More than it costs me

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Next month I turn 44 years old. Which means I’ve been a professional performer for 25 years, and a Learning & Development Professional for 20 years. I’ve helped others make their businesses & lives more successful, and run my own businesses and lived my own weirdly awesome life for over a dozen years.

As someone who’s curious about everything and not scared to keep making new mistakes, I’ve learned a ton along the way. I’m happy to teach what I know, that’s actually one of the things I’ve gotten to be incredibly good at.

I’ve also contributed to and led community building efforts for a long time now. Always on my own dime, and because I believed it needed to be done. The joy of the work itself and the connections with other marvelous humans was enough.

But as of this year, I’m taking a better approach. I may still do these things for free for the joy of the work itself and the connections it brings if it pleases me to do so, but I will decline opportunities to that land me in the red.

So if you want me to consider doing something, start with paying me more than it costs me.

I like to think I’m a fast learner, but the truth is that it’s taken me many years to get where I am now with this statement. Though I’ve been on my way this direction for a while, and now it is becoming Official Sam Policy :)

Today I’m canceling my appearances at an upcoming conference because it’s now clear that I’d be going in the hole financially to be there. As you may know, I’ve been speaking at conferences a lot in the last 5 years. Occasionally I’ve managed to achieve breakeven by teaching pre-conference workshops, but more often than not I’ve paid for the privilege to do all the facilitating and presenting and community building that I do. Even though I’ve been paid to keynote such events, organize such events, and have long since proven my ability to consistently deliver high-quality learning experiences.

As I’m waking up at my sister’s house in California this morning (instead of my home in Utah), it’s because a dear friend invited me to perform at her event this weekend. I would usually do everything I can to be there for support, and that involves a lot of work for someone who lives a 14hr drive away. This time I asked if she would cover my flight out, and she said “yes”! We rehearse tonight, and perform tomorrow. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Well…actually it feels pretty hard for me still. But experience has taught me that new behaviors are just like that, it doesn’t mean anything. I can predict that my mind will tell me all the reasons that I’m sick and bad and wrong for this change. I know I’ll probably slip up a bit at the beginning too, no matter how I try. It’s still worth trying.

I want to help you. I want us to help each other. I want everyone to only do the work that’s worth doing, and release the rest.

If you want me to help you going forward, this is where the conversation begins. I kindly request that you pay me more than it costs me out of pocket for my involvement. I know what I’m doing. You’re in good hands. Reduce my downside risk, and you’ll get a whole lotta upside in return!

Comments? Questions? Ideas? Stark raving mad rants? The comments box below is here to listen to you :)

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