Don’t be fooled into thinking your neighbor…mother…or anyone knows better than you. Who is to say that price tag is expensive or cheap? You. Outside market forces and “what other people say” are just that — outside of you and not you.

When we succumb to external judgments of value, we give away our power. We fail to realize we are the ultimate value setters — based on what we uniquely perceive. We suffer when the value we perceive doesn’t measure up to the price we pay. And, to help us mitigate this suffering, we have this week — a week devoted to value.

Las Vegas is uniquely blessed with casinos, world-class entertainment, establishments that should have been long gone except for their video poker license, and…amazing gym value. My East Coast friends drool when they visit. “$20/month for all this?” “And, wait…you don’t have to pay for classes?!” (But, obviously these people are gym rats because who else goes to a gym when in Vegas?!) However, one person’s bargain is another person’s extravagance. I know this because another large gym offers $5 memberships…  Regardless, at the end of the day, it boils down to what YOU value.

To a growing portion of the population, a gym membership isn’t just a nice-to-have, it is a necessity. And, for a sub-segment of this “necessity” population, the gym membership is a downright pasttime. Our Facebook newsfeed  proves it. So, I’ve watched with interest as a gym serving the “pasttime” clientele opens up in the ‘hood…a gym with 5-20x the monthly membership of its competitors. At this point, everyone is going over to check it out because one can “check it out” for free. Whenever someone posts about it, you see a comment (or twenty…) along the lines of “Yes, but how could you possibly justify paying THAT, when you can go to ___ for $20/month?”

The thing is you can’t…unless you go one level deeper. It’s about value. And, what YOU value. So, I loved it when one of my members told me this weekend that she is not only joining the “expensive” gym, she is keeping her membership at my gym, too. I know she had been struggling to make her decision, so I was happy to see she honored herself…knowing that the gym is her pasttime…and she can’t get everything she wants (e.g. BodyPump with Sarah!) at the new fancy one. So, why settle for less? Good question. We do this when we feel we need to justify the value gap we have with others. We also do this when we undervalue ourselves and don’t feel we are worthy of the ‘extravagance’.

So, when you catch yourself saying, “Yes, but I got this on sale…” or “Yes, but….xyz”, ask yourself, “What am I trying to defend?” Is it truly the price you paid or what you value? We value according to how it matters in our heart, so when you deny that value, you deny yourself. What do you value? What are you worth? What do you deserve? You see, it’s a slippery slope. Cue the 10 Steps to WOW willPower.

  1.  Value what “money can’t buy.” What are they for you? A beautiful view. Hand holding. A great night’s sleep. Think about ways to make this valuable stuff more prominent in your life.
  2. Value your talent. Think about your unique talent. How is it valued? What are ways you can tap into that talent to cultivate it further, to increase your intrinsic value, and to, ultimately, enhance your ‘net worth’?
  3. Value your strength. When have you been strong in a way that surprised yourself? This is a powerful moment to bring into your heart and to bolster your confidence in your capabilities.
  4. Value your time. Take stock of the disconnect between what you value and where you are spending your time. I recently decided no more manicures. Gel nails had somehow become a biweekly weekend must-have…and there was nothing I enjoyed about the process. Sure, I liked the way my nails looked afterwards, but not enough value to justify the time, price…fumes, or UV rays. Time, as it turns out, is a larger determinant of happiness than money. But, we often spend our time blindly. So, bring awareness and intention to your time allocation.
  5. Value your space. To move, feel, be. Create some sacred space in your home just for you. I recently carved out a corner of my office as “sacred space”. I have filled it with a smorgasboard of momentos and symbols. This is where I meditate. This is where I strengthen my self-value and honor my intuition.
  6. Value your body. What we treat as valuable flourishes. Are you feeding or otherwise treating your body as valuable? What can you do to bring more high quality foods into your diet. Don’t think in terms of $$, think in terms of value. Essential fatty acids are on the top of my list at this time of year. Almond butter, unsweetened cocoa, avocado, flax oil, salmon, and…fresh mozzarella. When we skimp out on fats, we suffer inside & out. Healthy fats boost our mood and our brain power, while regulating the seasonal shift in our bodies and extinguishing our cravings.
  7. Value your renumeration. Do you get paid enough for what you do? If your answer is “no”, realize something is ‘out of whack’ in either your perception or your profession. We don’t have to be paid in monetary terms to feel well compensated. Money is just one mechanism. But, there is a consciousness about it.
  8. Value your inner voice. Carve out some time for quiet contemplation in your sacred space. If meditation is not your thing, find something that works — cooking, painting, coloring, writing, walking in nature, planking… ;)
  9. Value your dreams. Get real. What are they? And, why aren’t you going for them? Year-end is a natural time for reflection. Forget early Christmas shopping, try early dream shopping…
  10. Value the environment. We often think our individual decisions don’t matter, but they do. When we honor our environment through thoughtful decisions like reusable grocery bags and sustainable investment, our environment honors us. Our world is a mirror of what we value and how we honor our value system.
Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit