Wisdom is a word used to describe… what? Someone whose advice we will be more likely to adhere to? As in the idiom old and wise? Does old age automatically indicate wisdom? What is wisdom made of?
Those questions and more, passed through my mind as I was headed to a meeting with a prospect client the other day. The person I was about to see, received my proposal a few days earlier, and was hesitant about proceeding. She told me over an email that as my prices were somewhat higher than those of the competition, she may not be able to afford my services. How can I justify my fees, I thought. Well, for one, I have been a professional in my field for well over twenty years. Many of my local competitors are kids, barely out of college, in comparison with me. Unlike them, when I sit with a client, my advice carries substantial weight; a measure of wisdom. That is when the question popped up – what is wisdom?
It occurred to me that wisdom is more than age. It is also more than my smarts, and it is not only my experience. Being older means I had a chance to experience more in life. Being intelligent means that one is able to discern what works and what not; maybe even more likely to show creativity, generate ideas and flower different perspectives. Thus, if the letter W would stand for Wisdom, I for Intelligence, and E for Experience, W = I + E. Experience without intelligence may not amount to much, as one may repeat the same mistakes time and again; walk a path that leads to no place new. Intelligence without experience may mean being smart, but remaining an empty vessel. The accumulation of past mistakes and successes, and the intellectual capacity to observe patterns, connect the dots, and draw unbiased conclusions; that’s wisdom, and that’s priceless. This, I determined, is my added value, and that is why I can charge a little more.
Learned from: thoughts about what is my value to my clients in comparison with my competitors