Today’s THINK ABOUT IT came to me back in December while I was on the EL (subway) platform at Belmont. What I came to realize about my thinking that evening might be helpful to discuss here on Makeunder.
Money = Guilt?
One day last month I created an expensive custom piece. A few people were interested in the design and asked to place an order. I was thrilled, but unsure of how to price the jewelry. As I mentioned, the supplies and labor for the item were significant. Given a standard markup, the item ended up costing a pretty penny. And instead of feeling proud of the design I created, I felt guilty.
The following thoughts about the situation raced through my mind as I stood waiting for a Brown Line train:
“Why should I make that much money on a piece of my work?”
“This is more money than my usual designs. Something doesn’t feel right about this.”
“Maybe I should decrease the price, they might not be able to pay for it.”
And then I thought:
“What if they do buy it at full price? I shouldn’t make that much money.”
What was I thinking!?
Rather than feeling confident in my ability to make quality jewelry with high quality materials, I felt like a fraud. I felt guilty about my success rather than thankful for it.
I could have been thinking:
“I’m so incredibly thankful and fortunate for the awesome customers and people I know through Jess LC. Without their support and encouragement, I would not be self-employed and doing the job I love.”
“Though this custom piece has a higher price than the other pieces I’ve made in the past, the price reflects the craftsmanship and materials that went into the finished piece. This is a testament to my design skills improving.”
“It is my job to create beautiful, fairly priced jewelry that improve the lives of those who wear it. It is the job of the customer to determine if the piece fits into their life and budget. They can always pass on the item if it is too expensive.”
So my question is, have others felt similar feelings of guilt in regards to making money or entering a new level of career success?
I’m willing to wager that if I pursued a corporate career, I would not feel guilty about getting bonuses and raises. Perhaps because I’d compare myself to others at my level receiving similar wage increases. But when I directly grow and improve my business, I seem to take things more personally fearfully.
Who am I to really grow this company and succeed with flying colors? As I’ve mentioned before, the question really is: who am I not to be?
And for that matter, who are you not to be?