I went to see the Mona Lisa recently.
I was in Paris for the weekend, and having never seen it before “in real life”, I decided to take the opportunity to visit this world-famous painting.
Officially considered to be the most famous painting in the world, it is – strictly speaking – invaluable. That said, it has of course had a “theoretical” value calculated … and that value, as of 2018, was $830 million.
For a painting … Wow.
It’s oddly small, when seeing it in person. And to be completely honest, it’s not really all that exciting. It’s just a small portrait of a woman, with a slightly intriguing smile.
Yet, there’s no denying that there is something impressive about it. Which is why, I suppose, millions of people flock to see it … and one of the reasons it is “theoretically” worth $830 million.
Take away the fact that it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci, however, and I’d be fairly confident in saying that painting wouldn’t be sitting in the Louvre … it wouldn’t be anywhere near as famous (if at all?) … and it certainly wouldn’t be worth $830 million.
It is worth that, because it’s a da Vinci. And even then … it’s only worth that, because of everything ELSE da Vinci has done.
It’s his most famous painting, yes. So there is something “extra” special about it. But even so … the value doesn’t lie only in the painting itself … but for all the OTHER paintings he did.
It’s worth that amount of money because of the WHOLE of Leonardo da Vinci’s career.
And you know something else? If da Vinci was setting the price himself, I dare say he wouldn’t be valuing it at $830 million, either.
He would probably value it at a mere fraction of that, a mere fraction of what it is actually worth … Of its true value.
Meaning he would have undervalued himself.
In fact, there is a new exhibition in London at the moment, which references his increased dissatisfaction with his own work as his career progressed. He was his own greatest critic, and was unable to see the value in his work that others did … and, 500 years later, continue to.
He wasn’t able to see the skill and talent in his own work, that the rest of the world has, for centuries, unanimously agreed on.
This, however, is not an uncommon thing …
It’s always hard to judge your own value, and MANY people suffer from this problem …
“I’m not as good as they think I am.”
“My work’s not worth that price.”
“Other people are much better than me.”
“I can’t justify charging that much!”
Imposter syndrome, you could call it. Not believing in yourself, despite the EVIDENCE of your skill … your talent …
Of course, Leonardo da Vinci is a unique example, but still … the value of his Mona Lisa – the value the market puts on it, and the lower value that he would undoubtedly have put on it himself – maybe we can apply those same principles to OUR businesses?
Maybe, when worrying about what prices to set, we just need to focus less on what WE think our work is worth … and maybe, instead, we’d help ourselves better by focusing on the EVIDENCE of our ability, of how we can use it to HELP our clients, and what THEY thinks it’s worth?
On the TRUE value of our offer …?
And THAT value comes from all the years that have come before “today”. All the hours, and years, that we have spent learning, and practising, and improving …
All the years, from our entire career, that have brought us to this point.
In which case … maybe the hours we spend DOING a particular job, aren’t what our clients could be paying for. Perhaps they’re really paying for the SOLUTION to their problem … which we can offer DUE to all the hours that came before.
In the same way as the Mona Lisa’s worth is linked to da Vinci’s name, and reputation, and entire career …
The service that you are offering your clients … the PROBLEMS you are able to solve for them, and the EXPERIENCE that you have in doing it … THAT has a specific market value … and THAT is what you could be charging for.
So maybe, what YOU think you are worth, isn’t important at all … as probably, it will be a lot lower than what you are REALLY worth?
For more insights on changing your mindset click here.