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Coaching to Flourish #089: Money Narratives and Empathetic Inquiry

September 18, 2023 by Coach Training EDU

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In Coaching to Flourish #089, host Raj Anderson and guest John Andrew Williams continue to explore aspects of our relationships with money: Money as a personal narrative, money as a tool for providing gifts to others, and a necessary inquiry for new coaches and entrepreneurs. Join us to explore your own relationship with money and gain new coaching insights!

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Raj Anderson: Okay, we are live. Welcome to everyone to the Coaching to Flourish podcast. I'm excited to be back. I'm your host, Raj Anderson, executive life coach and assessor. And I am here with John Andrew Williams, the founder of Coach Training EDU. And I have missed everyone, so it's really exciting to be back, John, and I have been listening to you over the last couple of weeks with some great live sessions that you did, and they're absolutely brilliant. You know, I learned so much from those books. So what have you been up to since last week with your reading and learning? 

John Andrew Williams: Well, I went through The Soul of Money again, and I put together two or three, I think it's going to be two, but these are my notes that are eventually going to turn into new training sessions for the business building program. And I feel pretty good about them. I've been playing with them in my own life, and what does this look like, the idea of which self, which money self, are you really interacting with and bringing into your organization, what you do? 

Yeah. I mean it's fun, to get in there and play and have new ideas. And I'm realizing that I think most people thrive on new ideas. There's usually an insight. If something comes up, there's an insight waiting for us. I've had a couple of insights the last couple of weeks, really using challenges as opportunities for insight, it's such a strong life strategy. It's right in there. And so I think entrepreneurship, looking at, really in the coaching world, anything connected to the coaching world, seems to invite this kind of inquiry anyway. So that's what I've been playing with the last couple of weeks. 

Raj Anderson: And you've been sharing some really inspiring thoughts and learning with us through what you're taking away from these books. You know, I actually had to pause. I was like, Oh, there's so many great questions in here. But how else would you recommend that coaches that are listening to you, especially in the Soul of Money book and Algorithms to Live By, how can they utilize what they're hearing from you? 

John Andrew Williams: Yeah. I think I've been thinking about this too. How to use it. What's fascinating to me about the Soul of Money book is that it looks at money, your relationship with money, from a spiritual basis as well. And it's using your relationship with money as a, let's call it litmus test, or some sort of arena ,for you to ask yourself, how well are you doing as a person? In terms of like, living within your integrity, and looking at how you can use and question that relationship. Like what is your relationship with money and asking, how is that impacting your spiritual life?

And then it can go the other way. How is your spiritual life impacting your relationship with money? And even asking those two questions brings stuff up, and brings stuff up for you to work with. And so I think any coach who is in a coach training program, or anyone who is involved in the coaching world, one of the best things you can do is hire and have a coach yourself, and to bring in these really interesting ideas into your life. They will serve as an arena for you to get in there, especially within your coaching sessions. I could see a very strong coaching session being, a topic being, exploring your relationship with money as the topic of a coaching session with a coach. And this is a unique answer for everybody.

And yeah, highly recommend it. I did it about three weeks ago with my coach. It was amazing. It was so cool. It was one of the coolest coaching sessions. And a lot of it is because money is so visceral, you know, we all have a reaction to it, mood attached to it. But when you can really work on that, and sit with different variations and aspects of it, so much power. You realize you have so much power in your own self to form the narratives you need to form in order to really truly produce benefit to humanity.

Raj Anderson: I think you're already answering this question, yet at the end of your live last week, you ended it on, how can you transform your relationship with money? You left everyone with that question. How did you transform your own relationship with money?

John Andrew Williams: Yeah, well, I think something, there were maybe three milestones. Because I've been thinking a lot about this and you know, this is definitely in the space, reading the business books. The first milestone was when I was a coach, and we had to make it month after month. And I remember feeling angry at that pressure. I remember the switch for me was embracing that pressure as just part of the deal. If this is part of the deal, how can I use this to push myself to take actions that might be uncomfortable, but need to be taken? So there was a really sweet spot there of using the money pressure as a tool, as opposed to trying to avoid it, you know, or just be mad at it.

The other milestone was really understanding the power of empathetic energy, empathetic motivation. Doing this for the sake of self, versus for the sake of other. And really tapping into this idea that what we do as coaches, what you do as entrepreneurs, that we get into this not so much for our own money, our own lifestyle. That’s part of it, but the real juice happens when you ask yourself, how can I bring value or benefit to humanity? How can I give a gift to humanity? In this, The Soul of Money says, absolutely yes. It's the gift economy. 

And this is not a new idea, of soul of money, this is an idea that's been out there. In entrepreneurship there's this idea of, we get to create gifts for people, whether you're an entrepreneur or whether you're an employee, whoever, we can create gifts. And when you create something and you give that gift to someone, there's a reciprocity that always will happen. Sometimes there's a delay in it, sometimes it's immediate, but there's always some sort of reciprocity when you give gifts. 

And when you really go into that empathetic motivation, when you're creating something for the sake of other, you know you're on the right track. It's just, the work feels differently. There's a certain excitement about it. There's a - you know when you're in it.

The third one, and this is what The Soul of Money, this is the one that recently for me is really this idea of applying spirituality to something that seems almost the opposite of spirituality in a lot of ways. And what does that look like, playing with that? That has been very interesting for me. And I'm not sure yet I've fully accomplished this milestone, but it is the inquiry that the book is inviting me to have. And I'm not sure I'm transforming my relationship with money yet, but it's definitely bringing about different feeling states, when I think previously I may have gone in different tailspins or been stuck in different spots. I can feel the spaciousness of inquiry and the power of that.

I’d say those are the Mark 3 milestones, that'd probably be it. 

Raj Anderson: Thank you, John. And as I'm listening to you as well, it makes me think that it does impact the energy and how you show up, doesn't it? When you are coming at it from that kind of perspective, in terms of gifts to others, or when you work on the spiritual aspect of it. 

And we've all been there. I've been there, and when you're new in business and you start out, and as you said, you've got bills to pay, or you know, for some of us wanted to prove that I could do it. I don't want to go back to having a corporate job. I moved to the States, this is a great opportunity, and I really wanted to prove being successful in this arena. And there was lots of self imposed pressures as well as bills to pay. And I think when you show up from that energy as well, your clients can feel it, and then it can almost be a cycle of that energy that you're bringing and giving out. So I've done a lot of work myself on limiting beliefs around money, and some of the limiting beliefs that come culturally, and thoughts around that as well. 

I love what you're saying as well, John, you said right at the beginning, you think this is really important to bring into business builder program or course. Why do you think that's so important? 

John Andrew Williams: I've led a couple of business building classes, and one of the biggest questions is, how much do I charge? When should I charge? What's the structure? What does it look like? There was a friend here I was speaking with, running a coaching consulting thing. And his thing was, I love doing what I do. I would do this for free. And he has, you know - some not, some paid. But he's hesitant to go for the 100 percent and asked to get paid for some of these services, but he needs to in order to become sustainable. 

So it's this thing where I think a lot of coaches, beginning coaches, they're very hesitant to ask for money sometimes. There's a lot of imposter feelings of, am I doing this right or not? Should I charge for this? And the idea of looking at your relationship with money as such a fundamental impact on your energy around the business that you operate and do, I feel like it's central to, it's central to the healthy financials of it, of any organization or company.

I like this approach. I like looking at money as a flow, as something that really allows you to articulate your values, what you stand for. And even how you make your money, what you spend your money on is a reflection of the values that you have as a human being. That's a really cool way of looking at it. And looking at money as a tool to enable you to do the world changing work that you're doing, to me that's a really helpful perspective to take. 

So, yeah, we all have our money narratives from our past. And we get to change those narratives if you want. So both things are true at the same time. And a lot of it is, feeling yourself bounce between those two, bouncing between the old narratives. And understanding, wow, I'm there, I'm in that old narrative. I'm in that narrative that I felt as, you know, an eight year old, whatever the situation you're in. And now, consciously working on changing emotional reaction is a really powerful tool. Money is an amazing opportunity to do that.

Raj Anderson: Yeah. And I think it's great to have these open conversations. I remember speaking to a group of women once, and almost a stigma around money, as though money is a dirty word. And growing up, I would hear beliefs that money doesn't grow on trees, almost this belief that if you are interested in making money, that that isn't spiritual. And I heard you talking about some of this in the last session, and you were talking about Mother Teresa as well, and kind of looking at people who have money and having compassion around that. 

You said something really interesting as well, around what I hear coaches, new coaches in business sometimes say, or they have a fear of charging.

And I think some of it is that of course, their own fears and their own money beliefs. I'm always curious as to, why wouldn't we charge for coaching services? It's not just a great conversation, it's a service. Why do you think that, where's that come from? 

John Andrew Williams: I was there. I think it's hesitance. I think, yeah, there's a hesitancy there. For me it's been a while, and I know the value of coaching. I've paid coaches well for coaching sessions, I still do. But when I go back and think, okay, what was it like 20 years ago? I think it's people who are new in business. They're dreamers. I mean, I was a dreamer, and I didn't know really what I was doing so much. And a lot of new coaches, I think it's a thing, you bump up against that money narrative immediately when you're asking for it, asking people to pay you for your services.

I don't think it's that simple, yet it's that complex. Underneath, the simple answer is you're bumping into a money narrative, everyone bumps into a money narrative when you step into entrepreneurship. The complex answer is, what is that money narrative that you have?

Raj Anderson: Do you think the growth in the coach industry and people being more willing to hire coaches? Cause I know more and more people are hiring coaches, and I pay for coaches myself all the time. And even before I became a coach, I did. What impact do you think the kind of increase in reputation of coaching industry has on charging for coaching?

John Andrew Williams: Yeah, I think it's an amazing thing. I mean, the bottom line is, are the fundamentals of the field correct? The answer is yes. Coaching is a valid standard, you know, there are standards. If a coach is trained in certain standards, and you work with a coach that has met those standards, will you realize a certain increased level of productivity, happiness, joy, fulfillment in your life? Yes, absolutely. What is that percentage? Probably around 20 to 30%. And you're not spending 20 to 30 percent of your income on a coach. So therefore the fundamentals of this thing work out, just pure ROI return on something. 

So from this standpoint, when a field works out like this, and then there's an awareness of it. People understand and experience it, enough people understand and experience it. When you go to a dinner party or you're out with people and you say, oh, I'm a life coach, there will be enough people around that crowd to go, Oh yeah, I've worked with a life coach too, I've been there. Whenever there's a critical mass of people that have understood and understand the value of a service. 

I think the coaching world is going to go a lot like the personal training world, where people understand it. Yeah, people sometimes view it as a luxury, as certain kinds of things. However, when enough people get into the field, it would be like if a personal trainer could just train you without any equipment on the phone, you know, there'll be all sorts of services set up.

I think it's going to go more that direction, have that kind of acceptance. And then maybe get regulated. Maybe there will be a state or two that regulates the field, which I'm hoping for. And that will be amazing, because then it will be a really, truly protected field, where you have to have certain accreditations in order to meet those standards. So be more like a realtor. So think protection of field meets the acceptance of personal training, with the ease and delivery of, whatever's easy to get. That's where this whole thing is going eventually. 

Raj Anderson: I know we've probably got a few minutes left, John. Thank you for sharing all that, but what else would you share in terms of, I know you've been kind of wrapping up that book, The Soul of Money. What other tips or questions would you share with us today from that? 

John Andrew Williams: My biggest thing that I've been sitting with lately is this idea that what you appreciate, appreciates. You know, this is the idea of gratitude, and core themes of different strands of spirituality. Looking at even positive psychology, the idea of three blessings. And the movie, The Secret, had a pretty big impact on that, the idea of the law of attraction.

But a pure practical basis, when you're looking at your life and your mental emotional state on an hour-hour basis, there's something very powerful about acknowledging what has gone already right. Acknowledging the ability for you to make money. So it's looking back and saying, yeah, I appreciate that, I appreciate this opportunity to make money. I appreciate the opportunity to - just met with my accountant this morning, like to have a QuickBooks account, to have everything where it needs to be. You know, what you appreciate, appreciates.

And that idea coupled with, when you're doing business with people and people pay you money, it's an opportunity to wow them. It's an opportunity to give them a gift beyond even the money value that they paid you. So it's that idea of, how can I make this product a gift? 

In remembering that, this goes back to Godin's idea in Linchpin, where you want to be someone, the people who are most rewarded are people who actively can reliably give gifts. To give things not necessarily because you want money or need money in return, that might be part of it, but you're giving this gift for that empathetic - this is for the sake of the world, this is for the sake of humanity. This needs to happen people. And when you do that, the money train follows.

Those are the 2 things I'm sitting with. This idea of, how does Soul of Money also play with Linchpin, and they fit so well together. It's so good. So, Linchpin by Godin is next on my list of books. So I'm thinking of putting together a small little curriculum, maybe four to six books, and that's going to be the core of the biz launcher.

Raj Anderson: It's exciting. Well, thank you, John. So what you appreciate, appreciates. And what is the gift that you can give to the world today? Perhaps that is the question we could start to ask ourselves daily. What do you think? What would be a good start with that? 

John Andrew Williams: I asked myself that question this morning. I said, you know, what is that gift? What is that thing that I can do? And it's amazing when you ask the question. Because the answer is not always clear, but when it does shift it - because I think the first thing many people think is, what can I get from today? What do I need? What I hope happens, for my sake? We all have that thing. And so you're looking at that thing versus the, what can you give thing? And that's a really powerful question. It's a big shift. 

And sitting with, like when you need to have reminders of sweet things that have happened in your life, those reminders are really extremely powerful. Once you get a couple of them, it's easier to get into that state. And it does feel a little bit like a practice, like a training, like you have to put in physical effort to get yourself there. So It's worth it. I try it too. I'm still in that space. I'm like, okay, do the reps, do the appreciation reps. What can I give reps? You know, how many times can you ask yourself that question in a row and come up with a meaningful answer? 

Raj Anderson: Thank you. So appreciation reps, and what can I give reps? Well thank you, I appreciate you, John. I appreciate the listeners. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to give back a little bit today, and I'm going to continue to ask that question. I encourage the rest of you to continue to ask that question. 

Send us what other questions you have of us! What would you like John to answer or any of our other guests or myself? And I think we're on time, so anything else you would add John before we close?

John Andrew Williams: No, this is great. This is excellent. Thanks Raj, I love the space you create, and it's so much fun to riff on these ideas, and see you next week. 

Raj Anderson: See you next week, everyone. Thank you, John. Take care.

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