Tara Joyce is an entrepreneur, but her blog is named Rise of the Innerpreneur. Six years ago she decided not to set prices for her offerings and this was the beginning of a fascinating journey which led not only to undiscovered lands of economy, but also human hearts, minds and relationships between people and with inner Self.
Monika, OpenBooks.com: While I was reading "Pay What It's Worth" I felt very special kind of warmth and delicacy in language and shaping ideas with words, like with caring hands. It felt a lot like reading "The Little Prince" (which is the wisest novel ever written, in my humble personal opinion). What is the reason of your such an attitude towards this topic?
Tara Joyce: I am honoured that The Little Prince came to mind for you. I think my attitude towards this topic is reflective of my larger attitude, in that I feel no matter the topic I’m writing on, it deserves my warmth and delicacy. Pay What It’s Worth is a reflection of this perspective — that I need to be conscious and compassionate in all my relationships, whether they are with people, with money, with myself, with my words, etc. I require and desire warmth and delicacy, and so my perspective and words reflect that need, I feel.
What inspired you to see business relationships in the way you see them? I think that couldn't be the nature with its a-morality, egoistic genes and zero-sum games between tiger and rabbit. Or was it nature? Mirror cells in our brains, showing that we as species are born to belong, to care, to be social, to empathize?
T. J.: I grew up in an environment where business was an integral part of my life experience. My father is a Real Estate Entrepreneur and very much a traditional businessman who thinks of profit before all else. I love him very much and as a kid, I discovered Business as a powerful tool to connect with him. In a sense, Business became my favourite tool for exchanging love. With that experience informing me, no matter the external messages that arrived my way, including those of Business school, I felt focused on what I knew to be the truth about Business. It is about relationships, it is about exchange, and it is about service. It is in my nature to be loving and generous, and Business was and is a tool for me to nurture those needs.
Well, probably we shouldn't genderize it, but maybe your attitude is a female attitude - in a deep yang-like, not cultural meaning of feminity? You quote female authors, and it has been proved already that companies which are led by women perform better, for including softer, more human points of view in their policies.
T.J. I think you’re right… it is the more feminine perspective to be empathetic. I’ve certainly noticed there is a growing acceptance of and emphasis on empathy and other more feminine aspects being infused (or no longer rejected) in Business. It is part of a natural re-balancing that needs to happen (and is happening) globally. Humans have received far too much information to keep operating in a “Business as usual” manner. Things need to change and it seems only natural that we would begin to fix the problems we've created by being more empathetic towards them. This requires connecting with our more feminine aspects, and bringing them in harmony with our more masculine aspects. It feels like a very exciting time for Business and for reawakening to the power and importance of Femininity within it.
"Pricing is not only a logic and math-based science but also a language and emotion-based art." Why official economy science is so resistant to such a way of thinking, of human perspective? After all, it's humans who work, produce, create, need, buy and sell.
T.J.: It’s a learned and encouraged perspective and it is changing. More and more Economists are seeing the market in a more holistic balanced way, as both an art and a science, but I do agree that the larger economic message is still one of logic only. It seems the real culprit of this problem is the assumptions that underlie most Economic Theory. This Theory assumes that people act completely rational, and it assumes all resources are scarce. The acceptance of these assumptions invariably locks your thinking in. It supports you in believing you don’t have feelings, irrational feelings, about money and the market, and yet it reminds you to be scared about money and other resources running out. It’s an interesting perspective that is supremely broken and outdated.
Do you think that PWIW system can be universal, regardless culture differencies? It definitely will be working with people who are self-conscious, responsible, ethical and trusting. Scandinavia or Western Europe has high level of transparency and social trust. But there are countries where relationships in society are far from transparent and balanced. Like in Wachowski's "Cloud Atlas" - "The weak are meat and the strong do eat". Do you think they also have a chance?
I absolutely do. PWIW is about mutual respect, it is about exchange, and it is about generosity; all of these things are universal. More powerful than our culture in determining how we behave is our relationship with our self and with others. PWIW connects with this truth, as it is a pricing system that teaches and reinforces interdependence and fair exchange. It honours the truth that each of us has pain and fear around money and finances, and that it shows up when we exchange with others. PWIW also honours that we each have the ability to heal this language and logic of lack and fear, if we so choose to.
In creating a system that encourages mutual benefit, and by creating boundaries that reinforce each participant's ability to exchange in this way, PWIW supports you in healing your fear and lack around money and finances. For both buyer and seller to grow wealthy and prosper in the pricing system, both must be willing to be fair and generous; responsible to the relationship of exchange and to providing value.
PWIW is about agreeing to share the responsibility of exchanging — in that both buyer and seller receive what they need and give what is needed, and are rewarded for doing so. This emphasis on balance and fairness encourages each participant to look at their own relationship to money and to value, and how they exchange it. And while this may not be a lesson every person wants to learn when buying and selling, it does provide them with a lesson they need. When used with the right intentions, PWIW is a universal tool for supporting people in being generous and healing their pain around money, around their value, and around relationships.
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Pictures used in article by: Phillipa Croft 2012