Say “Yes!” to Your Value, Contributions, and Successes—and to the Money

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. . . . We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” ~ Marianne Williamson

During dinner with friends the other weekend, I had a frustrating few moments, though the food and company were good. I was annoyed, sad, and frustrated because two friends were playing small and I want them to reach their full potential and celebrate their achievements—To shine their light at full blast. (I admit, I’m sensitive to this issue because I have played small in the same ways.)

One of these friends recently started a catering and personal chef business in Boston (Abundance Catering); while he gets it going, one way he earns money is by baby-sitting. During the lovely dinner—that he prepared—he mentioned that he feels bad when the families he sits for offer him extra money and he usually refuses it. “GAH! Nooooo!” I said. But I was still bothered Saturday morning, so I wrote him a long email explaining my reasoning.

Dearest Cameron,

I was thinking more about the money issues (families giving you extra money and bonuses), and really hope you’ll start saying, “Yes, thank you!” to all the support being offered to you.

1) You have earned it. Taking care of children is incredibly important work. In fact, raising happy, healthy, productive beings is one of the most important, valuable things societies (human, monkey, or otherwise) do—or should do. You are routinely severely underpaid for your hard work; you have every right to accept more money—guilt-free—whenever it is offered to you.

2) Accepting the money graciously is a gift to the giver. The givers appreciate what you’re doing and want to express their gratitude. Saying “No” to the money denies them that opportunity. It also denies them to chance to “even the scales” by giving to you something of value in return for what you’ve given them—peace of mind and guilt-free time without the kids to work, relax, sleep, and have fun. The ease and sanity you enable is incredibly value to them. (And you know it. Would you rather go grocery shopping with three kids in tow or on your own?)

By keeping the scales uneven, you may inadvertently make them less likely to ask for your help in the future. I have a friend who prefers paying to take her dog to a kennel rather than having a friend stay in her home for free in exchange for dog-sitting, because my friend feels guilty and thinks it’s unfair to the other friend (even though that woman thought it was a great deal, since she liked living roommate-free for a week). The reciprocity instinct is equally strong in most people. So let the grateful parents give you what they think is fair exchange for everything you give them, for their sake.

3) Please stop telling the universe, “No.” You want to be seen, recognized, appreciated, and well-paid for your superb work! — Not because you’re a greedy pig, but because money is a useful tool. So rather than rejecting money when it’s offered, I urge you to say, “Thank you.” (And internally, you might say what a mentor taught me, “Thank you, Universe! I’ll take more, please!”) I promise that the families you’re working for have the money to spare.

Plus, you need financing in order to share your gifts with the world. Saying no to freely offered money makes it harder for you to get your food and herbal remedies business(es) going. You are a really good person, Cameron, and I know you want to help create a happier, healthier planet through wholesome food, herbal healing, and your support for communities. But in order to do the training with Rosemary Gladstar and get and keep Abundance running, you need cash. If for no other reason, accept the extra money as a form of business financing, so that you can nourish more people with your delicious creations, and in that way encourage people to rethink their food choices (and maybe other things in their lives as well).

Supporting change through your catering is not some pie-in-the-sky dream or hope. The almond ricotta in the zucchini rolls was delicious—and I say that as an omnivore highly suspicious of vegan “cheese substitutes.” Before Friday, I was steering clear of vegan cheese-like substances. But after eating your zucchini rolls, I am a big fan of Kite Hill almond ricotta and will happily choose it over traditional ricotta—at least some times (I’ll need to test it in a cannoli before I can be a full-fledged convert). Still, I am an example of how you, through your cooking, create positive change in the world. And the more clients you have, the more good you can inspire. So say yes to the money, because you’re really saying:

  • “Yes” to your life purpose
  • “Yes” to more plant-based eating
  • “Yes” to a healthier, sustainable society

4) If you’re still really uncomfortable, give your own thank you gift for the thank you money in the form of an Abundance Catering creation. (Of course nicely packaged, complete with an Abundance Catering folding card with a description of the food and your contact information. No reason at all not to gently promote your good work at the same time you say thank you.)

5) Slightly off-topic, but related: have you asked your baby-sitting clients if they or their friends need any catering or personal chef services? (Telling them about Abundance does NOT count as asking; you have to ask directly.) Seems like maybe you aren’t totally comfortable with that, so I again encourage you to see the asking from a different perspective:

  1. Helping you get the business going is another way for them to thank you and even the scales.
  2. People love to provide help to friends and family, and that includes referring people to great products and services—like Abundance. I’m thrilled that _____ hired you to cater her daughter’s engagement celebration. Your success, minutely helped along by my introduction, makes me very happy and that is a typical response; most people feel good when they help a friend move forward. So go ahead, give your happy, satisfied clients the opportunity to do something for you that also make them feel good! (You never thought that NOT asking for help or accepting more money could be selfish, did you?)

I know you didn’t hire me to coach you, but I’ve had the same reticence and shyness as you. Luckily, I’ve had/have good friends and mentors who explained the other perspectives and keep nudging me along. I’m very grateful to them and really believe in you and your work, so now I’m nudging you.

We are so good at criticizing ourselves, holding ourselves back, and keeping ourselves small. It’s painful to watch, so I’m on a mission to change it! (It’s one of the reasons I’m a coach.) Stand tall, Cameron. Take up your rightful space. Accept gratitude and help in all the ways it appears. Say “Yes!” to yourself, your value, and your contribution to the world.



Related Materials

“Shine” by Elmo (an adult man, not a red Muppet).  The full lyrics are in the information section and they sum up what I want for all my clients:

Shine your light down here

Call out now, Let me hear

All you have to give

. . .

Shine along Shine along Shine along Shine along

From Marianne Williamson’s A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (I’ve not read the book, just this excerpt):

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Dr. Robert Cialdini on the Principle of Reciprocity, the first of his Six Principles of Influence. (The sound on this video is a bit warped, but still easy enough to understand.) Whether or not you want to abide by the Principles, it’s helpful to understand human psychology and how others may be influencing you. I’d suggest you don’t dismiss these actions even if your first reaction is to recoil; like many other tools that can be abused to exploit people, they can also be used ethically and for good. (For example, to help you understand why it is better to graciously accept a thank you gift rather than rejecting it.)

Everything is Waiting for You” by David Whyte, read by Mr. Whyte in Part 3 of the recorded workshop What to Remember When Waking, which talks about the fear of being seen. Two stanzas from the poem “What to Remember When Waking”:

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.


Photo courtesy of LittlePepper at

Alexandra Marchosky
Alexandra Marchosky
I coach individuals and organizations to do and be better by more fully living their values.
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