How much are you worth?

How much is one person worth?

Such a loaded question.

A person is worth a lot, an awful lot.

Each of us is worth everything to someone.

But I am not sure putting a monetary price on our worth, as is the current trend to justify charging exorbitant fees for a service, is really doing us any favours.

It minimises our inherent worth.

Let me clarify where I am going with this.

I clicked onto Facebook today.  I’m trying to do that less these days because, in true addict form, once I do, I tend to drop down a rabbit hole, never to return for hours.  My day has been wasted and I feel wretched for the unproductive day I have had signified by the fact that I am still in my pyjamas at 2pm.  But this morning, I had achieved a bit and decided to click over.

I am reading “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, which I am absolutely loving.  Every page seems to have something that is helping me on my recovery journey to mental wellness.  I know she is friends with Elizabeth Gilbert so I decided to click over to see what words of wisdom Liz, as she is affectionately known, has for us on Facebook.  I haven’t been on in a while, so have missed a lot of her usual open hearted wisdom.  Entrenched in my commitment to mental wellness, I wanted to use Facebook to top me up before I showered, dressed and headed along my way.

This morning, she spoke about her weekend with another great self help personality, Martha Beck.  Martha was running an online workshop called Write into the Light, during which Liz was also teaching and she would love it if we signed up with the promise that if our essays get chosen, she and Martha will chat about them in the final class of each session.

As I read what was on offer, my spidey senses buzzed with excitement.  This was about finding your authentic North Star, your authentic self and embarking on a journey of enlightened purpose, and using those discoveries to be an inspired writer to impart knowledge and wisdom to a new generation of readers.  It mentions the notion of being a LightWriter (as Martha puts it), implying the idea that you too can find your light, write about and inspire others to do the same.  And who doesn’t want to inspire humanity whilst finding your own voice and healing some hurt at the same time?  I eagerly clicked over to sign up.

The course started yesterday, so without even thinking about it I clicked on the “Sign Up” button – I did not want to miss out.

One payment of $1030

That can’t be right.

I stared at the screen.

I scrolled down.

True enough, the 15 class, three month course had a price tag of US$1030, down from the recommended price of US$1155, and only US$68 a class.  Only.

How much is one person worth again?

There is so much I want to ask and understand about this?

This is pitched at a growing society of (mostly) women who do not feel good enough about themselves, who feel they have no purpose, no meaning and have no light.  This is pitched to those of us who want to live a full life, an authentic life, a contended a life, a wholehearted life.  We want to live that life in a world where we are told a hundred times a day that we are not good enough, not thin enough, not mothering enough, just not enough.  We are tired of fighting the societal norm of lack of worth and want to be free.

This course is pitched at those of us who feel disenfranchised and disempowered and is aimed to help us on that journey of freedom and self discovery, but who feel we have something to impart, we just don’t know what it is yet.  This course promises to help us find that “thing” and not only that, it promises to help us be a light to others, if we so choose.

It keys into our need to be extraordinary, because societally that is the message we receive every day.  Mediocre is bad.  We need to be a trailblazer, a light in the world.  Like Mahatma Ghandi, Buddha.  You know – a beacon of hope and light.

{I know there was a bit of cutting cynicism there – forgive me}.

I imagined that this course was devised in order to help as many people as possible be the light in a world of what seems to be a growing surge of darkness.

Or not.

It feels elitist.

It feels exclusive.

And it keys into every single fear of not being worthy enough, not being valuable enough and simply not being enough.

This is, of course, my issue, not theirs.

I have a choice to simply look at the course, realise it is too expensive, shrug, say “oh well” and walk away.  And after this post, I will do exactly that.

But I have to voice my disappointment.  I have to challenge this growing trend of putting an ever increasing price on our inherent value.  I have to challenge this norm of “I am famous, therefore I can charge what I like”.  Have you ever tried to get a signature from a celebrity – you’re talking $500 plus!

I of course do not know them personally, nor do I know their daily struggles, but from what I have read and garnered through following them, both Elizabeth and Martha have built massive followings not least because both came from humble beginnings, showed up and showed vulnerability and authenticity.  They bared their souls, they showed kindness and love and people flocked to them in droves, including me.  I read their books, and learned from their wisdom and tried to apply it where I could.  Over the years of being on Oprah and on social media, people still hang on every word they say.

As I scrolled down the comments section of Liz’s Facebook post, person after person politely, without wanting to offend – because when a person has a following and you disagree with that person on their Facebook page, you better be ready for a fight from their adherents – expressed disappointment at the price.  Some blamed themselves, saying they needed to find a way to manifest the “investment”.  A smattering signed up.

For a brief moment, I wondered if I could get the money together.  I so desperately want to be well and show others they are not alone (ergo, I blog), and perhaps this is the key that will solidify my journey even more, I said to myself.

In this day and age when the value of the dollar is decreasing more rapidly than we can earn it, US$68 per online class is ALOT of money.

I dismissed the thought.  There are other ways to wellness, and they don’t cost US$68 a class.  Both Liz and Martha found their own way and if that is my purpose, my path, I will find it another way.

I have to say it.  I am going to say it.

This smacks of greed.

Let’s just say only 100 people sign up for this.  Suddenly the $68 a class, is in fact $680 a class to the organiser.  That’s $103,000 for the 15 classes across three months.  Martha gets the lions share of this because it’s really her course and Liz is only appearing in one of the classes, so it’s perhaps not fair to include Liz in this, though she is using her social media muscle to gain sales on Martha’s behalf (which is perhaps a bit cynical, but when you strip it back, it is what she is doing).

I know that there will no doubt be other speakers on the course, all with wisdom to impart, and that many hours of preparation and hard work would have gone into this course.  I do know that.  I am not saying that they don’t have ANY monetary value, that would be ridiculous.  But I am asking the question just how much is too much? And when is it okay to challenge this increasing trend without being shot down in a ball of flames and being character assassinated in the process?

By offering the course online, thereby making it more accessible for more people, a thing called economies of scale comes into play.  More people can sign up which should help to keep the costs down.

Only apparently not.

I wonder why people do this.  It is okay to charge a reasonable fee for your services, but is it okay to charge so much that the majority of people walk away disappointed that yet another avenue of self development is closed to them?

During the time that I have been following Liz and Martha, I have come to respect them both.  We are human, and by definition we are flawed.  I am disappointed yes, because what they are offering (or promoting), who they are targeting, and the money they are charging do not align.  I feel they are leveraging, and I don’t like to be leveraged.  It feels inauthentic, to me.

It does not sit with my own personal values that anything worth offering to humanity does not need to result in so much profit.  Both these woman have multiple income streams, and live comfortably.  Is it really necessary to cut out the majority of women who may be helped by this, and whose voice may be the one voice that will help millions, by charging so much?

I can charge my worth, but I don’t need to be stratospheric about it.

Those are my personal values and indeed it is not my place to ask people to follow the same path.  We all walk our own journey in this world, and I have a choice to simply walk away.

I am being judgemental, and who am I to judge really.  This is not lost on me.

But I can challenge this societal capitalist trend of “charging what I’m worth.”

Just exactly what are you worth?

Because when I see you, I don’t equate your worthiness with a monetary value.  I equate your worthiness firstly as an inherent thing.  You are worthy.  That is it.  Regardless of who you are, or what you have done, as a human being, as a being of this earth, of this universe, you are worthy, you have an inherent value.  You don’t need to prove your worth by charging what the hell you like for your services.

I am walking away from that course.  I can’t afford it.  It is a pity because for the first time in my life, I am seeing a light at the end of a very dark tunnel and it seems ironic that money is preventing me from attending a course called Write into the Light.

You may not agree with me.  That is okay.  But don’t insult me.  Debate with me.  Show me good sound arguments for charging so much for an online course.  I’m open.  Or at least I am trying to be.  I want the world to be full of open discourse because it seems to me that we have reached an era where any reasonable discourse is shut down in favour of choosing sides and when that happens everyone loses.

I still like and enjoy Martha and Liz.  I think they have so much to give to the world, and have done so for a long time.  Just sad that this pairing, which would have been truly amazing, is inaccessible to so many.  Sad that a growing trend of self help gurus charging so much for their wisdom is preventing even more people from gaining that wisdom to impart their own light into the world.

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “How much are you worth?

  1. You are not alone in your dismay at people charging these exorbitant amounts for products or courses. I think the fact that you are reacting in a healthy way to this ridiculous price and won’t try and scrape the money together, even though you desperately want to do the course, shows a very healthy mindset!

    I have never heard of these people and I am sure they are brilliant at what they do but this price does smack of greed, as you say. I also think it preys on vulnerable people who are searching for answers that are actually already inside themselves. I think we spend far too much time believing that other people have our answers or can tell us how to be ‘better’ people.

    As you can’t afford this course Sarah, take it that you don’t need it. Have more faith in your ability to heal yourself because you have been doing a great job so far. We give our power away to far too many people by assuming they have all the answers and guess what, WE have them inside of us (for FREE!). That innocent, unstoppable, happy little person you were when you came into this world is still there inside you.

    The trouble is, once out of the womb and ready to grow and bloom into our authentic selves, opening out like healthy trees, we find ourselves in the shade of an assortment of people who block out the sun and our healthy growth is stunted.

    You know those horrible decorative bushes that people have in their gardens? The ones that are snipped and cut into shapes like spirals? That’s us, we try to grow into who we are but we are constantly being cut back, snipped, shaped in to forms that are not truly us. They stand around us, our parents, teachers and older siblings, snipping and chopping blocking out the sun as they all wield their cutters.

    So grow Sarah, grow into the wild beautiful tree you were meant to be. Lose the shape that you were unnaturally cut into – keep growing in all the directions that you were meant to and whenever anyone comes at you with cutters – knock them over wth the huge branches you are growing! Grow so big they would need ladders to try and shape you! You have already started doing all this so just keep going – you don’t need that course. And never forget, we are all fighting the same amateur gardeners, even those people who do the courses. xxx

    Like

    • I ADORE your comments Gilly, they are the best! I feel so affirmed after reading your comment. Thank you so much for taking the time and you are right, we all do have it within ourselves to find our own voice and to impart that voice should we so want to. Sending you lots of love lovely xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Sarah – the thoughts I express in comments are often much more easily triggered by what I have just read than just coming up with them on my own (hope that makes sense to you!) So thank YOU for the triggers in your writing – it all helps make sense of this crazy, crazy thing we call self. And much love to you too!xxx

        Like

  2. Hi Sarah, ironically I found your post as I searched for reviews of this course, struggling as I was to decide if it would be worth the money. I’m comforted to see I’m not the only one who raised an eyebrow at the bottom line. Such a shame, but like you, I will push on and do my best with what I have. After all, when it comes to writing there is no substitute for putting your bum on the seat and getting on with it! -Michelle

    Like

    • Hi Michelle, thank you for stopping by and for your comment. That is so true, there is no substitute for putting our bums on the seat and simply writing. I do believe that we all too often these days look for someone to tell us what to do even with the simplest of things. It is almost as if we have forgotten how to do it for ourselves. xx

      Like

Let me know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s