Are my values holding me back? Am I sabotaging myself?

Published by Peter on

Call me old fashioned, but I actually like writing a new blog post each week. I’m writing this on Tuesday, February 6, 2024. I’m sitting in a Hyatt breakfast lounge in Eugene, Oregon.

If you saw my to-do list for the week, you would think I’m nuts for trying to write a post. So of course I decided to write a post about decision-making.

Yes, this is Oregon. Yes, I haven’t shaved in three days.

The experts say

The experts say I should write my posts in advance and schedule them to go out later. They say I should simply re-post old posts to save time. They say I’m an idiot for not having AI just do it all.

Look, I’m not a luddite or laggard. I can be eager to adopt new technologies and ideas. For example, I embraced remote work before it was cool. In 1985, as a matter of fact.

As a writer, it’s important to me that I write all my own words. As a coach, it’s important to me to be present and insightful in a very human way for all my clients.

As a business owner, I want to make a living in a way that aligns with my personal values, which include integrity, quality, human connection, creativity, humor, and balance.

But are these values holding me back?

I want to be a person that people want to work with

Like every professional coach I know, I get a lot of spam telling me I’m doing everything wrong.

Working one-on-one with clients? Inefficient! Writing my own content? Waste of time! Talk to potential clients before they pay? Lol you old-fashioned loser.

Apparently, I could make six figures easily. All I have to do is automate everything, stop providing value, and treat people with disdain and neglect. Then the money will start flooding in so fast, I won’t know what to do with it all.

As I write this, however, I keep thinking about a construction guy I met yesterday here in Eugene. He came to a friend’s rental property to give his expert advice on renovations my friend is considering.

This contractor is highly recommended by locals. Everyone says things like: he knows what he’s doing, he’ll tell you the truth, and he’s such a hard worker.

He spent an hour looking at the house, listening attentively, talking through ideas, and giving honest opinions when asked. He had no guarantee of winning any business. He wasn’t getting paid for this.

And yet he not only patiently endured the smalltalk and stories from the current 90-year-old renter, but he participated in the conversation. He stayed until all the questions were answered and all the ideas shared. He promised to get back to my friend quickly with his estimates.

If he does get hired to do any of the renovations, he’ll personally do much of the hands-on work himself.

Could he make more money with a churn-and-turn attitude? Go for high volume, low expenses, minimal unpaid customer interaction? Maybe. Probably.

But last night when I was talking with my friend about the potential renovations, we both agreed this was a guy we would want to work with.

He cared.

So… am I sabotaging myself?

I’ve been thinking about that this morning, while also reflecting on many of the coaching sessions I had last week with a variety of clients.

Clients ask me all the time how they know they are making the best decision in whatever they’re facing. That’s one of the hardest problems a person ever faces because you need to understand the truth of the situation you’re in, and you need to understand yourself.

We all bring fears, biases, and magical thinking to every situation. We can’t help it. We’re human. The better you know how those fears, biases, and magical thinking affect your decision-making, the more power you’ll have over them rather than let them have power over you.

Like a lot of people who get into coaching, I am a service-oriented person at heart. I have no doubt that I provide profound, transformational value to my clients. Due to my fears, biases, and magical thinking, however, I have to be careful about undercutting myself by undercharging or giving away that value for free.

Look at this weekly blog, for example. People keep telling me I need to put it behind a subscription paywall.

When I push back and say that I enjoy writing it, that I learn by writing it, that I would rather it get seen by more people who need it than squeeze a few nickels from people who have a few nickels to spare… am I sabotaging my own business?

Or am I living my values?

I hope that when people read my posts, they get to know me. And when they get to know me, I hope they’ll think of me as someone they want to work with.

Maybe one day we’ll have our personal assistant bots read AI-generated articles and hire coach bots on our behalf, and the coach bots will coach the assistant bots while we’re all busy scrolling AI-generated TikTok deepfake misinformation videos.

I’m not afraid of new technology or processes. I do use AI for many things. Here, for example, is an AI-generated image of one bot coaching another.

Generated by Adobe Express generative AI

What concerns me, however, is the dehumanization that results when we stop caring.

It feels like a lot of people have stopped caring. Worse, it feels to me like more and more people think that caring is for losers. Don’t look at your clients as people. Look at them as calendar appointments and dollar signs.

So I am still stuck on the question of whether I’m sabotaging my own financial success by writing my own blog posts and giving my value away for free.

Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, it feels like the right way for me to approach this whole thing. And I think, in the end, that’s the answer I need most.

I can help.

I work with top executives and middle managers to improve their leadership skills, their workplace culture, and the effectiveness of their teams. Also, I help individuals identify and achieve their personal goals. Would you like to become more aware, be more effective, be more empowered, and feel fully prepared for your next steps?

Let’s talk.

You can help.

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Stay super smart and well informed.

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