Scaling Generosity

My practice is scaling up. We offer our client families more than the billable hour and our team harnesses the power of the mastermind effect. We provide what is in the highest service to our families, including assessment, coaching, and therapy. Our team is all-in, making a long-term commitment to solving our client families’ biggest concerns. And … we want to make lots of money.

Yes, I said it.

We are building a new model and the potential is enormous. And…

I want to make lots of money.

Some thoughts that this statement may trigger:

  • That’s gross. It is selfish to focus on making money.
  • We shouldn’t strive for having more millionaires or billionaires.
  • Capitalism is a function of colonialism, and thus white supremacy, so when you make money, you are engaging in systemic racism.

This is a sample of the stories that might influence how you feel about money. They might even be more visceral. Many of us react with intense feelings, even disgust and distaste, when we think about money.

I have my own visceral reactions. They start with disgust for linking profit with human services like psychology. But they go much deeper! My reaction to making money is all tied up with my sense of self-worth. My “money stories” are rooted in what I believe that I deserve, my worthiness:

  • I need to be paid to affirm that I am worth something. I don’t believe that I deserve abundance or opulence.
  • When I charge a large fee (i.e., for a psychoeducational evaluation or a six-month family engagement), part of me feels like I got away with something, like a sneaky kid grabbing an extra cookie. I duck around the corner and stuff the whole thing in my mouth before someone catches and scolds me for my misbehavior.
  • The bottom line: I don’t deserve wealth because I know, deep down, that I’m really an imposter.

So why do I want to make lots of money?

In addition to understanding the money stories that I learned as I grew up, I am now creating some new personal narratives. I learned how to identify and detoxify my historical stories through deep inner work. Therapy, life coaching, and meditation and manifesting programs have also given me the tools to write my own stories.

My NEW bottom line: I believe that the Universe wants me to flourish and is looking at me and for other people who will spread wealth. According to my meditation teacher Emily’s interpretation of The Vedas, a set of ancient Indian psalms: the first step to inviting wealth is to create an outflow.

An “outflow” can be as simple as the Christian practice of tithing, donating a portion of your income every month or year. On a recent episode of her podcast “Joyful Marketing,” Simone Seol shared a story of how her original intent to give a few hundred or a thousand dollars per month ramped up rapidly with the sudden explosion in her business. When she started to make over a million dollars per year, she said, “money still matters a great deal but not in terms of validating me, but how I get to be a steward for the money I have for the greatest good, in accordance with my values.”

Simone’s tone of voice changed when she described the shift from generous businesswoman to philanthropist: “some months my donation, five percent of my entire monthly revenue, was in the thousands and some months it’s been in the tens of thousands. Every month, sitting with this joyful responsibility of how to steward where I want my money to flow towards, it gives me so much to think about. It’s very humbling. It’s sobering. I’d say it’s joyful but it’s not always joyful because when I think about the causes that I give to, it’s not always fun and games. It really makes me think about some stark realities in the world that I want to be a part of changing, like child trafficking, like extreme poverty, like domestic violence.”

Simone caught my attention when she began to imagine the future: “I’m just spending so much time nowadays thinking about what my contribution to the world at income levels that are even higher than I am now. When I’m making $10MM or 10’s of millions or $100MM, what do I want my contribution to be? I still want to make a lot more money. I think a lot about how to make money and how to spend it. How can I let it be the best expression of my values, as opposed to validating that I’m doing it right?”

Did you hear when she began to think beyond the Robin Hood model, redistributing wealth, making more to give more? That model leaves out the intent of the Universe (or Divinity or God, you choose) and limits you to what you can imagine. We can do better than that.

What if the purpose of our work is to change the world?

Extending Simone’s experience, I want to flip the script and center generosity in this business model. Never mind being another Robin Hood, or Simone Seol, or Bill Gates. Maybe generosity isn’t a side effect of selling coaching programs or software.

I am scaling up my practice to expand my ability to make a difference. Here’s how:

The business model that I am developing, in partnership with my team, and in collaboration with our clients, has potential that I can’t even fully realize yet. The families we serve are creating a new model of leadership that will live beyond our work together. With our help, they are planting seeds that will continue to blossom for generations.

Taking the long view, I am reminded of my friends Nate and LaTonya. When they entered into parenting with intentionality, they didn’t take on the challenge of raising their son one step at a time. Rather, they decided that they would raise a man, not a boy. In the same fashion, the families we support aren’t just raising healthy, happy, independent adults. Their kids are the next generation’s super-parents.

To state the potential for our practice more clearly:

I am perfectly willing to accept that our ability to scale up the difference we make in the world is beyond my wildest imagination.

photo credit: Diego PH/Unsplash