Ego is Not A Dirty Word

A few years back I made an offer to one of my customers to organise an event where I would speak on the topic of Personal Budgeting and I offered to pay him for promoting and organising it. At the time he was a member of a large group interested in improving their finances so I thought the offer would be an opportunity for him to earn some cash, help his fellow members and at the same time allow me to do what I love doing, and that is sharing my knowledge, experience, passion and skills with other people.

To my surprise the response came back that while he was really keen to share what I do with his associates and friends he said “I’m not into making money off my friends’.

Now this surprised me and it told me a lot about where he was at and how the rest of his financial life would unfold if left unchecked.

Over the years I have had e-mails from many people who described how they had difficulty asking for or accepting money from friends. One example that comes to mind was a young lady who had been doing bookkeeping for her friends for free as a hobby and then when she started her own business as a bookkeeper there was a problem asking for money. The way I see it, this is an Ego or Self Esteem problem.

If you think about it, if you can’t get paid by your friends for providing a benefit then why would you be able to ask someone you don’t know to pay you for doing something for them? If you follow that on to its logical conclusion then basically you are destined to starve because you would not get paid by anyone!

Let’s flip that over and look at it another way. If it is alright to get paid for what you do for people who are not your friends, why does the equation change the moment you are dealing with friends?

Clearly if you have an issue with making a profit from providing a benefit for one person but not another and the difference is that you are friends with the person you are uncomfortable accepting payment from, then you have a belief that money is, in some way, a bad thing.

Let’s dig deeper! If you often provide a service for a low fee or for free and someone else is in business charging a significant price for the same service, then you probably have a problem with self confidence which is really a form of lack of Ego or Self Esteem. The person charging a high price knows they are offering high value and has no problem confidently asking for payment.

That’s not to say you can’t do a friend (or someone you don’t know) a favour and give them a discount, but if you know in your heart that you have a problem asking for money or for payment for something you have done, then it is because of a lack of confidence and you need to develop a bigger Ego.

Be really clear about this; you actually allow people to place low value on what you do because you place low value on you. When someone pays a high price they usually get high value and when they pay a low price (or nothing) for the same service or product they usually get low value!

I know what I just said might seem totally ridiculous but it is true. If I gave you a brand new car for free I will guarantee you would not look after it as well as you would if you paid $50,000 for it. If you came to me for advice on how to get your personal Cashflow in order and at the end of the consultation I said there would be no charge there is a good chance you would never implement the information I gave you because you would place $0 value on the information I provided. If I charged you $1,000 you would be much more likely to follow through because you would place $1,000 value on what I did for you.

If you are a person who is always looking for a cheap solution and bargain prices everywhere you go I want you to ask yourself the question, “How much value do you place on you?” If you want everyone else to give you their time, service and products on the cheap then that probably reflects the value you place on you as well! If you want more, think more!

In the words of the 1970’s hit song by the Skyhooks, ‘Ego is not a dirty word’. They were right, it is an important ingredient in success.

Of course I am not suggesting you become an egotistical, stuck-up, pain in the neck, pushing and shoving your way to the top in everything and walking over others to get there. I’m sure you were brought up to be polite, have good manners, to not push in, to go to the end of the queue, to be considerate of others and put their needs ahead of yours. These are all great virtues, but if you learnt from that that you are worth less than everyone else in the process you will find it very hard to succeed.

You need to understand the difference between being considerate of others and not allowing yourself to have an ego. Otherwise you will be allowing other people to dictate your level of success. Take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself how healthy your ego is.

Remember, if you don’t value you, nobody else will either.

That’s all for today.

Warm Regards
David Wright