Cleaning Up a Ridiculous Habit


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“Every behavior serves a purpose. ” Dr. Hal Heidt

A customer I’ve never met asked me for the third time if I’d clean her house for less than I quoted her in our ongoing Facebook conversation. She ended her request saying, “Will you clean it for the price we agreed on a while back?”

I received her message the same day I answered a question on my last blog post about my greatest weakness. It has always been self-doubt.

If the customer or I have any doubt about the price, we only need to scroll up the message. The amount I stated and restated is in black and white, and it is not the same sum she keeps mentioning. I’m almost (okay, absolutely) sure of this because I‘ve triple checked it since last week. I even had my husband read through our messages and I asked him, “Is my pricing not clear?”

He’s dumbfounded when I question the obvious.

What’s not as obvious, though, is why I continue doubting myself when an answer is as evident as proof on paper. I’m wondering what I might be gaining from continuing to doubt myself. I mean, really, engaging in self-doubt at this point is ridiculous, but I’ve been known to engage anyway. In fact, this kind of thing has often times been enough to trigger days, maybe even weeks, of self-doubt.

Instead of reverting to the same reaction as usual, the ridiculousness roused a change. I’ve been sensible enough not to respond to the potential customer, mostly because I don’t know what else to say. Do I let her know once again that I’m unwilling to clean her house for the price I didn’t quote?

Also, I’m speculating less on what might be going on with her, I’m focusing more on trusting myself, and I’m questioning the payoff of my self-doubt.

What ridiculous habit is keeping you from living your best life?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – There will be another habit after self-doubt, I’m sure, but for now, I’m cleaning up this one.


13 responses »

  1. For me – it’s that I don’t really trust people. It arose from an unpleasant – to put it mildly childhood, but it became a habit.

    There are a few exceptions, but generally I won’t share much personal information (makes it hard to have friends) and I won’t easily accept offers of companionship or help.

    I’ve tried – but folks tend to know when you’re keeping them at arms length.

    • I know what you mean, Andrew. I’ve practiced those same untrusting habits since childhood. It’s hard to trust others when i don’t trust myself. If I was as trustworthy towards myself as I am towards others, relationships would feel safer and more stable because I’d know I could count on myself.

      Thanks for always bringing something thought-provoking to the conversation.

  2. Oh, I know the problem…wanting to please too much… so we try too hard to recheck ourselves…when it’s the other person that needs to be corrected…
    You have to be very direct with some people…They are used to having their way…and by golly…it’s just not their way sometimes!

  3. Run! This self-focused person wouldn’t be satisfied with the job at any price! I think I’d be tempted to wrap up with a professional “I’m sorry I’m not able to assist you. I wish you the best.”

    My own ridiculous habit? Procrastination. How bad is it? So bad that instead of getting necessary work done last night, I spent over a half an hour making a “Wait to Procrastinate” Pinterest board. Yes, unfortunately this is a true story.

    • You couldn’t give that advice to a more appropriate person, Shel. I am a runner (not literally, but emotionally). When someone keeps on about an issue, I take off.

      Your true story made me laugh out so loud that my husband came in to read over my shoulder. He didn’t really “get it,” but that’s because he doesn’t share the same intensity for procrastination that you and I do. Happy to be in good company – I like to think we’re patient people who don’t mind waiting to get our work completed.

  4. My thoughts when reading your post were that the person was trying to get you to lower your price, which of course you should NOT do. I agree with Shel; the person is only going to be a problem customer. I can also verify Shel spent an inordinate amount of time pinning about procrastination!! 🙂

    You’re not alone in doubting what you already know; I do that all the time. I’ll check for my keys at least 1/2 dozen times per stop when I am running errands, even though I checked 30 seconds prior and they’re clearly hanging on the outside of my purse. Reassurance that I did what I thought I did, I guess. 🙂

    • So good to be validated. The reason Natine knows about my new Pinterest board is because when I was done with it I procrastinated further by Facebooking her to whine about how I’d never get that half hour of my life back. Enough. I’m off to get some work done. Really.

    • Natine, I love that you showed up here to back Shel’s story AND you listened to her whine. I need you in my circle of friends. Then my husband may get a break while I obsess and compulse (yes, I made that up) over, well, whatever I’m doubting. Plus, you understand. I check for my cell phone as often as you do your keys. Just think, we used to leave the phone at home and attached to its cord. How’d we live?

      Thanks for stopping by and for a good laugh … you and Shel both.

  5. From Facebook –

    Anjana C. Duff, Summer Turner, Jenafor Braley and 9 others like this.

    Joel Carter A new broom sweeps away all that doubt. Love your blog and thoughts.Some folks just like to take advantage and brow beat their way
    November 12 at 12:01am via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson I like the broom comment, Joel Carter. Getting a visual helps me. I can see myself just sweeping self-doubt right out the front door.
    November 12 at 12:07am · Like

    Joel Carter That’s great Kim, even I can paint a word picture every now and then.
    November 12 at 12:12am via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Peggy New I have had customers insist that I will sell them a Wine Light for much less than the real price. I used to worry I would lose a customer and then realized that I was just giving in/giving away something that others purchased a “full” price. That kind of customer I don’t need. And if they don’t “like” me … well, I didn’t like them either! btw … what did she want to pay? Maybe you’d clean my house for 1/2 that lol?!?!?!? (of course, I already get a GREAT price from you!!)
    November 12 at 8:03am · Unlike · 2

    Rhonda Gore Etherden Totally misread the subject–thought it was about the futility of housework–lol Somebody who is that much of a stickler BEFORE you even get in the door would no doubt haggle/ gripe over everything you did. Some people think because they pay for your service, they own you.
    November 12 at 5:58pm · Like · 1

    Kim Henson You sure can, Joel Carter. You have a way with words.
    November 14 at 11:22pm · Like

    Kim Henson Peggy New. you’ve helped me to stand behind my services and believe that what I do is worth what I charge. i’ve watched you grow in that way. You’ve probably helped lots of others with that also. Thank you!
    November 14 at 11:25pm · Like · 1

    Kim Henson Rhonda Gore Etherden, I thought the title might be confusing … didn’t know if the innuendo about housework would draw in readers or keep them away. I love playing around with titles, but sometimes I cross the line and do what well-known bloggers say not to do. Oops! The woman who kept messaging seemed nice enough except she didn’t want to pay the price I kept stating. Her messages were a gift because it made me realize how much I doubt myself even when something is in writing – how crazy is that??? So often it’s not this clear. I appreciate having an example that is. Thanks for your comment.
    November 14 at 11:37pm · Like

    Paula Vaught Adams Do you have a website for your cleaning services? I’m wondering what areas/distances you would travel to. I’m looking for someone for my elderly parents.
    November 15 at 12:32am · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson Sending you a private message, Paula Vaught Adams.
    November 15 at 1:18am · Like

    Rhonda Gore Etherden I struggle with how far to push the envelope for the value of my services, too, sometimes. I think some of it comes from having been actively seeking work during some of the worst economic times in history. I have always managed to get work, but that “grateful to have a job” mentality has often made me “settle” for less than the ideal–not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I LOVE puns and wordplay– I have been toying with ways to branch out from a current job that I love into something like consulting–very uncharted territory for me. Always enjoy your posts.
    November 15 at 5:25am · Unlike · 1

    Diane Wilson Dale Oh, I love this! Stick to your price…everyone says you’re fabulous and deserve every penny…sounds like she would be a problem, anyway…you don’t need that!
    November 15 at 7:40am · Unlike · 2

    Peggy New I have to value what I do … Or no one else will. Stick to your prices!
    November 15 at 3:19pm via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson Rhonda Gore Etherden, I’m the same way … I’ve often taken less than what I thinks the ideal price. I’m actually lower on my pricing right now than the companies like Merry Maids and Royal Maids, but I’m okay with that. I just don’t want to go any lower. I think charging less is sometimes good, sometimes bad. I wanted the work so I decided to price very reasonably. I’m surprised when people won’t work for less when they need the job. At the same time, I can sell myself short and be resentful. That’s never a good thing. I’m really happy with what I charge now and the comments here have helped. Thanks.
    November 15 at 5:41pm · Edited · Like · 1

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for the encouragement, Diane Wilson Dale. I was grateful for the lesson about self-doubt, but not grateful enough to lower my price. It was fun seeing you face-to-face last night and being able to give you a hug.
    November 15 at 5:43pm · Edited · Like · 1

    Kim Henson You’re so right, Peggy New. It’s that whole thing about self respect. Thank you!
    November 15 at 5:44pm · Like

    Diane Wilson Dale you too, Kim! Felt like it had been forever since we were together…I had you and Anjana…just needed Peggy New last night!!!!
    November 15 at 5:46pm · Unlike · 3

    Kim Henson I know, Diane Wilson Dale. I so wish she could have been there too.
    November 15 at 6:03pm · Like · 1

    Peggy New I missed you 3 too …. But I am feeling your love n prayers. Don’t let go lol
    November 15 at 6:19pm via mobile · Unlike · 2

    Anjana C. Duff Never! We’ve got our lunch date at Diane’s to look forward to.
    November 15 at 6:38pm · Unlike · 2

    Kim Henson
    November 15 at 6:58pm · Like

    Diane Wilson Dale I agree with Anjana C. Duff…we’ll never let go, Peggy New…
    November 15 at 8:36pm · Like · 1

    Diane Wilson Dale Planning my menu as we speak….or write…
    November 15 at 8:36pm · Unlike · 2

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