Tag Archives: Psychology
Darth Vader

Do you know Darth Vader, the dark force of many of the Star Wars movies? Did you know that we all have a bit of Darth Vader in us? We are driven by our fears. The Star Wars movies are full of allusions to deep psychology and how our attachments and fears form our behaviors and life. With this post, I would like to give you an understanding of how we are influenced by our fears and how you can change to become a Jedi. 

Fritz Riemann, a deep psychologist established a theory based on four basic forms of fear (“Grundformen der Angst”). The four basic forms of angst are formed in our early childhood and determine to a large extent how we behave when we are grown up. In the extreme form these fears turn into psychological illnesses.

For Riemann, the Sith are schizoid, depressed, obsessive and hysterical people. You have to be aware that even though these terms have found their way into our everyday language the clinical spectrum of these illnesses is serious and needs treatment through therapy.

Carl Gustav Jung, another deep psychologist discovered the “shadow”. Jung assumed that all of our relationships with other people are based on unconscious projections of our own wishes and expectations into their behavior.

According to Jung, the shadow is the part of us that we have driven into the unconscious as it was unwanted (for example behavior as a child) as opposed to our “Persona” which was the desired (performing) part of us.

Did you ever notice that you don’t like traits in another person and later someone told you that you have this trait too?

To speak in Star Wars terminology: You might have a bit of Darth Vader within you even though you might be a Jedi most of the time.

Like Darth Vader, we were not always bad. Some of us had negative experiences. Other lost trust in the world because of a traumatic experience. Our education system did not help either. We were ruled by authority and we had to perform. If you did not have your homework back in the 70-ies and 80-ies you were punished.

No one told us that we are great because we are creative, or even because we are who we are. We were taught to perform for making it in life. My parents had a different approach to education, but they also were young and idealistic and sometimes forgot their own children over the ones they took care of.

Today when you watch TV or check an ad statement you will see that what is often shown to us is a world full of existential angst or full of gold-coated “happy families”.

We are torn between a world to be afraid in and a world where everyone is on happy pills all the time. It’s like a world where the dark forces rule and were the Sith have won. Everywhere.

Could you still become a Jedi?

What if you decided that you did not want to be ruled by fear and anxiety?

What if you wanted to be the light and show others to stay “good” or to stay on their mission?

What if you could be Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia Organa?

You see that the Jedis confront their fears all the time. They deal with it. They do what they are afraid to do and they fight evil step-by-step. They don’t stop. They sometimes take a break to train or to collect the force. They retreat to be able to focus on their mission again.

Real change happens only through taking action. You start by confronting what you are afraid of. You go into the dark tunnel and the abyss of your soul. You dive deep into the black sea of concern and unconscious. There, you will find the monsters, the Sith, the evil you need to handle. You need to work through those with a light-saber. You tackle one relationship after the next relationship. You go through them all. All your fears, projections, shadows. I’ll stay by your side like Obi Wan Kenobi.

Cherish the people who criticize you, but don’t let their criticism stop you from what you think is right.

Stay on your path.

One day you will look back and only see Jedis around you.

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Entsorgung

“Experience is, for me, the highest authority. The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other person’s ideas and none of my own ideas are as authoritative as my experience. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming me.” – Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person, 1954

When I was a teenager, we had set meal times and would actually sit on a table together at least twice a day. Our family brunch on Sundays would often lead to a conversation about a “problem”. My dad was studying to be a Carl Rogers client-centered therapist at the time and I am not sure if he sometimes tried to use a questioning method or if he was just very skilled in giving me and my sister the space and safety in which we could just “let it out”. 

Having this kind of open environment in which you would be able to talk through anything is a family tradition which we still live with when we are together. Even though my dad and sister have left this earth already a long time ago, my mum, my aunt and I often sit down and just talk through anything, we love to analyze why a person shows a certain behaviour and how we can solve relationship issues. For me, this is so normal that I sometimes need to remind myself that it is not at all “normal” but rather extraordinary, especially in the German context. I would assume other families have a stronger discussion around political topics, money issues (how to save it) or even more mundane topics like sports.

I, on the other hand, have realized in a conversation with friends that sharing problems and openly talking about feelings, insecurities or areas of your life where you might not feel like “Wonder Woman” could be misinterpreted or it could come across as if you don’t really know where you are going. 

Which is funny, because right now I feel completely safe and on the right path of my life. I have a strong sense of alignment between my strengths and my life’s work. Insecurities of artistic types are normal because we expose ourselves to critiques a lot more often than the average business professional but most companies also train people to use other words than “problem” or we are not allowed to use words such as “drama”. 

It took me years to weed out the “corporate speak” in my writing and even a word like “alignment” creeps me out a bit as it feels “corporate”. This year during a meditation I chose the word “Roots” for my word of 2021. Solving problems is one of my roots and hence I wanted to share four beliefs behind problems with you.

Problems remind us of Math in High School

When I think of problems I think of my favorite math teacher (who also died rather young) and his gigantic triangle. He had the outer appearance of a garden dwarf but he was a great math and physics teacher. He even made me like physics at some stage. In math we had to solve problems all the time and sometimes this would cause stress. I can’t remember this from school or university but I know that I personally don’t like those psychometric tests which are sometimes still used in banks and consulting firms to weed out candidates. The classical IQ tests focussing on calculations in your head can be stressful if you grew up using a calculator. “Being bad with numbers” is a common stereotype of women and often used against women. I’m concerned that women might often not be “bad with numbers” but with the pressure of solving a mathematical problem without using EXCEL or without a calculator and under time constraints. If you take this into consideration with a bit of practice and a good teacher every math problem usually is solvable. And this is exactly what I mean with a “problem”. It’s a riddle that is complex and will need time, practice and different angles to be solved. Do you like crossword puzzles? Could you imagine an upcoming “issue” or pickle to be approached like a crossword puzzle? Write down all the pieces, paint a picture and see if a solution shows up.

Problems seem to be too complex to solve

Sometimes solving problems alone is not possible. Problems might seem too complex to solve. You might have a machine in front of you and you always follow the same steps and always end up with the same error messages. For this kind of problem you either need Google or you need to ask someone who understands the machine better than you do. You need to potentially try several times and several different approaches. You can write down what you did to solve the problem, you can ask a bot for help or you can ask around in your network. Maybe someone else has encountered the same problem and has a solution or a workaround. My advice is usually to break the problem into smaller tasks or to paint an image to understand the components and how they are interconnected. Are you confronted with a problem you cannot solve? Which steps have you taken and tried already? Would it be time to ask for help? If you aren’t getting help, should you escalate the issue to the next level now? What is at stake? Can you allow yourself a bit of discomfort?

Problems harm our “Wonder-Woman” self-image

Having problems is often associated with shortcomings and hence harms our self-image of being a perfect “Wonder Woman”. However, this self-image also creates a lot of harm, especially when life isn’t perfect. For example, when I was in my thirties and forties not being able to get pregnant, nor holding my marriage together in two locations with two careers was a real problem. Up until then I was living in this illusion that life was planable and that all you had to do was to take action and be a go-getter. I might have exaggerated this a bit too much since I lost half of my family rather early in life. I probably thought “okay, from now on I will just plan this better.” (I really love plans, spreadsheets and to-do lists.)

Life isn’t like that and during my coach training I learned to accept that. I also learned that you cannot change other people, you can only change yourself. And do you know who is really a “Wonder Woman”? It’s a woman who loves herself anyway, despite the failure of her body at producing offspring, despite her failed marriage and despite the stain on her top. Ask yourself if you could accept a little more each day and what it would take to “be yourself”? What does it mean for you? Maybe start with a small change, like wearing a different outfit or letting your hair down.

Problems could show us a dependency we are not happy about.

Often a problem is a conflict of two or three different interests pulling into different directions. It can also stem from opposing beliefs and constructs of reality. If we cannot seem to solve a problem alone we might feel dependent and many of us don’t like to ask for help. It’s a common stereotype that men don’t like to ask for directions. However, I don’t like to ask for directions either. Mainly because I have a hard time differentiating left and right sometimes and again asking for how something is done best could show a weakness of sorts. Are you afraid to ask for help? Are you unhappy to depend on a colleague, a mentor or a friend? If so, ask yourself why that is? What is so shameful about asking for help?

Problems are here to guide us on our past. Obstacles are learning opportunities and pain is useful. Approach your day with a small problem you wish to solve and add a weekly practice to your RockMeApp around solving problems.

If you feel overwhelmed with a bigger problem and you don’t know how to ask for help or who to turn to, maybe it’s time to talk to me about a coaching program or the RockMeRetreat. Please reply “Magic” to this email and we will make an appointment for a free consultation of 30 minutes.


Pricing in the professional services industry is nothing else than a value we give to an experience.

When we spend, there are pain points such as getting the car repaired and there are pleasure points such as a manicure. Sometimes we love to spend money on an experience that gives us a good feeling about ourselves or improves our general well-being. You probably feel great when you can buy a bottle of champagne on a weekend trip or book a wellness spa instead of an ordinary hotel.

We are normally way beyond the basic needs of the Maslow pyramid. Most of the people I know don’t really know how much a liter of milk costs. We happily spend money on holidays and luxury items. Being in a managerial function, this is what you do. You slave away and on weekends and holidays, you indulge. You want luxury in your lives. I used to consider myself a “high maintenance chick” with a feel for quality clothing, weekend trips to NYC and a no-budget policy for daily expenses. I used to say that I apply Reaganomics to my personal life (I spent more than I earned).

Today, I am more sensitive to this topic. As a solopreneur, I learned what it meant not to have money at all. This was a healthy experience (which has now found an end). What about you? You just started your business a year ago. You still can’t pay the bills. You still depend financially on your spouse, your parents or in-laws or the state? Or maybe you are an expat spouse, who has not found a job yet?

I hope these four methods will help you put a price tag to your service offering.

#1 Create your Client

So, before you even think about service packages and pricing create your clients. Imagine you can decide how your client functions. Understand what bothers them. Understand how they would love to spend their time. Understand what their pain and pleasure points are. Keep an inventory and write down the story of your ideal client.

#2 Target the Threshold

For some reason it is always easier to pay an amount that is slightly lower than the next bigger amount even though the price might be ridiculously high in the first place. For example I accept to pay CHF 95 for a manicure but if it was CHF 100 I would not buy this service anymore. Target the next big number but then stay slightly below. You should do market research and find out what competitors are charging for similar services but your clients normally don’t just come to you because of your price. Often it is a mixture of trustworthiness, competence that you are eluding, recommendations and good reputation. If your service was interchangeable they would get it online for free.

#3 Package the Pain

The pain is in the beginning. I prefer to pay for packaged deals for example for a holiday and I prefer to make the payment a few weeks before the holiday. I have introduced this idea to my clients as well. For you as an entrepreneur, it means less minute-counting, fewer invoices, less hassle and better cash flow (if you can agree advance payments). BUT for your client: It means that they have the pain once and then for a long time they feel good and enjoy your service.

#4 Reduce the Rebate

In the beginning of our business we tend to work with a small group of people we already know. We give them better prices than our usual clients. While it is natural that you want to give a favourable rates to your family members and their friends consider the impact this will have on your annual turnover. Over time you need to reduce those rebates and freebies. I prefer to work pro-bono once in a while and clearly call it charity. I don’t like to work with clients who cannot afford me or don’t know how to pay for the coaching.

If you feel insecure about your performance or if you test a new service you can run a “pilot”. Ask potential clients and friends to spend their time and to give you feedback and suggestions in exchange for a “free ride”. Make sure that you communicate the real price value of a free service. In Switzerland, you have to have a price list. Even if you won’t share your prices on your website, you can send a price list to clients on request.

If you feel under pressure from larger clients, let them know on the invoice which services you provided in addition to what you got paid for. This happened to me in the early days when I was too accommodating in order to win a corporate client. I avoid these deals now. If you gave reductions or rebates in the early days of your business, reduce them over time or return to the price you have on your price list.

Let me know how you will you create a good pricing model for your services and contact me if you struggle.

 

Angie

 

#1 Psychologise* your Price

Price in the professional services industry is nothing else than a value we give to an experience. I have already mentioned that when we spend there are pain points (like repairing the car) and there are pleasure points (like a manicure). Sometimes spending money on an experience that gives us a good feeling about ourselves or improves our general well-being feels like a treat. You probably feel great when you can buy a bottle of champagne on a weekend trip or book a wellness spa instead of an ordinary hotel. Today we slave away so we can have more luxury in our lives. We are normally way beyond the basic needs of the Maslow pyramid.

But wait. You are an entrepreneur. You just started your business a year ago? You still can’t pay the bills? You still depend financially on your spouse, your parents or in-laws or the state? Well that’s normal but remember: You are not your clients. You have to separate your sense of worth from your clients. Usually we serve clients in a higher income bracket than us. We solve an issue that they cannot or do not want to solve themselves because either they are too busy with other stuff or they have enough money to buy your services so they can have more free time to play golf, hang out with their children or go on spa weekends to de-stress.

#2 Create your Client

So, before you even think about service packages and pricing create your clients. Imagine you can decide how your client functions. Understand what bothers them. Understand how they would love to spend their time. Understand what their pain and pleasure points are. Keep an inventory. (I run a regular list of the 10 most annoying items when moving to Switzerland and one of the 10 most cherished items. These lists are discussed in trainings. Most participants instantly get it, some don’t. I prefer to work with the ones who connect. I also prefer to work with clients who get my humour BTW.)

#3 Target the Threshold

For some reason it is always easier to pay an amount that is slightly lower than the next bigger amount (even though the price might be ridiculously high in the first place). For example I accept to pay CHF 95 for a manicure but if it was CHF 100 I would not buy this service anymore. So target the next big number but then stay slightly below. Obviously you should do market research and find out what competitors are charging for similar services but your clients normally don’t just come to you because of your price. Often it is a mixture of trustworthiness, competence that you are eluding, recommendation and good reputation. If your service was interchangeable they would get it online for free.

#4 Package the Pain

The pain is in the beginning. In the meantime I prefer to pay for packaged deals. Slowly I am introducing this idea to my clients as well. For you it means: Less minute-counting, less invoices, less hassle and better cash flow (if you can agree advance payments). BUT for your client: It means that they have the pain once and then for a long time they feel good and enjoy your service. J

#5 Reduce the Rebate

In the beginning of our business we tend to work with a small group of people we already know. We give them better prices than our usual clients. While it is natural that you want to give a favourable rates to your family members and their friends consider the impact this will have on your annual turnover. Over time you need to reduce those rebates and freebies. I prefer to work pro-bono once in a while and clearly call it charity to having clients that cannot afford me. Also, if you feel insecure about your own performance or if you test a new service you can run a pilot and ask people to spend their time giving you important feedback and suggestions in exchange for a free ride. Make sure that you always communicate the real price value of a free service. If you get squeezed by clients let them know on the invoice which services you provided in addition to what you got paid for. (Don’t let them squeeze you all the time though.)

 

Task: How will you create a good pricing model for your business?

 

*I do not think “psychologise” is a commonly used verb but this is actually what you need to do.