What currency for your expertise? Appreciation, esteem, reputation, money?

  • expertise

What currency for your expertise? Appreciation, esteem, reputation, money?

Learning feels right as a lifetime journey for me so I attend many courses every year. I love to hear great storytellers and learn new skills. Often I meet new people and sometimes I see familiar faces at the programs I attend.

One day when I was attending a professional development course I was party to a really interesting conversation between 2 people who had both completed a coaching diploma in Melbourne the year prior. It was now 8 months since they’d both qualified and the question hot on their lips was, “have you had your first paying client yet?”

The fact that both were still yet to transact was not as interesting to me as the conversation from that point. What I was interested in finding out from this chit chat was why neither of them had been able to transact and earn an income after they had finished their qualification. This conversation reminded me of how many professionals I meet everyday who do courses advancing their skills and personal development only to go back to work without advancing their leadership or pay.

The skilled professionals I was listening too both had a sympathetic response to the realisation and were almost relieved by knowing they were not alone. Knowing what the course must have cost and that they both have intentions to stop doing menial casual work out of their field and instead immerse into being in business I realised that they needed resources and fast so I asked them a question…

“What is your currency for your expertise?”

Their answers were incredibly revealing. What I realised is that until both of these professionals feel within themselves that they decide they are an “expert” who feels appreciated they will not be able to charge anyone for their expertise. Until then, their currency is appreciation not money.

An expert is someone who is very knowledgeable or skilled in a particular area. Appreciation is defined as recognition of the value, quality, significance or magnitude of people or things. Money is a medium of exchange in the form of banknotes and currency that is used as a measure of value.

In western society I find people spending money on upskilling and training without capitalising on their investment by then increasing their income proportionate to the new skills they are employing in their work. This happens in all industries, and results in either a lack of career advancement or the start up business that never gets off the ground. Why someone needs to transact in money relates to how they can afford to live a lifestyle that they decide makes them happy and gives them self worth. You can do more good with money than without money. Money affords even more education and learning, health, lifestyle choices, personal freedoms. It moves people away from poverty, need and stress.

The history of confusion between appreciation as a currency and money as a currency often dates back to self esteem and early programming adopted from parents, school, social and cultural groups. Virginia Satir (1916-1988) who was considered a trailblazer in family therapy wrote many books including, Your Many Faces: The First Step to being Loved in 1978. What Satir found was that many answers in the source of unproductive behavioural patterns could be easily recognised by meeting the rest of the family! When a person just wants to feel loved and worthy this becomes so powerful that it overtakes their currency for transacting with other people. It can be deeply hidden as Pip McKay the founder of Matrix Therapeutic Coaching discovered in the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. Often there is a matrix of beliefs holding this and other programs in place and the first step to clearing these beliefs is often found in reviewing early programming by tapping into non-conscious thinking.

So if your currency is appreciation and you’d rather it was money there are some steps that you can take to move toward a shift in currency. This shift starts with recognising your early programming and the beliefs you might be holding onto surrounding your self worth.

1. No matter how small the raise, every time you further your education and expertise look at how you can increase the value you give to your employer or clients. Take a step into the void by making sure even if in the smallest ways you are paid for this extra benefit. Even $1 if this is all it is makes a statement about your intention to learn, translate knowledge into actions and be paid more as a result.

2. Look at the areas of your working life / career where you have increased your knowledge and skill without monetary reward. What are you gaining from this and if it’s love and appreciation and this makes you truly happy then great! On the other hand if you really feel that the investment of time and money in your education would be better rewarded in a monetary sense, then open up to this option. Speak to a career or business advisor and get some assistance.

3. If you feel that you have some limiting beliefs about your self worth that may be preventing you from increasing your monetary rewards as you further educate yourself, then maybe look at finding a trusted colleague, coach or mentor whose abilities in the area are congruent with what you are seeking and ask them for some advice.

There’s a chance that you could try and fall short. If this happens then professional career advice would be really worthwhile. Goal setting assistance and perhaps seeing a financial advisor would be a great idea. Above all being kind to yourself and realising that this issue shows up in many people all the time will help you appreciate that resolving this issue, if high on the agenda will help you move toward what you would like more of in your life.

Back to the question of, “have you had a paying client yet.” I suggested to both professionals that what they are failing to see in themselves is how the world is responding to them. So we talked about the incredibly valuable talents and skills they had, and the endless list of courses they had both invested and engaged in. This conversation opened them to the possibilities and within a month both of them had made their first transaction with a paying client.

So what’s your currency? If you feel like it’s appreciation and you are telling yourself you’d rather it was money, then see what your life looks like when you move past this and have a currency you’d like even more for your self worth in business and career.


Madelaine Cohen Author

Lipstick Learning is an initiative of Sydney based business leader, Certified NLP Trainer (ABNLP), entrepreneur and Master NLP Practitioner Madelaine Cohen. Madelaine runs NLP Practitioner Training Courses in Sydney and Melbourne. If you would like to learn NLP you’ll find more information at madelainecohen.com. Madelaine shares information and joins forces with people who choose to lead. She has more than two decades of inspiration from her businesses in consumer products, sports marketing, executive coaching and healthcare. She takes a leading role in mentoring executives and training business leadership in large and small enterprises. Why? Inspire people to lead and together we can create lifetimes of health and happiness. To find out how you can lead with even more authenticity and ease, contact Madelaine through Lipstick Learning.

Madelaine welcomes connection & networking so if you have something to ask or share, go for it.