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Why Do We Resist Asking For Money?4 Min Read

Why do We Resist Asking for Money?4 min read

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This weekend I was looking at something I was resisting. I had sub-contracted a website design over a year ago. I had paid the web designer, but I still have failed to bill the client.

And it wasn’t a tiny amount. It was $3,000.

So why in the world would I not bill the client? I looked a little deeper and I saw that it was all about asking. And even deeper, I saw a pattern around this kind of asking. It has to do with some kind of shame or embarrassment.

Do you do have these feelings as well about asking for money? 

And it doesn’t have to be only about asking for money. It could be about asking for anything. It could be about asking a prospect for some time to talk, or asking for a one-to-one appointment, and of course, asking for the project itself.

One thing that’s built into all kinds of asking is the possibility of being rejected. And then it’s easy to take that one or two steps further. I notice that I start to imagine the person rejecting me. And then I turn that into a imaginary scenario:

Me: I need to bill you for some web work that C.C. did for you over a year ago. It’s $3,000.

Client: Hmm, I don’t recall that work. Can you send me the details?

Me: Oh, sure, here’s the site he worked on. It was completed on this date.

Client: Well, since he did the work such a long time ago, I’m not sure I want pay it.

Me: (Thinking, Oh, crap, what do I do now.) Er, well, uh, why don’t we just forget it then?

Of course, it’s easy to forget that I just made up this scenario. It certainly doesn’t need to go that way. In fact isn’t it just as (if not more) likely that she’ll say something like: “Oh, glad to hear from you. I completely forgot about that. Why don’t you send me an invoice?”

What are some asks you need or want to make, and instead, create an imaginary scenario where you are rebuffed? Notice the fear, reluctance or shame.

But where does that all come from? 

In researching about this topic on Google, I found a wonderful article by Kim Klein about the fear of asking for donations for non-profits ,and the fears are exactly the same. Let me summarize some of her best points below:

1. Children have no fear of asking, they ask and ask until they get what they want! They are bold and fearless! But by the age of 10 the ability to ask for what we want seems to be trained out of us.

2. One of the most taboo topics of our society is talking about money with other people. It’s not something we do because we were admonished not to do it since we were children. “Don’t talk about money, it’s rude.” This all becomes ingrained into us.

3. So asking for money, by association, is felt as shameful. And then, again by association, asking for anything else can feel embarrassing. It feels like we’re breaking a taboo – and we are!

4. Start examining your attitudes and beliefs about money. You may find many of them are based on fears, passed on by your parents. What are these fears costing you? What do they stop you from doing?

5. Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that would happen if you asked for money (or anything else). Perhaps you imagine a scenario similar to mine; but ask yourself honestly, what is the absolute worst thing that could happen?

6. Now work through these things and see which ones may possibly happen and ones that are completely unlikely to happen. Can you deal with possible rejection without taking it personally and can you let go of scenarios that are largely imaginary?

The intent of all these points is that it really makes a difference to become more aware, more conscious about our fears and reactions about asking for money. Keep exploring; you may discover that money is just money, a tool for exchange.

It’s something you can ask for without it being a traumatic incident in your life!

I highly recommend the more in-depth article by Kim Klein. You can download it here.

And yes, I’m going to ask for that $3,000. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

What do you do to get over your resistance to asking for money?  Please feel free to share this article on social media and to comment on the blog.

Cheers, Robert

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