things that are really important to them.
And time marches on….as their children grow and then their Grandchildren…as time to get back to their spirit is usurped by customer’s constant needs and they look back and wonder… where did it go? Where did time go?
Ironically, once I began to change the way that I looked at things, everything changed. My life and business got better as the ripple effect of my newfound joy spread its wings into all areas of my life!
Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint!
What strategy would you like to implement in your life? I would love to hear your comments below!
Cheers to YOU and your one precious life,
P.S. If you would like to be more strategic about your business and your life, let’s set up a complimentary discovery session to see if coaching is right for you. Email me at email@example.com