What are your secondary gains? - Fran Excell Mindset and Productivity Mentor

What are your secondary gains?

 In Beliefs, Habits, Mindset, Podcast, Procrastination, Self sabotage, Thoughts

What Are Your Secondary Gains?

What are your secondary gains for staying in a negative situation or behaviour pattern?  

What are the positive paybacks for your negative situation? 

If you’re really struggling to get out of it then it’s highly likely there is a secondary gain to you NOT getting out of it.   So, let’s start with…what is a secondary gain?  

It’s when you have a behaviour, thought pattern or something that causes a perceived negative emotion that you consciously want to stop, avoid or get away from but there is an unconscious gain for staying with that behaviour.  

For example, You moan to friends about a particular situation and they give you sympathy.    

You perceive the situation you’re in to be a negative BUT by staying there you get sympathy and validation that you’re in the right.    

Or, you’re overwhelmed or procrastinating in your business, so you don’t take the action towards something that you have fear around (success, failure, judgement) so then the overwhelm and procrastination is rewarded because it stops you from taking the action that would move you towards fear (the irony is moving towards it is the quickest way for it to go away!)    It can even be a physiological response. 

The mind and body are a linked system so in it’s misguided attempt to keep yourself your brain can actually cause a physiological change. 

It could be illness, tiredness, anxiety or a whole host of potential symptoms. Something that it knows will cause you to not do the thing you want to.  

For example, you don’t want to go to a networking event that’s outside your comfort zone so you feel unwell, have tummy troubles or those familiar feelings of anxiety bubble up…or something along those lines.  (There’s a reason your gut is called your second brain!)  

It shows up in all the ‘I’ll do X once Y happens’ moments too. 

You have a reason to not do Y because then you won’t have any more excuses to not do X!!    

For example, i’ll start going live in my group once I have a certain number of people in there.   

Then you sabotage your efforts to grow your group because actually you have a fear around being visible and a fear or anxiety around going live.  

So, by not growing your group, you don’t have to go live!  

So essentially, secondary gains are all the benefits you get from NOT solving the problem you say you want to solve.    

It’s positive payback for staying stuck that gets consistently reinforced. It’s often associated with illness, pain and anxiety in medical studies.    Urgh!

Our minds can be confusing right?  

It allows you to make all the excuses that stop you moving forwards, and then you wonder why you’re so stuck.  

Are you starting to see any areas where you might be doing this?  

This is something we all do and something we all have within us, there is no shame in it. 

There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you.    

However, once you can identify the patterns and the secondary gains it becomes conscious.  You can’t ‘un-know’ it.     Which means you can consciously catch yourself in it and choose to do something about it.  

The reality is, as much as we SAY we want change, change is uncomfortable.  It’s scary. It’s venturing into the unknown. The uncertain. It’s outside of our comfort zones.    

It’s more comfortable in our KNOWN discomfort, than the UNKNOWN discomfort of the change itself.  

So, have a think about all those times you’re doing or not doing something where other people, and often you, can see exactly the ‘obvious’ ways around it but you just aren’t doing the things that will get you to the other side.  Ask yourself what your secondary gain is?  

Watch out for Victim or Martyr mentality because it will absolutely keep you stuck.  But you can see where the positive pay back might be from both! Ohhhh the alidation!  

It’s difficult because you’ll get fulfilment of some need.    

Avoidance of something.    

Permission to not do something you know will move you forwards.   

Getting what you want.   

Connection from others.    

NOT having to connect with others.    

There are TONNES of secondary gains that can hide under the surface that need to be identified.  

All reasons where we might actually, unconsciously (usually!) want to stay right where we are.    

We are being REWARDED for it!    We’re sending our brains the message that staying there gets us what we want, therefore reinforcing it.    

So why would you try to get out of it?  

Also, where are you making the negative element/behaviour/thought pattern a part of your identity?    

For example, where are you telling yourself you are a certain way and that’s ‘just the way it is’ or ‘just the way’ you are.   

Do you call yourself a worrier? 

A procrastinator?   

Do you make the behaviour you’d love to change a part of your identity with ‘I am’ statements?   When your brain is always trying to make you right can you see how this is a problem?    

Can you see that by making something a part of your identity you’re telling yourself it’s unchangeable?    That it allows you to make all the excuses you want so that you don’t HAVE to change? 

Whether you consciously say you want it or not.  

The same applies for simply being in a bad mood. 

What positive payback do you have for staying there?  

Do you get to sushi roll in the duvet and watch Netflix and not have to deal with te situation? 

That’s a pretty positive payback when the new season of Stranger Things is out!  

If you’ve been following me for any length of time you’ll know that I believe you have a choice, well I KNOW you have a choice.     However, sometimes it feels like you don’t. 

That’s where you need to ask yourself the right questions.  

What do I gain from this?  

Once you work that out then you have the awareness to then be able to do what’s right for you.  

Another thing to think about is what you might LOSE when you do, or get, what you’re working towards.  What are you telling yourself that that means for you and your life?  

There are so many reasons we like to hold onto our excuses, our reasons, our beliefs that keep us stuck.     

Most of which we are COMPLETELY unaware of consciously.  Once you ARE aware of them. It’s decision time.   

If you got value from this and you know in your gut that now is the time to step up and start rewiring your thinking and changing things for yourself then book in a free discovery call so we can work out what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the action taking success you know you can be!! If you want my eyes and ears on YOUR problems I work with people 1:1, through the Proactive Pants Programme and 1:1 full day intensives, stop waiting for if and when and decide to change things now!


Fran Excell, Subconscious Success Mentor – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com

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Book In a Free 20 Minute Discovery Call here  


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