Hope for Gain vs Fear of Loss

In my life both in business and personal life I have found there are two reasons why people do something: they hope to gain something by doing it or they do something out of fear of losing what they have already achieved or received (have). In the way of communicating there lies a way to which you can make a difference to whomever is in front of you and it lies in determining their need and their motivation required in order for them to achieve their task.

The most important thing to me whenever I have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life is this: Make the person in front of you feel like they are the most important person in the whole world! As this is always a focus of mine, it has grown to be my most loved compliment in life. Imagine no matter who sits in front of you as a leader you can make someone feel like that…wife, daughter, son, mom, dad, CEO, COO, sister, brother, co-worker, teammate, boss, employee, stranger, friend, coach, owner, customer, etc. I look at it like this, if I can make the person in front of me know within the first 30 seconds of a conversation that I have both eyes and both ears at their full attention then they will return the favor. If you’re doing this then you will find yourself within seconds understanding what kind of support the person is needing from you. Then comes the fun part…deciding what attack they need in the situation in order to achieve what they are truly in desire of.

For background, I’ve been in sales my entire adult life and to this day is how I provide for my family. Most people don’t trust salespeople because they are weary of the why are they really telling me this. The WHY is what drives everyone’s everything so please listen to the why in your heart and head as it will direct your decisions to an outcome equivalent to what you are wanting. Well most great salespeople are naturally great leaders because they listen to understand the why, how, and what someone is needing and then they come up with a game plan of how to help the person in front of them achieve those very things they expressed they were in need of. Most importantly if you focus on the mission success of the person in front of you every time, you will never worry a day in your life about your own success. While making money is the byproduct of what I do, I have always remained focused on how I do it to separate me from the competition and my why is simple, make a positive impact on the person in front of me right now.

To get back on the issue at hand, what are they needing and how can I help? Some people are wanting to preserve what they have and their decisions are all based on Fear of Loss. I have x but if I want y I have to sacrifice x so I won’t do it. These decisions while they are on all of our minds everyday and especially the day we sit down to pay our bills for the month come from a scarcity mindset, while effective in the short term never seem to produce long term success. Don’t get me wrong this mindset has saved me from time to time from being too impulsive and making a mistake, therefore a very effective motivational tool that has produced success in the short term. If you can imagine in the sales industry fear of loss is the motivational tool utilized the majority of the time because it’s effective immediately and that is how a majority of sales jobs are measured but it has long term setbacks that can’t be undone. While I find the fear of loss decision making concept a part of life it is one I try to steer clear of for it mostly ends up producing results that never last. For reference I can remember a time that I chose to tell a customer that I would not accept their offer because it did not make me the amount of money I thought I should make on the deal so my fear of losing out on missed income on that specific deal kept me from making a customer happy and more importantly it kept me from forming a relationship with this customer. The customer moves on and finds a business willing to take his offer, builds a relationship with this business and becomes a repeat and referral customer for this other company for life. So while I sold my product at a later date and made the money I wanted, it was from an out of state customer that I never saw or heard from again. What did that decision impact me, well for that month it served me well but it will cost me six figures over that customer’s life. The worst part is my decision impacted my team long term as well, repeated income from that person directly impacted 10 or more of my teammates. This is why the decision motivation of hope for gain vs fear of loss can easily be said as long term vs short term.

Fear of loss, why would I jeopardize what I have just for…fill in the blank here, there are a multitude of things that people sacrifice to maintain, but what is the cost of that in the long term? We have all said “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” because our job and livelihood was more important than saying what we really wanted to (a different two words) but we had to do what we had to do. I’m not saying to be disrespectful by any means but what would it look like if we communicated in a way that served our true purpose and knew we had the full attention and respect of the person we were speaking to because both parties were on the same page of what we were trying to achieve ? Truly simplifies the concept of communication and why it is so important to listen with intent of heart not just the words spoken by the person in front of you. If someone in front of you is needing help finding their way on the subject, feel free to ask them, “are you looking for a short term solution or long term solution”, you can then help give them the plan of attack.

Hope for gain, the most amazing people on this planet make decisions based on this but what most people miss is all the sacrificing that person has to do everyday in order to achieve what they are seeking in the long term. I was recently binge watching a show on Apple TV (don’t judge me please) and I heard a line that has stuck with me since, “when people say they don’t know what they want, it really means people aren’t willing to do what it takes in order to get what they want”! Wow, watching a tv show in the comfort of my own home I felt extremely attacked, why, well because how many times are we making decisions or giving advice based on what keeps people out of our cookie jar? Too many as an answer would be an understatement, well that’s us operating out of our short term fear of loss motivation. Yet not all hope for gain motivational decisions come with sacrifice but that’s what we associate it with because our fear of loss takes over. Some sound advice I received before I got married over 18 years ago by my youth pastor was this, there’s going to be times you both want to give up but you cannot both give up as long as the good outweighs the bad for if it does it means the momentum is on the positive side and as a sports guy I knew how important momentum is to any situation. In case you don’t know, IT IS EVERYTHING! The hope that it will work out for the best is created by the positivity and discipline you put into the situation whether it be words or actions, physically or mentally, it always seems to yield the result accordingly. I’ve been accused of being lucky a time or fifty in my life and my witty comment to not be awkward has always been “a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then but you just so happen to be talking to the squirrel smart enough to live in an acorn field”. While that may seem weird I truly believe that has nothing to do with where I live but how I live my life with people and the attitude that I can turn any situation into a positive scenario that produces results wanted by both parties (sales guy remember). The hope for gain attitude comes with the mentality that no matter what obstacles are put in front of you you will have the contingency plan ready to go at a moment’s notice. I want to always achieve more than I did last time, I cannot help it that is how I’m wired, the words “good enough” is worse than any curse word I’ve ever heard and it’s not because it is actually not good enough but because that means there is nothing left to pursue and that simply is not a possibility. There is always room for improvement and room to grow.

I’m not sure if the balance ratio of hope for gain vs fear of loss is the same for everyone but I strive to be at a 90/10 ratio of never risking the ten percent minimum I need for me and my family’s health or wellness while spending ninety percent of my mental capacity pursuing my hope of being a better father, husband, son, brother, employee, employer, teammate, coach, friend, example, and leader to everyone I come into contact with. I was recently told not everyone has an inner monologue (mind blowing news to me by the way), but I challenge you in every decision and in every conversation you find yourself in to ask yourself if the result needed or wanted is that of preserving what is already had aka fear of loss or if the result needed or wanted is that of something not gained yet aka hope for gain. Guide yourself and others accordingly.