Saturday, November 30, 2013

Measuring Value

Last weekend, I was a vendor at the Victory of Light Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio. I've been a vendor at that expo (which happens twice a year) seven times now. I enjoy it. I have a booth in a high traffic, centrally located corner, and I teach a workshop. About 5,000 people come through during the weekend. I offer Reiki sessions, show and sell my books, cards, pendulums, give stone readings, and generally work my little energized butt off for two very full days. 

But, this year was different. I wasn't making the four hour drive from Cleveland, Ohio. I was coming from my new home in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It's a much longer and complicated trip.

We (my friend and booth buddy, Ernie and I) were already signed up to attend when I found out we'd be moving. So, I decided to make the trip and see how it went. 

I found plane tickets that were reasonably priced, which took off from BWI and landed me in Columbus, Ohio. Ernie picked me up at the airport, had a quick lunch with Connie, my business partner with RAA, and we drove down, set up, worked the expo, and came back Sunday night to Columbus, stayed overnight at Connie's, and then Ernie took me back to the airport to fly to BWI. Then I drove the hour's drive back to Gaithersburg. And that's how things worked, travel-wise.

The expo was huge and busy. I barely had a voice left by Sunday evening. We met lots of people, shared lots of energy, and sold a fair amount of stuff. We came out ahead. 

But I was left thinking about trying to decide if it was "worth it" to go this time. Here's what I was weighing:

  • Money-wise, I could have made about three times as much if I'd stayed here and taught a class to five students. It wouldn't have required travel, or the amount of "on time" that the expo demands. It would've been quieter, more intimate, and overall much easier than making the trip to the expo.
  • Marketing-wise, at the expo, I'm talking to a huge number of people, some of whom may end up being my student sometime this year. I'm directly giving Reiki to about 25 people, maybe more. I'm giving readings to somewhere around 40. And hundreds of people are taking my business cards and materials, with a possibility of following up. Those who buy my books may write a review, contact me, or recommend them to others. The impact has a high potential for residual value.
  • Then there are the intangibles. I gave Reiki to a lot of people. I talked about Reiki to even more people. I gave readings all weekend. Any of these people could get a favorable impression about Reiki (I hope so!) or hear the message that anyone can learn Reiki. Healing effects really can't be measured, nor can I track what will happen after the person experiences Reiki for the first time and then goes on with his life. Maybe he will go in a new direction. One pain-ridden, hunched-over person that I gave her first Reiki session to a few years ago at this exact expo went and found herself a Reiki practitioner, and started having weekly Reiki sessions. She became cancer-free in six months. She comes back every time to give me a hug. That's priceless.
So how can I measure the value of the money, time, energy, and impact? I can't. And there's the lesson. 

Just like in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," when the guy has no idea of the impact his life had on others until he is able to invisibly follow them after he had touched their lives in some way, we don't really know the impact that an act of kindness, a moment of listening closely, or a hug at the right time can create for someone. For us, it might be just a fleeting thing, easily forgotten. But for someone else, it can be the start of a turning point in their lives.

So, I've reminded myself that I'm always in the right place at the right time. If I just do my best in each situation, I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do. 

I am grateful for that reminder. 
Happy Thanksgiving.   

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