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Cheryl Richardson: Build Career Confidence

I met Carrie at Miraval Resort earlier this year during Body+Soul's retreat for readers. At a workshop I offered on creating an abundant life, I asked for volunteers to share one thing they wanted more of. Carrie raised her hand. Visibly nervous and somewhat shy, she admitted, "I'd like more financial abundance."

She went on to explain that she was a nurse who'd recently finished training in craniosacral therapy, a gentle form of bodywork. She adored the work and had been donating her services to willing students to better develop her technique. Now Carrie was ready to open her practice and start charging fees. But here's where she got stuck: She couldn't ask for money.

Do you think you have a gift for this work?" I asked her, trying to gauge how confident she felt in her ability. "Yes," she replied immediately. "I love what I do, and I'm good at it." I then pressed a bit more. If she knew she had a gift, why wouldn't she want to share it with people? Again, the answer came without hesitation. "Honestly, I'm not sure people would be interested." Recognizing her response reflected more fear than truth, I knew that challenging her assumptions would be our first order of business.

Reality Check
I turned to the audience in the room and asked who might be interested -- and willing to pay for -- a craniosacral session. About 80 percent of the people raised their hands. Surveying the room, Carrie seemed both surprised and relieved by the response. Just then a woman stood and asked to share a relevant story. It would prove to be a divine moment.

She told of having recently received exactly that type of treatment from a neighbor. But when she had called to schedule a follow-up appointment, the neighbor made it clear that she couldn't accept money for her services. The woman continued, "I was frustrated because I didn't feel comfortable accepting the treatment without paying for it. So in the end, I just never went back." The room fell silent as we watched Carrie take in this story. She would later say that hearing this woman's perspective made her realize something: It was actually disrespectful, in a way, not to accept payment. She simply needed to muster the courage to ask for a fee.

To help her overcome her fear, I challenged her to immediately take action toward fulfilling her dream. Her mission? She needed to find at least two people at the retreat who would agree to pay a reduced rate to receive a craniosacral treatment. That meant that Carrie would actually have to stop and ask participants if they were interested. A bit reluctantly, she accepted the challenge.

Sure enough, while walking down a path toward the Miraval dining room the next day, I ran into a smiling Carrie. She was on her way to meet with her second paying client. Clearly, she was ready for my next assignment. I suggested she gather together a group of girlfriends when she returned home. She needed to let them know of her plans to start a practice and explain that she was looking for referrals. I wanted her to feel what it was like to receive loving support for her intention. Knowing that accountability is the key to consistent action, I also asked her to send me an e-mail within 30 days to report her results.

Sweet Success
Three weeks after the workshop, I received Carrie's update. Things starting falling into place almost as soon as she'd gotten home. A previously scheduled movie night was canceled after one of her girlfriends fell ill, but she seized the opportunity and invited the rest of the women over to her place. With them all assembled, she announced the plans to launch her new practice -- and to her delight, they were immediately on board. Within weeks she had secured two referrals, exchanged services with a chiropractor, and received an offer to share an office with a local doctor.

Need Cheryl's Coaching?
Each issue, our life coach helps a Body+Soul reader work on life challenges like career change, relationships, and procrastination. Write to Cheryl, describing your situation, at Cheryl@bodyandsoulmag.com. Cheryl Richardson is a life coach, speaker, and best-selling author of four books, including The Unmistakable Touch of Grace. Visit her at cherylrichardson.com.

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