I imagine we have all felt disheartened, distracted, and even overwhelmed by the online world at times. On the one hand, there is the sheer volume of information. A never-ending flow of noise that swamps our thoughts and influences our feelings. But it’s not just the noise. It’s also the way we hold each other.
“Danger seems to lurk around every corner—with new grifts, scams, and hucksters sprouting up every minute.”
These words are by Rob Hardy in his article, The More Beautiful Internet Our Hearts Know is Possible. I caught up with him recently, and we talked about our experiences creating, building, and connecting online.
Naturally, there was a small dose of doom, gloom, and despair. But it didn’t all go that way. We also chatted about some of the things that give us hope, including alternative ways we are experimenting and playing as we build our creative practices and businesses in the online world.
Because of the shadows lurking around the corners, trust is in short supply for many of us. We spend excessive time on high alert in anticipation of another person trying to sell us something we don’t need in a way that forces us into the uncomfortable position of having to say no. Not a place many gentle rebels and sensitive souls would willingly choose.
So the topic of “choose your own price” coaching sessions came up. Rob has been doing this for a while, and it’s an approach I’ve used in other contexts (selling merchandise at gigs). I wanted to investigate the practicalities of moving to that kind of model. Is it useful? Could it work for me?
My intuition told me, yes, but I wanted to hear from Rob about his experiences.
The Psychological Impact of Free
While we are often drawn to free stuff, we’ve also learned to be deeply suspicious of it. It usually has a concealed cost. The internet has taught us to be wary of the underlying price we are paying.
The “choose your own price” approach immediately felt better than doing free “discovery sessions”. Free can sometimes feel like bait. A lure towards a trap. And when we are suspicious, on alert, and preparing to react to the hard sell, we are are not relaxed and calm – necessities for a valuable coaching conversation.
Replacing the psychological cost of “free” has had a more enriching impact on the session and allows everyone to relax. The other person clearly understands what’s expected from them, and I get to focus on the important thing…connection.
Contribution Creates Meaning
Sometimes an invitation to contribute can be a gift. When we feel able to give to a situation, relationship, or outcome, we feel more deeply connected to it. Contributing provides us with a sense of purpose and place. We are part of creating rather than simply consuming the world around us.
I wouldn’t say I like the idea of coaching being the preserve of certain people with the means to afford it. I’m aware that times are especially tough at the moment. Coaching can be a lifeline but isn’t a budgetary priority for many of us. I don’t want this to be a barrier for anyone who would value a conversation to get clear on the path they can take, through, and beyond their current situation.
Choose Your Own Price Coaching
These lines in Rob’s post speak to the kind of world I want to be part of creating through my work.
He writes, “when we suspect the worst, we end up co-authoring the future we most fear”. I would love to help co-author a future where we trust is gradually built again. If “our environments shape our behavior, our beliefs, our emotional life”, I want to focus on creating online environments that positively shape creative and playful behaviours, beliefs, and emotional engagement.
“An oasis is a small patch of fertile ground in an otherwise inhospitable environment.”
Maybe we can nurture such a place together.