This is one of the TOUGHEST but also one of the most LIBERATING posts I’ve written so far!
I’m breaking a big commitment today. And, I’m replacing it with a PROMISE.
10 months ago I committed to gifting 1000 (yes, one thousand) 30-min pro bono coaching sessions in 500 days.
To date, I’ve gifted 305 transformational and for some even life-changing coaching/therapy/mentoring calls…
…which, to be honest, is far more than what 99 percent of all coaches (and wannabe coaches) will ever do in their entire professional career – both paid and pro bono.
I knew this was the right decision – I have felt that way for months now – but my being true to my commitments kept me from pulling the trigger.
I was stubbornly committed… while in pain.
Well, I finally “arrived”.
I took my time to reflect on all the reasons why I’m terminating Mission 1000 after donating 305 transformational calls – just over 30 percent of my original goal.
Here we go:
- These calls were literally sucking the energy out of me. While deeply therapeutic for most who benefited from them, for me they were intensely energy-costly
- These calls were NOT fair to me as a skilled provider – overtime my confidence started to suffer as my identity began to adjust to knowing myself as “Ivan who works for free”
- These calls were NOT fair to my wife whose husband had to gift his time to strangers while at the same time not bringing in value in the form of income. This would have been a far more fair exchange for her not having her husband available to her, for the time he put into these calls, and for the time, energy, and commitment it has taken him to hone his own skills
- These calls were NOT fair to my unborn son! So not fair at all! I’m still processing the massive guilt from becoming painfully aware of how unfair I was to my own unborn baby!
- I realized (with the help of my own coach-psychotherapist) that these calls were not “free”. They were paid. I paid for them – with my time, my skills, my energy, my damaged confidence!!! (This was a huge realization for me!)
- In the last several months I had to “beg” people to take my “free” coaching calls. It felt horrible and very demeaning to my own self-identity!
- These calls (I believe) significantly lowered my value in the eyes of my audience. I had a novice coach who applied but when invited didn’t schedule… Reason (paraphrasing): “You’ve given only 2xx out of 1000 and you are on day 3xx out of 500 – apparently you aren’t that good if people aren’t taking grabbing your free sessions like hotcakes.”
- They hurt my business as a coach. They hurt my family finances. Yes, this is a business after all… and with my Mission 1000 commitment, I treated it like a hobby. My family had to bear the true costs
- These “free” calls damaged my reputation as a premium provider of life-altering rapid transformation, and inadvertently pushed away potential premium clients who otherwise would have hired me (like “I don’t want to work with a ‘free’ coach. I deserve a premium coach. And that’s what I’m getting for myself.”)
- My business coach couldn’t make sense of what I was doing with Mission 1000. I felt this was disrespectful even to him – as we started working together so that I can increase the return of the value I offer – not decrease it
- Many of the people who benefitted would have never paid money for that kind of value (nor did they even have an idea of the dollar/euro value they were getting for free)
- A significant number of the people who applied were in financial distress. They needed a job, not a new take on the Law of Attraction
- Finally, these calls made me too available. And, I don’t like being even “a little” available
That’s now changing – which brings me to…
I promise to no longer offer my value for free!
I will no longer be “available” for free!
I will still do pro bono work but this will strictly be 1) By invitation only, and 2) As a donation on a very limited basis
From now on everyone who wants to talk with me will only be able to talk with me if I personally invite them or if we work together on a paid basis.
I have been OUT OF ALIGNMENT in one more way:
I’ve been coaching others on creating their clarities and setting their boundaries. Now, finally, I’m coming in full alignment by enacting my own strict boundaries.
As I’m wrapping up, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention that I’m also deeply grateful for the 305 calls I gifted to others – they taught me a lot. I will share my learnings in another post.
So… what’s the moral of the whole story? Here it is:
Know your value! Protect your confidence and identity. Know and enact your boundaries.
(Especially if you want others to respect you!)