How My Being Bored Becomes a Win-Win for You and Me.
Stuart Emory, a mentor of mine, years ago, used to say that boredom was nature’s message to split. For a self-actualizing character, such as me, what that means is that being bored produces a psychic enzyme that gets the creative juices going to reinvent me, what I am doing, or anything other than continuing to do what I am currently doing. Boredom is the result of a lack of stimulating activity. Just playing well and even playing a winning game is not enough. I have written that to be happy in business and life, one needs to play winning games that are worth playing. I am beginning to realize that for folks like me, just playing well and winning at what I like, want to do and think is worth doing, is not enough.
Let me give you a real life example: As a counselor and a coach, I know I am playing a winnable game that is definitely worth playing. I am making a comfortable living and I derive great joy watching my clients grow and move on to places in their lives that they would never even allow themselves to dream about because they didn’t believe they could ever get there. So why am I bored?
I went to bed last night asking me that question. As you know from my previous writings, I do train of consciousness, automatic writing before I retire every night. Not only did I ask that question, I also asked myself why had I, who is normally the personification of serenity, become increasingly agitated to the point of becoming obstinately uncooperative with people I love. I had earlier even taken out my frustrations on an innocent inanimate object — I demolished a brand new plastic file box that had the misfortune of being in the wrong place and the wrong time.
I woke up this morning with an answer, which is what happens when I ask the unconscious a question and give it the time to figure it out while I sleep. The answer was “yes,” I am playing a very winnable game that is worth playing but… it is not a big enough game to keep me from being bored. I have been doing exactly what the business gurus suggest. I maintain a client load that makes me a decent living and gives me a lot of time to do other things. I’m taking lots of beautiful photographs, I am doing some acting, I am playing percussion in a band and having fun doing all this. The problem is that all those things are nice, wonderful and fun to do but they are not where my passion lies.
I came out of the womb counseling, coaching and teaching. In the office of my former youth program hung a sign, “This is not a job, it’s a calling!” I am most happy when I am teaching clients new and more fulfilling ways of living their lives and then coaching them as they practice those skills. I am bored because that successful business model gets me to a nice income with a smaller client load. For most coaches that would be ideal but for me it means I am not spending much time each week doing what I love to do. No wonder I am bored.
So why am I telling you all this. First because it is a great lesson in paying attention to oneself and questioning why incongruous behavior is occurring. More important, though, I want to share with you my solution to my boredom problem. I am making a radical change in the way I am structuring my business. Specifically, I am changing the way I bill for my services. I spent most of my professional life working in non-profit youth programs. We never turned someone away because they couldn’t afford the services. In my private practice, I have continued to provide coaching on a sliding scale, but I have noticed that rarely am I asked for a lesser rate. I know that there are folks that really could use my coaching but have a hard time asking for a break. I know because I have had a hard time doing just that. So here is my solution to all of the above.
My new pricing structure is I no longer have a pricing structure! From now on, my clients will set my fees. You decide what my couching is worth to you and what you can afford to pay and then click the PayPal button on my website and pay that amount. I trust that you will take care of me in the same heart-felt way that I am coaching you. I am OK with whatever you do, whether it is a minimum of $50 or the $200/hour that I have been charging up to now, just as long as you pay. The only rule is that you must pay something. This setup will only work if everyone does their share.
I believe my solution benefits everyone, a truly win-win proposition. You keep my phone ringing so I am doing a lot of what I love to do and you get the coaching you want and need at a rate that does not break your bank. How great is that? I would suggest, though, that if you would like to take advantage of this pricing structure and get the coaching you always wanted, you do not procrastinate. I expect that it won’t take very long for my calendar to be filled up and I am going to have to start a waiting list.
Let the experiment begin. ©2016, Jason Wittman, MPS, CATC-IV