For the third and final post of the April Money Matters series, I have enlisted the help of my friend and colleague Robin Cameron of Life Inspired. Robin and I co-created the Walking the Walk workshop a decade ago and she now works as a Solution Focused Coach. Many of her clients are helping professionals seeking support for compassion fatigue, burnout or career transitions. Robin is also great at helping clients start their own consulting or private practice business – in fact, she has always been my business muse: Robin is the first person I turn to for advice and guidance on anything related to marketing, strategy, setting a fee schedule (oh and picking a great pair of jeans and choosing the best reds to have with dinner – she is a woman of many talents!). So I asked her to join us today as we discuss the challenges and rewards of becoming self-employed and the best ways of talking money with clients. I also asked Robin to describe the coaching experience from her side of the table.
Jon Kabat-Zinn has always said that the most interesting and beneficial aspect of meditation is when we learn to incorporate it into our daily lives: the calm that returns to us, with one breath, while trapped in traffic or in the middle of a difficult client session. In order to achieve this inner calm, we need to develop a regular mindfulness practice. However, there are many stumbling blocks to meditation: not enough time, the “monkey mind” that jumps around and keeps us distracted or preoccupied…The Globe and Mail published an article on “micro-meditations” yesterday (which you can read by clicking here) and a “Tips for A Types who can’t meditate” click here to read.
Oh my goodness, what a week. My life is often busy – having two active children, managing a house, trying to stay healthy and exercise regularly and running my own business makes for a complicated and fast-paced life, something many of you can relate to, I’m sure. But last week took hectic to a whole new level: I recorded my virtual book launch, did several conference calls, attended a course in palliative care, offered training in two different communities, dealt with taxes, drove kids back and forth and back and forth. Isn’t that what we parents become when they are teens: taxis and wallets and people who mop up after the five friends have swarmed by after school and destroyed the block of cheddar? One of my daughter’s friends often drops by after school and heads straight for the cookie jar. Sometimes she walks in, grabs a handful of biscuits and leaves straight away. I caught her once literally with her hand in the cookie jar. You should have seen the look on her face. It still makes me laugh! I think she lives in a cookie-free house and I feel bad for her, so I buy her favourite kinds – my contribution to society. Wouldn’t you? Poor kid. Her house is a no-cookie zone. It’s awful.
But navigating last week was much easier than it would have been a few years ago for two reasons: a) I didn’t stop exercising, which helped manage my stress very nicely and b) I delegated, asked for help and offloaded all the non essentials to the rest of the crew in my household. I have written about how difficult it is for many of us to ask for help and not do everything ourselves. Helping professionals, as a group, really struggle with that. One reason is that in the middle of the storm, delegating can take more time and energy than most of us have – so we just forge ahead and do it ourselves rather than have to explain the steps to someone else. It can also be hard to ask for help – what if the person refuses? Wouldn’t that be awkward and upsetting too. But if you are overwhelmed, I really encourage you to try: draw up a list of all your duties and responsibilities (do the What’s on your Plate activity in my book, for example) and then see whether there is one thing you could ask someone for help with, delegate or even spend a bit of money to offload on someone else. A friend might be very happy to mow your lawn in exchange for a couple of frozen home cooked meals, for example.
My son, who turns twelve in two weeks had an insight about the chore thing recently: I called him to unload the dishwasher and to my surprise he didn’t grumble and moan but he just happily emptied it and went about his day. When I commented on this he said “Well, I realised that it actually takes more energy and time complaining about it than just doing it. I calculated the difference between moaning and then unloading it and simply unloading it and it was clear that it’s actually only a 5 minute job. When I figured that out, I stopped complaining. It’s too much wasted time and energy.” Ha, whatever works – actuarial accounts of dishwasher emptying is fine with me.
Ok now on to Money Matters:
Hey Newfoundlanders! I will be offering the one day “Walking the Walk” compassion fatigue workshop in St John’s on May 7, 2012. Come and join us:
When: May 7, 2012 from 9am to 4pm
Where: Comfort Inn (Salons A&B), 106 Airport Road, St. John’s
Cost: $150, plus HST ($169.50), includes lunch
For more information or to register, call the Transition House Association of NL (THANL) at 739-6759 or email: email@example.com. Registration is required as space is limited. Payment must be made prior to or on the day of training by cheque only, please. Special room rates are available at the Comfort Inn if you mention you are attending this event.
Please note that my book “the compassion fatigue workbook” will be available for purchase on the workshop day.
Here is the audio recording of the Virtual Book Launch held on April 16 2012 of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook. The full webinar, with slides and audio is available by clicking here.
Thank you to those who attended the live webcast! I was very touched by your emails and your feedback.
Please remember that the book draw, referred to in the audio file was only for the live event and is now closed. If you wish to purchase a copy of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook, you can go to our Store and follow the links.
Thanks! I hope to offer more webinars in the future.
Update: The winner of the book draw is Rhonda Leblanc from Nova Scotia. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Hi dear readers! I haven’t been able to blog as regularly as I wished in the past few months: launching the Compassion Fatigue Workbook in January made for a busy time, along with traveling to various parts of the country to offer training, organising the June Compassion Fatigue Conference and way too many administrative duties (yes, even the self-employed have those woes). But this is all about to change as I now have hired an assistant who is going to help clear the decks and allow me to focus on what I really enjoy: the creative side of things and connecting with people. Ironically, for a while, I was too busy to hire a helper, if that makes sense – delegating takes time, as does bringing someone new into the fold (you have to explain the whole business, orient them, etc.). So I am thrilled to be on the other side of this and look forward to the freedom this will provide me to focus on new projects, videos (I am shooting a training video as early as next week) and writing on this blog. I was already sold on the benefits of sourcing out help from an accounting point of view: a few years ago, income tax time would have meant a whole weekend with my shoeboxes of receipts, a cold sweat running down my back and I tried to get everything figured out. Then, last year, I got more organised, hired a bookkeeper who nudges me monthly to send her my receipts and clarifies problems and queries on a regular basis rather than once a year. This year, income tax preparation took half an hour! I am also convinced that the money I spend on bookkeeping is far less than all the tax hoops I missed by doing it myself. Plus, the peace of mind and a stress-free tax season is worth it for me.
April is tax time for many of us – a time to sit down and look at our personal finances and take stock. Many helping professionals I work with describe having an uneasy relationship with money: can’t live without it, hate thinking about it. Over the past decade, I have spoken to thousands of helpers and found that many of them are uncomfortable with money matters: I have met nurses who are so deep in consumer debt that they cannot drop a shift, even though their health is in jeopardy. I have talked to helping professionals who have already claimed personal bankruptcy not once, but twice before turning thirty. I know of some helpers who confess to out-of-control gambling when their work stress gets too high, and others who jokingly refer to “retail therapy” as their way of coping with a stressful and demanding job. Some self-employed consultants have told me they struggle with setting a high enough fee for their work, and feel uncomfortable dealing with the financial aspect of their job. Debt is a dirty, uncomfortable topic for many helping professionals, as is money in general, and those of us who aren’t doing well with our finances tend to play the ostrich when we feel too overwhelmed by it all. The good news is that there are some great resources available out there, and many of them are Canadian. If your finances are a major source of stress for you right now, take a deep breath, be compassionate to yourself and read on.
Virtual Book Launch
of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook:
Creative Tools for Transforming Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma
Monday, April 16th, 2012 12:00noon-1:00pm EST
with author Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC.
Compassion Fatigue Specialist
Photo from Kingston book launch, February 2012
Since its publication in January 2012, we have held book launches for the Compassion Fatigue Workbook in Kingston, Toronto and will soon be coming to Ottawa. We are now thrilled to offer a virtual book launch that everyone can attend, no matter where you live!
Join us LIVE on April 16th and enter your name to win a free signed copy of the Compassion Fatigue Workbook!
Busy on that day? Listen to the webinar anytime after April 16th by clicking here. (Please note the contest to win a copy of the book is only valid during the live broadcast).
Where: From the comfort of your office or home
When: Monday April 16th, 2012 from 12noon to 1pm EST
How: There are three easy ways to listen to the book launch:
1) At your computer: (this is the best way to participate so you can see the slides while hearing the presenter)
2) Using a telephone only:
Phone Number: (203) 347-3041
Pin Code: 562147#
3) You can also listen in via skype:
Follow this link for more information:
Win a copy of the Compassion Fatigue Workbook!
***To win a free copy of the workbook, you need to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) within 2 hours of the end of the webcast, telling me the code word which I will reveal during the webinar. I will draw a name that evening and contact the winner right away. Contest will close at 3pm EST on April 16th, 2012. Only participants in the live call on April 16th are eligible.***
Hope you can join us!
The next Compassion Fatigue Train the Trainer retreat will be taking place November 13-14, 2012 in Kingston. Space is limited to 20 participants. Please note that you must have completed the one day Walking the Walk workshop prior to attending. Walking the Walk will be offered on November 12th, 2012 immediately preceding the Train the Trainer. To register for the Train the Trainer workshop, please click here.