are you helping or hurting?

I'm going to say something absolutely ludicrous out loud... "I used to give card readings for free".

There, I've said it. I've confessed.

It's not something, sitting here today, that I'm proud of. However, at the time I had just started out on my journey offering oracle card readings and, well, I was desperate - desperate to get clients, desperate to grow my email list, desperate to be seen and heard.

And everyone (from 'experts' to amateurs and everyone in between) was telling me, "You've got to give stuff for free when you first start out, when you first start a business. It's what you need to do".

Now, to an extent I get it. Having people opt in to receive weekly emails from you is paramount in business. And, in exchange for someone kindly handing over their email address to you, giving you permission to show up in their inbox... well, it's only good manners to offer them something in return; a pdf, a quick video, an diluted ebook, even a short meditation. Something that is created once and shared multiple times, something that reflects what you do and what you could potentially offer them.

A free 1-card reading, however, was not something that I could share with multiple people. It was personalised for each and every person who agreed to let me pop into their inbox every week. And that meant that whilst people started to hear about me and get to know about me, I was giving so much in return for, actually, so little. The energetic scales were completely off-balance and askew.

It wasn't until one person gave me their email address and I sent them their personalised card reading, only to have them immediately remove themselves from receiving their emails (I mean, honestly, they didn't even wait to receive one single email from me) that I realised I was making a huge mistake (in hindsight, I'll be forever grateful for that person). Their action prompted me to look through all the emails I had so diligently collected and given a free card reading for in return. And when I did, do you know how many of those people ended up actually buying a reading (of any kind) from me?

Zero. Zilch. None.

Indeed, as we sit here today, do you know how many of those people still agree to receive my weekly emails? A very small handful.

Effectively I had wasted my time collecting email addresses from people who would never ever become clients. They simply wanted something for free.

Lesson learned? I thought so...

However, more recently, the same lesson reared its head again in a slightly different form. You see, not so long ago, I discovered that I had fallen back into the freely-giving hole. Only this time, having learned from my past, it wasn't so much that I was giving away things for free (though in a way I was also still doing that - if you're a student in my FB group, you'll understand), it was more that I was giving things away at a price that was as good as free, a price that greatly undervalued my worth, my talents, and my gifts.

This time it wasn't because I was just starting out in my business and it was "what you need to do", this time I was telling myself it was because I was called to help and guide others who needed my support and I convinced myself I was grateful to have the opportunity and gifts to do so, that through them I could make a positive difference in the world, even a small corner of the world.

Again, can you guess how many people downloaded what I was offering for so little? It wasn't no-one, however it was very few.

It seems that, whilst I do learn from my mistakes, my improvements arise in small incremental steps...

This time, it wasn't a person who taught me the error of my ways. This time it was the Universe who chose to give me some tough love and generously chose to teach me about the real truth hiding behind my desire to give so much for free or next to nothing.

Do you want to know what the Universe has taught me? If you're self-employed or a business owner like me, I encourage you to really get your head around this, grasp it and take it onboard because I, for one, never once thought of the negative repercussions my actions were having.

What I have been slowly discovering is that giving away things for free or for next to nothing has had less to do with feeling called to help and guide others (that's just a story I was telling myself to avoid the hard truth) and  much more (dare I say 'everything'?) to do with not feeling worthy. That old programming of 'not good enough', 'not worthy' and 'not deserving' that has been ruling my life for decades. And I know I'm not alone in this...

The result of my relentless giving? An energy that has been so out of whack for so many years that nothing I did brought me the true soul happiness and rewards I know, consciously, I deserve (I’m still working on my subconscious believing the same).

And, so, after a lot of hinting, nudging, and, finally, a good kick up the proverbial from the Universe earlier this year, I got the message and I stopped.

Now… I have to admit, my move from offering too much for free (or next to nothing) has not necessarily gone down too well with quite a number of people. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase that  someone somewhere said once upon a time, “the best things in life are free”. And whilst sometimes that may be true, I have found that, for the most part, people who always take for free rarely find any worth in what they’re receiving. And when you, like me, offer and give so much for free you’re simply adding to the problem – you’re training people to become free-loaders, you’re playing a big role in keeping their vibe low. And that's not a positive way to live.

And so, after a lot of chipping away by the Universe at my lack of self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-everything, I finally realised that if I indirectly tell people I’m not worthy by giving so much for free (or next to nothing), people will quickly believe that to be true and will never be grateful for me or the value I can offer them…

I’ve also discovered, if people aren’t grateful for what I offer them, at a fair and honest price, then I’m only adding to the negative vibration that is circling the human world in the current times.

There's been a lot of buzz and chatter these last few years around mindfulness and being mindful. On the surface, becoming more mindful simply means becoming more tuned in to everything you do, say, be in the present moment rather than tuning out and living on auto-pilot.

However, like so much in life, there's so much more to mindfulness when you scratch beneath the surface.

If you are truly being mindful, you're not only focusing on how to be better tuned into your own life in the present moment, you're also becoming more aware (aka mindful) of what your choices, decisions, actions are doing and creating in the lives of those impacted by them. And if your choices, decisions and actions are causing others to fall into a lower vibrational energy, then it's time to step up and better understand what being mindful truly means.

Training and showing people that it's okay, normal, and, indeed, acceptable to receive for free without giving anything or much in return, means you're training and showing them that it is okay, normal, and acceptable to reside in a low vibrational place. And, honestly, that's not okay. We're here to make this world a better place, to help those around us and those we come into contact with, to live in a higher vibrational state. Giving away your worth, your gifts, your abilities for free or next to nothing not only demonstrates a lack of worth and love towards yourself, it sends those impacted by your choices and decisions spiralling down into a lower vibration, a life that can and never will feel fufilled.

Make sense?

Now I hear you. I hear you enthusiastically reject everything I've just said as a bunch of codswaddle, because you genuinely think, feel, and believe you are giving for the good of others, to help others, that you are serving others. Are you still so sure about that? Or has a tiny niggling doubt entered your head and your heart?

If you still vehemently feel your choice to give too much for free or next to nothing is because you so love to serve and help others, then I invite you to play a little game with yourself. The game is called "Why?"

Ask yourself why you're give so much for free or next to nothing. And keep asking why after why after why until you really dig down and uncover the truth. Believe me, the reason will have everything to do with your perception of yourself (usually negative) and very little to do with genuinely benefitting others.

And when you've uncovered the true reason behind your "Why?", then I invite you to take the steps I've taken. Scrap the freebies and the products and services you charge next to nothing for where you give away so much of yourself, your time. your energy, your worth. Replace them with products and services that declare your worth, your talents, your gifts, your abilities.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to understand, and I invite you to contemplate it incase you’ve discovered your self to be in the same boat.

We’ve got to stop kidding ourselves that we’re living a high vibe life when we’re encouraging others to live in a low vibe by always giving stuff for free, or below their true value, our true worth.

And, conversely, we’ve got to stop kidding ourselves that we’re living a high vibe life when we’re always on the hunt for freebies and are unwilling to pay a fair price for another’s time, gifts, or service.

Being hypocritical kills our high vibe…

I don’t know about you, that’s been one heck of an eye-opener for me recently.

Living a high vibe starts with you. You’ve got to truly walk the talk and ensure that you’re not preventing those around you doing the same, even when you do tell yourself you’re doing good (spoiler alert: actually, you’re not).

Living a high-vibe life means living a mindful life, mindful for yourself and others impacted by your choices, decisions and actions.

Living a mindful life attracts a multitude of benefits including improved stress levels, greater physical health and well-being, better sleep, relationship satisfaction, decreased anxiety and depression, residing in a higher vibrational state and, of course, encouraging others to do the same, it's no wonder that so many people are turning to it.

However, where do you begin? Can you become mindful without following in-depth courses, reading a bookcase of books on the subject, listening to an array of podcasts?