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Holistic Wealth

By Sharon Desjarlais, CC

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To Trade, Or Not to Trade: Placing Value on Your Services

Imagine for a moment you're at a group meditation feeling centered and relaxed. And just as you grab your keys to leave, a woman pulls you aside and says, "I could really use a session, but I'm broke. Can we do a trade?"

In that moment, what do you find yourself thinking? Do you try to figure out whether you want what she offers? And what to say if you don't? Do you say yes to be polite, then kick yourself later because you already have more trades than paying clients?

Do you mentally compare your fees with hers to see whether a straight trade is even fair? And if it's not, does your stomach clench as you wonder what to tell her? Or are you more likely to ignore your gut instinct and let all those old, familiar feelings of resentment bubble up later?

Equality in A Trade?

It's a quagmire, this whole trade thing. It's sticky. It's messy. And it's almost never balanced. That's why my position has always been clear: Avoid trading your hands-on services at all costs. Even if you really want what the other person offers. If you do want it? Instead of trading sessions, trade cash or checks. You'll give yourself (and your colleague) the valuable experience of receiving money—and the self-worth that comes when you invest in your well-being.

neck massage - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Jackie, one of my clients, recently shared what's changed for her since she stopped swapping services. And she started swapping currency. "I show up for the sessions differently now," she said. And that's whether she's leading or receiving. "When we were trading, I might have justified having a big lunch right before leading the session," she said with a laugh. But not anymore. Now she shows up every bit the clinician as she does with all her clients.

And when she's getting a session? She allows herself to receive in a deeper way. "Even afterwards, I give myself the space and time to reflect on what bubbled up," she said. So the end result is a richer experience — for both of them. One final note, if you think you can sidestep this whole sticky wicket by offering a sliding scale, think again. When you do that, you actually encourage people to prove to themselves how low their income actually is.

That's human nature. We all want a good deal. But if you're truly into health? Then you understand: What happens in the mind eventually shows up in the body. And you won't want to be responsible for sacrificing someone's self-esteem for a sliding scale. So when it comes to your work, honor your value. And empower your colleagues to honor theirs. You'll find yourself once again feeling centered and relaxed—and unshakable.

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