Fooled again! Why do I keep on making the same mistakes over and over again? And each time the price I pay increases exponentially. You think I would have learned by now. In my defence, though the outcomes were the same, the situations which were presented to me appeared different at the outset.

Yes I finally learned, but at a great personal costs. I decided that I had to change so I made deep seated changes for permanent change. Was it easy? No! I had to walk away from relationships that were destructive to me. There are three costly mistakes that I made that you could learn from.

Mistake I

I allowed people to talk me into putting their needs ahead of mine because I did not really value what I had to offer. If I did not value what I had to offer, why would anyone value it? Because I did not place a value on what I had to offer, I worked for much less than I deserved based on my experience and the quality of my service. I never trusted that if I said no to those devaluing my services, others would say yes to what I had to offer.

Lesson I

  • We all have skills and much to offer, so do not devalue what you have to offer to please clients
  • Trust that if you set your price based on your skills and experience and your service is in demand, you will never go hungry
  • People mirror you and treat you the way you treat yourself

Mistake II

A few years ago I secured a new not-for-profit client in the educational sector. We had a few meetings and they told me that if I discounted my fees I would be getting a lot of work from them. I discounted my prices and got a few small projects from them. When they had a large research project, which would have made working at a discounted price worthwhile, they contracted one of the large research firms to work on the project. This did not make me feel very good about myself.

Lesson II

  • If a new client asks you to discount your fees, thank them for their faith in you and let them know that for the first few projects you will keep your prices, but for subsequent projects you are open to negotiating a special pricing
  • As a professional it is very important not to discount your prices if you want to keep your reputation intact, especially when you cater to a certain level of clientele. It is better not to be in a situation where you have to explain to Client A why Client B got a discount

Mistake III

The owner of a small business hires me to do an intervention to boost employee morale. After I evaluate the situation I realize that the business owner is the problem. He manages by a culture of fear and is also the school yard bully. He forces the employees to do things by bullying them.

I meet offsite with the business owner and debrief him. He agrees to change his behaviour. Things are great for a few weeks then he reverts to his old ways. We have another meeting and he promises to try harder. I see a pattern but in my arrogance think that I can change him. I should have walked away the minute I realized that he was incapable of change because he enjoyed managing by fear because it made him feel powerful.

Lesson III

  • Bullies often play the role of victim and do not see themselves as the problem
  • When I met with the business owner and debriefed him on the offending behaviours, I should have set a timeline, and if substantial changes did not occur during that period, I should have walked away from the project

If I faced these situations again today, I would respond very differently because I have learned important lessons from these mistakes. I have also become wiser. In some cases it took me a while to change because I am always looking for the good in people and expect that they will always do the right thing. The fact is that not everyone will do the right thing. Earl Nightingale says we should never enter into any transactions where all parties do not benefit. That is sound advice for us to follow. So, before you embark on any projects, evaluate very carefully to ensure that all parties, including yourself will benefit. It is not more blessed to give than receive. Learn from my mistakes!

Author's Bio: 

Avil Beckford, Chief Invisible Mentor, writer and researcher with over 15 years of experience, is the published author of Tales of People Who Get It and its companion workbook Journey to Getting It. Subscribe to the Invisible Mentor Blog for great interviews of successful people, book reviews, how-tos, articles and tips to mentor yourself and ignite your hidden genius. Explore the Resources page for free white papers, presentations and an e-book.