Define Your Value

Appreciating Yourself is the First Step

By Jennie Hastings
[Mindful Money]

Where does value come from? Most people think the material objects in our lives have value. They do not. Value comes from within us and is placed on the objects in our lives. Things have no inherent value. A thing is only valuable if you perceive it as having value.
For example, let’s choose an object: a AA battery. Imagine you are offered the finest AA battery in the world. It is long-lasting, gives great power, and all the experts agree it is excellent. That AA battery is very valuable, right? Well, not exactly. What if your flashlight only takes a C battery? It does not matter how amazing the AA battery is; it is of no use to you and has no value. In this instance, you would be happier to have the worst C battery in the world, and that terrible C battery would be far more valuable to you than the best AA battery. The value of an object is only determined by the value the people in relationship to that object give it. It’s the same for your bodywork services.
A lot of people think a massage has a set value. They think that because they typically see a massage session offered for $60, $85, or $110, that a massage must hold that value. This is just not so. Massage, like the battery, has no inherent value. All of the value placed on a massage is put there by the people involved.
We have all met people who say they want a massage, but cannot afford it. What they’re really saying is, “A massage sounds nice, but I really don’t value massage enough to spend my money on it.” You hear them say they cannot afford a massage and then later that week they tell you about the new top-of-the-line skis they bought. At this point, it’s clear that being able to afford a massage is not the issue. The issue is where they place their value.
On the other hand, there are people who buy their clothes secondhand and go to a free dental clinic, but never miss their monthly massage. They pay for it happily because they value it. This underscores that the concept of value has everything to do with the people involved in an exchange and nothing to do with what is being exchanged.

Articulate Your Value
One of the biggest breakthroughs in making more money as a massage therapist or bodyworker is to realize that the value of your work has everything to do with the value you place on it, and that value comes from within you. If you value yourself and your work, and artfully articulate that value to your clients, they will automatically begin to value you more.
A good friend of mine is a massage therapist, and he recently decided to raise his prices. He has been charging the same rate for a long time, and realized his value had increased a lot and was ready to ask for more. During a conversation about the price increase, he offered to sell a loyal client a package of massages at the old rate to ease him into the new pricing model. His client responded, “Thanks, but I have no problem paying you what you’re worth. You can save the discounts for somebody else.” Wow! Amazing!
Do you see what happens when we define our value? Other people feel it, and it helps them respect our worth. No one will ever ask you to raise your prices; however, many people will agree to match you in the amount of value you place on yourself. Of course, a few won’t. But the people who leave your practice because they won’t pay your new rate make room for new clients who think your rate is a great deal. We need to concentrate on finding the people who value our work. The easiest way to attract people who value our work is to start noticing our own value.

Feel Your Value
This is where taking a value inventory comes in. A value inventory means you examine yourself and identify every valuable part. It does not matter from what angle you look at yourself. Maybe some days you notice the value in your strong hands and powerful shoulders. Another day you appreciate the value of your honesty and compassion. Maybe another day you celebrate something as silly as the way you wear mismatched socks with joyful glee. It all counts. It all makes you who you are. It all makes you infinitely valuable. The more you add up your value—and really feel it—the easier it will be to ask for that value in exchange for your services.
As you continue this journey into mindful money, subtract the limiting beliefs that hold you back and add the awareness of your value. This basic math is sure to help you move forward on your path to a sustainable and rewarding career.

Jennie Hastings, LMT, BCTMB, has studied money in the therapeutic process from every angle: as a client, patient, and practitioner. From the very beginning of her bodywork career, she received business training and coaching. Now she helps other massage therapists break through limiting beliefs about money with private and group coaching. She can be reached at