Exchanging Our Gifts with Love or Lack

"And a merchant said, Speak to us of Buying and Selling.
  And he answered and said: 'To you the earth yields her fruit, and you shall not want if you but know how to fill your hands.
  It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied.
  Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice it will lead some to greed and others to hunger." 
From The Prophet by Kahlil GibranImages

I find it interesting how Spirit provides the perfect topics to explore.  For example, this week I found my copy of The Prophet on my book shelf and opened it to this passage.

It felt timely since recently Ann and I have been talking about 'buying and selling,' and how much of it in our Western culture seems to not come from love, but more from the fear, lack and struggle we know as the Inherited Purpose.

This exploration on buying and selling started with my exposure to the "Pay What You Can" approach of commerce, as advocated by Tad Hargrave, owner of Radical Business, who I was introduced to by my coach, Mark Silver of Heart of Business.  While I prefer to think of it more as "Pay What Works," whatever you name it, the concept is…well, rather radical…at least by our Western standards.

It goes like this — take part in a product or service, enjoy it, get a real experience of its value and worth, then at the end, pay what you truly feel it's worth based on the value you've received and what works with your particular financial situation.

So far, I've heard of restaurants that are structured this way, as well as some music companies.  Will it catch on?  Time will tell, but today I want to share why we recently decided to experiment with this approach with our first Living & Working On Purpose TeleRetreat offered on a "Pay What You Can Basis."

And I invite and encourage your input and feedback here by posting your thoughts and experience with this concept.

Pay What You Can & the No Committed Soul Left Out Policy
About a year ago, when we saw (and felt) the economic crunch really hitting hard, I felt guided to create a new financial policy — the No Committed Soul Left Out Policy — which simply stated is:

"Anyone who truly feels called to our work (programs and coaching services), and feel that we can be of service to them in living a more purposeful and meaningful life, will not be denied those services due to monetary or financial constraints. We will make every effort to find a way that will allow them to participate in our work while continuing to be financially responsible as an enterprise."

And so, when I was introduced to PWYC, it resonated and felt like it might be in alignment with our approach and philosophy…especially if it was an 'exchange in love and kindly justice.'

While we're still in the midst of this experiment, I'm hopeful.  It feels so much in alignment with our Life On Purpose perspective and philosophy.

It does, however, take a bit more thought, dare I say purposeful pondering, on the part of the participants to sort out what truly is the 'right price' for them.  So, here's one way to go about finding that 'sweet spot – right price.'

Finding the Sweet Spot in Pricing
Here’s one way that I learned from my coach, Mark Silver, to make such decisions that's called the “right price exercise.”

STEP ONE: Connect to the true essence of yourself. For those who have gone through the Life On Purpose Process this would equate to their Divinely Inspired Life Purpose.  But if you haven't yet clarified your true purpose,  it's still possible to make that connection to source in other ways.

Once connected, close your eyes, and think of a starting monetary amount you feel would reflect the value you received, starting off at the low end.  Just as an example, that may be $50, $75 or $100. It’s just a starting point.  Consider that amount for a moment, then when you’re ready increase it a bit, say by $25 or $50.  As you slowly move up, feel how that amount registers for you.  Remember, stay connected to your spiritual essence as do the exercise.

At some point you’ll reach an amount that feels ‘just right' — the sweet spot — for when you go above that amount it will feel off — not in alignment with the value.

STEP TWO: After finding that ‘sweet spot’ amount, look to see what form and schedule of payment would work best for you. You may be comfortable putting that amount on your credit card, or writing a check for it, etc.

Or you may realize it would work better to break that amount into several smaller monthly payments, etc.  Look to see what will work for your particular financial situation.

Of course, these steps can be modified for the particular situation and purchase you're engaged in.

For sure, the "Pay What You Can" or "Pay What Works" approach is a grand opportunity to practice trusting…trusting others, trusting ourselves and trusting Divine Spirit.  And that may be the most important lesson of it all.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic. Do you think this idea will catch on? What's the upsides and downsides you see?  Where does this make sense and where wouldn't it work?