May 21, 2018
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed an increase of people coming from various faith and spiritual backgrounds enrolling in LCTI to get certified as coaches.
Most recently, I’m hearing these struggles a lot:
Paul, I’m from a certain religious community, and I feel guilty for charging people.
Paul, I’m a spiritual person, and I struggle with feeling bad about charging a fee.
Let me start by saying this: I have nothing but honor for people who are part of communities of faith or who are simply deeply spiritual. And if someone came to me and said, “Paul, I believe I’m supposed to take a vow of poverty,” or something to that effect, I would never argue with them.
But guilt? That’s something totally different.
If you did something wrong – committed a crime – or you intentionally hurt someone in a relationship, I’d hope you’d feel bad in your conscience.
However, when you’ve invested in yourself and are trying to launch a career that truly is focused on helping people, then guilt is the last thing that you need. You’ve got to both believe what you’re doing is a good thing and that you are worth getting paid to do it.
People from any religion or spirituality who are feeling guilty about charging for their services are likely suffering from incongruent thinking that’s really creating barriers to getting started. I call these barriers false guilt, because the guilt is not from a legitimate source or behavior.
So, as quickly as I can, I’d like to help you confront these beliefs and hopefully reframe what you do, so you can overcome false guilt.
Barrier #1: If it’s a truly noble calling, then you shouldn’t charge for it.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who were members of various communities of faith, and they shared with me that they felt like people within their faith community made them feel guilty for charging for serving others.
The thought is that if it’s truly a noble calling, then you shouldn’t charge for it.
I think of a person like Mother Theresa that most of the world – Catholic or not – highly regarded. She gave up everything to live amongst and serve the poor. That’s an extraordinary calling in my opinion.
But just because one person is called to that life, it should not be expected to be the norm, nor the standard of a noble calling.
Frankly, easily 99% of the planet is not going to be called to that kind of life. So what are we saying? Are we saying that people who get paid a wage for the work they do are living a less than a noble life?
I hope not.
Let me share with you a better way of viewing it:
Reframe #1: The noblest callings should be paid the most.
Obviously, Mother Theresa wasn’t consumed with materialism, but she wasn’t an individual without resources. Resources actually flooded in to help her serve people to the greatest of her ability.
When someone is truly living nobly, when their life’s work doesn’t just revolve around themselves and their work actually exists to raise the high water mark for others, then I personally want that person to succeed. I want them to have as much money as possible, because I know it’s not just going to go into their pockets. It’s going to be used to help others.
And I find this is true for every coach I’ve had the pleasure of training. If you gave any one of our students a million dollars, I know they’d spend most of that money to help other people.
It’s probably true of you as well.
Barrier #2: Not taking money is the highest form of spirituality.
Over the years, I’ve actually met some people who glorified their own poverty as a way of saying that they were somehow more spiritual than other people.
Honestly, I personally think that’s so dismissive of the spirituality of people who work for a living. People who work hard every day for a guaranteed wage don’t have less faith than someone who doesn’t.
What’s even more interesting is this myth is actually incongruent with what most spiritual people actually practice.
Think about this:
Every day, a community of faith or a spiritual person goes out to the streets to feed the homeless and help them take steps towards a better life. I personally know people who travel to Tijuana and build homes for people who don’t have them. I know people who’ve helped women in a small African town start businesses to help them get out of working in rock quarries where they only made pennies a day.
If poverty is a mark of spirituality, why do communities of faith and spiritual people try to help people get out of poverty? Aren’t they taking their spirituality away by getting involved?
I’ll tell you why they do it: because poverty is bad. Barely getting by is not okay. It limits opportunities. It stifles the potential of people.
We build houses, we feed, we clothe the poor because we believe with an equal opportunity, they could be attorneys, teachers, doctors, etc.
Reframe #2: I desire to be entrusted with more, so that I am in a position to give more.
It takes a lot of faith to not get paid anything. At some point, though, in order to eat or pay the bills, someone is going to have to knock at the door and hand you a bag of groceries or some money to make ends meet.
How would you like to be the person who’s knocking at the door with the bag of groceries?
Barrier #3: I need to work a regular job to pay the bills, and my calling needs to be an act of sacrifice.
This barrier is one of the most frustrating to me. It’s the combination of all these incongruent beliefs.
Would someone please tell me why there has to be a separation between vocation and calling?
Who came up with that?
I think it’s because some people actually think that the every day tasks that we do aren’t really that spiritual.
Let me tell you my opinion:
- Raising kids
- Driving to work
- Typing in spreadsheets
- Waiting at stoplights
- Taking a shower
- Going to the gym
- Shopping at the grocery store
All these things are spiritual. When we act like they’re not, we make most of life – these everyday tasks – meaningless and lacking purpose.
It’s one of the big reasons why so many are unsatisfied in their jobs. According to Gallup, 85% of people hate their jobs.
Now I personally think that most people hate their jobs because they’re working outside their passion. Your passion is always connected to your purpose and calling. It’s easy to find job satisfaction when you’re doing what you’re passionate about doing. And it’s easy to find meaning when you know you’re doing what you’re meant to do on the planet.
But why does there have to be a separation between vocation and calling? Why can’t you just get paid for what you love to do? What’s wrong with that?
Does a person who has a passion for selling real estate, who helps families get the keys to their dream homes sacrifice less because they’re doing what they love to do?
Does a stay-at-home mom, who takes care of a household 20 hours out of a day sacrifice less?
Does a woman who aspires to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company sacrifice less than a person who goes to Latin America to serve the poor?
Sacrifice doesn’t have to be painful. As a matter of fact, if you’re in your passion and purpose, it may not be painful at all.
Reframe #3: There is no separation between my vocation and my calling. It’s my intention to get paid to live my passion, so that I can give the best of me to fulfill my calling.
I think about the 85% of people who hate their jobs every day. What I think most about them is how their best hours every day – their minds, their emotions, their physical bodies – literally their lives are being spent doing something they weren’t made to do.
It’s really poor stewardship to sacrifice all that life for side money so that you can live your purpose in your spare time.
Somehow that just doesn’t add up.
I have an immense amount of respect for religious and spiritual people of all kinds. And because I’m so aware of positive impact they can make on this planet, I truly believe they should be rewarded and honored appropriately.
If guilt is a problem for a coach, I have to believe that an incongruent belief is the culprit.
Once we reframe our spiritual lives accurately, our impact will increase exponentially.
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