I recently saw a Facebook post that amused me:
We are a small & casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we are looking for solo musicians to play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD. This is not a paying job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More Jazz, Rock, & smooth type music, around the world and mixed cultural music. Are you interested to promote your work? Please reply back ASAP.
A Musician's Reply:
Happy new year! I am a musician with a big house looking for a restauranteur to come to my house to promote his/her restaurant by making dinner for me and my friends. This is not a paying job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get a positive response. More fine dining & exotic meals and mixed Ethnic Fusion cuisine. Are you interested to promote your restaurant? Please reply back ASAP.
This got me thinking about the concept's applicability to any walk of life and what it means to value the gifts we're given.
In my work as a freelance Virtual Assistant, I have occasionally been asked to provide services for either free or drastically less than my normal fee. I know speakers who have been approached with "offers" similar to the one above. I know intuitives who have been "mooched upon" by people asking questions with no intent to repay. Much like the old adage about the doctor at a party who is bombarded by "Hey, Doc, I got this pain....", there are people who do not understand the concept of fair trade, fair value.
We all have skills and talents that are of value, but it is our own valuation of them that sets the "exchange rate." If I know that I have worked hard for what I have, that I am proud of my skills and of my willingness to share them, I set a higher value on what I offer than perhaps someone who doesn't understand their own gifts.
I found it tricky at first to detect the fine line in marketing between offering special deals for marketing purposes and giving away what has value. I love bartering services but like the musician in the example, I expect to receive equal energy to what I give! It was not until I truly valued myself and my talents that things changed. And so that is my advice to you - understand and value your own gifts, honor those of others, and delight in the exchange!