“Functional medicine is preferentially serving the needs and interests of the financial upper class, thereby contributing to the very same social inequality that fuels health discrepancies. Originally, functional medicine was based in part on the idea that we could help patients become healthier in a less costly and more efficient manner by treating the causes of the underlying problem.”
-Alex Vasquez DC, DO, ND
I snuggled with this quote after I read it, because it felt like I wasn’t alone.
Many times I feel as coaches, nutritionists, doctors we only look at one side of this financial equation.
How much can I charge?
AND then we can become infatuated with the mindset that we need to charge what we are worth.
But what about when that becomes impossible or even unethical?
No judgement on anyone. I’ve been there. I’ve topped out markets and I made money. But I realized that my clients weren’t really the humans I truly wanted to help. I don’t come from money and although first world problems are very real, I didn’t want to make my living flipping wealthy mindsets.
Also, being ultra-wealthy is incredibly difficult. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Some people may think that’s sounds fantastic and dreamy, but it can turn into a painful curse when one loses the ability to manage one’s self or doesn’t have a cause to live for. The very wealthy can become ghosts searching for pleasure, so asking them to turn off sources of instant gratification can be frustrating for everyone, especially if their goals and belief structures are not aligned with yours. If you work with this population work on their principles because without working on the foundation of what they believe nothing will ever really change. And if you think that’s not your job, take their money and tell yourself it is for the greater good. But, I couldn’t sleep at night.
Now, looking deeper what if charging what you are worth feeds the very problem you are working so hard against.
Our health problem is not primarily rooted in health. It is rooted in economics and broken societal principles that you can choose to perpetuate or leave behind.
Instead of asking how you can charge more or take on more clients, ask yourself how can you lower your costs so that you can charge less so that you can see the athletes, patients, humans that really light your fire?
Ask how can you lower your wants as person so you can charge less, work less, and help more people?
Let’s finish this with a story.
My best friend had one of the most sought after jobs in college sports. He was making lots of dollars and was only going to be more and more financially well off. The problem was he felt he was losing the love of his life to 80 to 100 hour work weeks and bureaucracy. He couldn’t stand without getting dizzy. The writing was on the wall. His phone was a cacophony of unnecessary stress. The very aspect that made him so good at his profession – the magnitude in which he cared was tearing him apart physically and mentally.
This is not a decision you tell your grandparents.
The choice hit him like a bucket of ice water on a hot summer day.
He didn’t burn bridges. He didn’t pass judgement. He wrote letters of thanks and drove silently away.
That takes guts from somewhere down deep.
To realize the dream you had since you were an adolescent was a false ideal. That you weren’t really happy chasing the fame or the money.
He is starting a new story and he knows the one he doesn’t want to write. Now can he keep asking these hard questions? He will.
Can he keep learning and pushing the profession he loves so dearly without being is such a highly regarded role? He will.
Can he charge what he is worth? No way. No one can pay it.
Can he charge how much he needs to eat, live, and be happy? Absolutely.
And in that instant the way he lives will percolate into all his clients.
Break the Cycle.