1. Keith Dear,

    I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head. When I practiced with my mentor, I recall being impressed by how generous he was with the charity work he did, and the foundation he ran. And of course, you have to make money to give money away.

    I thought of him after reading your piece: and how knowing that, when it’s come to my own business and pricing my information products, I’ve struggled to attach a meaningful value to my own work – judging it far more harshly than any of my readers most likely ever would. Thanks for the thoughtful reminder.

    • Hello Dr. Iala,

      Thanks for your comment, good to hear from you.

      Knowing the great work of your mentor — the kids he’s sent through school, for example — I can’t help but think of how clear he’s been when pricing his own products — he certainly doesn’t seem reticent about attaching a meaningful value to them, at all. I think he’s a great example.

      Thanks for reading!


  2. Keith,
    I’ve made an observation over the years I wonder if you share? It seems to me that many of my MD peers have fewer challenges with money and value exchange than do my more “alternative” natural peers. It’s the Naturopaths and Acupuncturists I’ve known who’ve really struggled the most with valuing their services and products. Thoughts?

    • Hello Mark,
      You may be on to something, and yes, this is clearly anecdotal: among my own clients over the past few decades, I’ve noticed the “alternative or natural” physicians as you call them do seem to experience more frequent challenges with valuing their own work than do the MDs. Not sure why this is — probably a cultural thing — there must be some study out there someone’s done on this.
      Thanks for reading, Mark.

  3. Hi Keith. Great work as always from you. Personally I think I have a combination of the first two mind traps. But I think there is a fourth one. This is the one where you never believe you know enough. You are always searching for more information – to “know it” before really commiting. For me this combined with the first two is a death trap. People pay me money for my advice and if it doesn’t work – I feel responsible and like I operated under false pretences – despite the fact that often there is a lot of other reasons for them not making progress. Thanks again for your excellent insights.

    • Hi Susan,
      Wow, you’ve nailed a big one: The “never ready” syndrome. I do think more people suffer from this than we may be aware of, and from my experience with client work I think the difference between those who let this slow them down and those who don’t is the second group’s willingness to feel that sense of needing to “know more” and still march forward confidently anyway.

      Let me ask you: Do you think that nagging sense you can never know enough may be part of comparing one’s self to others? If we look hard enough, we are always going to find people who know so much more than we do, and if all we do is compare our selves/skills to them, we’d never get anywhere. I had one early client who was blissfully unaware of how little she really knew. And with that, she confidently marched forward, developed courses and live workshops and charged hefty fees for them all, and was very successful. Wouldn’t that be great?

      Maybe one answer is to remember that any any point along our journey, there are always more than enough folks who are a few steps behind us, and focus our services, our writing, and our products on them. And anytime we find ourselves drifting off to thinking about those five steps ahead of us, snap back to the people we serve.
      Thanks for reading and your comments, Susan.

      • I’m SO GLAD that Susan brought up this topic…it’s a deep one for me as well. In fact, I could sign my name to her message! The feeling that if we can’t provide ‘a guaranteed result’ to our clients, then we must be somehow inadequate.

        As someone who came to the healing professions as a midlife career change, from a field far away from the sciences, I find myself feeling like I’m ‘behind’ and ‘scrambling to catch up’ with those who’ve been at this for some time.

        With that said, I’m sure that I also have other skills from my previous career, in which I enjoyed a good measure of success, that I can somehow use here. But I’m definitely struggling to overcome a sense of inadequacy, of being behind. And yes, I can see that the work here is ‘inner’!

        Thanks for bringing this conversation to us, Keith. It’s an important one.

  4. Interesting this subject came up again for me. I looked at CCFM fees and thought wow! How come the fees in Alberta Canada for naturopaths are much lower ($250/hour CAN)? And then I start comparing my fees for the chiropractic services I provide and thinking about what should I charge when I start adding/integrating functional medicine into my practice with less experience in this area than Chris or the naturopaths in my area. Internal conflict? You bet. I’ll figure it out in due time.

    • Dr Collins,
      Great point you make: I had a client several years ago who insisted every time we talked about his practice fees that what he charged was “all the local market could bear,” even though he brought to his practice several additional healing modalities over others in the area.

      During one of our sessions, my client reported that a new practitioner to his area had opened a practice and was charging double his rates, and had filled his practice within the first year. He was mystified at this. So I encouraged him to ask this doc out to lunch to chat about his practice.

      Turns out, this other practitioner was very willing to talk about his fees and how he built his practice — turns out those were the fees he charged at his previous location, and he just brought those rates with him to this new town – he never even considered charging less. With that encouragement, my client increased his fees — although still not as high as this other doctor.

      I do think the issue of what to charge for our time or our products may be more about our own internal scripts than anything else. This kind of inner work is part of what it is to be an entrepreneur.

      As far as the investment you’ve made in CCFM, one of my favorite subjects: investing in our knowledge and our practices. A new book on this topic comes out on January 5 entitled “The Last Safe Investment” by Michael Ellsberg. In this book, he argues that while it used to be true that investing in a home or an IRA were safe long-term investments, that’s no longer always true. Today, “the last safe investment” may be investing in yourself – skills, leadership, marketing ability, etc. I’m looking forward to reading it — I’ll review it on this site once I do.
      Thanks for your reading.

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