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Secondary Gain – is your habit actually helping you?

The habits we find difficult to change often have a secondary gain for us

 

To press the button or not to press the button…… that is the question.

Nope, I haven’t gotten my Hamlet wrong, but I certainly had a Hamlet moment and discovered a secondary gain to a habit which I am now changing.

The other day I did something quite out of character for me both as a person as well as a business person. I’m glad I did because I found out something new about myself which I know a lot of business owners who maintain an online presence and email list have also experienced.

Here’s what happened.

I was launching a new course on my Teachable platform on Emotional Intelligence and was inviting participants for the beta run first. So I was out promoting this course to friends, colleagues and my email subscribers.

Like any good business owner and professional, I invest in courses whenever I feel I need to develop a particular skill or gain new knowledge to pass on to my clients.

And I’ve invested and completed some really good courses on creating courses but the promotion and marketing part was a toughie because of the way I am.

Each of these courses talked about sending emails including reminders right up to the last minute for people who leave things for the last minute. That felt weird for me and I refrained.

This time I decided I really should step out of my comfort zone and I did. The second email wasn’t so bad – I’ve done that before but the 3rd got me in Hamlet mode.

I hummed, I hawed and I even found an excuse to take my pet friend Miss Coco for an extra walk while I waited for the course enrollment deadline.

Walking The Furry One actually helped because I got a chance to think about my resistance to sending the 3rd email which was all drafted and just needed a gentle press on the Send Button.

I asked myself in all honesty, what do I get to not feel, not do, not experience by staying stuck?

I came up with some good answers and also with some counter answers from my Intuition whom I’ll call The Voice.

I was concerned I would have tons of folk unsubscribe if they saw 3 emails because my subscribers weren’t used to it. The thought they wouldn’t enroll had not crossed my mind.

The Voice inside me told me that given the open rates (mine are actually better than industry standard) if someone missed the first or the second email, they would still see the 3rd one.

The Voice reminded me of opens and clicks that I’ve gotten whenever I’ve sent a reminder and the fact that the Biggies in the business coaching industry send emails out right till the last minute. (I’ve got those emails in my Inbox. Thanks to time differences, I often wake up to find 5, yes 5 emails telling me about how a cart is closing for these thousand dollar programs with all the bonuses I can get with 1 click of a button and payment details).

The Voice finally told me if someone unsubscribes, bless them and let them go.

Actually, nobody unsubscribed!

Later that morning, there was a post in one of the Facebook Groups where the owner was talking about doing things that stretched us.

I mentioned getting out of my comfort zone to send that 3rd email and received encouragement. It seems I’m not the only one who finds this challenging.

I understand why I was experiencing resistance and I’ll share more about it later in this post but first, I have a question for you.

How many times have you had a habit or behavior  which you knew was bad for your health, self esteem or general well-being and you have taken active steps to break it only to fall off the wagon?

Changing ourselves can be tricky sometimes.

Handling change is not easy for everyone.

 

Karmic Ally Coaching Change Quiz

 

Just when we think we have successfully adopted a new, more empowering habit or behavior, the old one creeps back in.

This could quite possibly be due to the existence of a sub-conscious underlying reason, which can be called a Secondary Gain or a Pay-Off.

This underlying reason is why we continue with a certain habit or behavior even though we are consciously aware that the activity is not beneficial to us.

These habits and behaviors could include smoking, excessive shopping on your credit card, blaming others for your problems, being non-assertive or   a yes person.

They all have an underlying  Pay-Off Factor.

A smoker who finds it difficult to quit or manages to for a while and then goes back to the habit may make the excuse that stressful situations cause the lapse in the effort to quit the habit.  Perhaps we feel more part of a peer group or accepted by others. The excuses are numerous.

Whether it is low self esteem, lack of confidence or motivation, continual negative thinking, peer pressure – they will all have an underlying payoff factor – which may or may not be positive.

The first step would be to analyse the actual underlying reason and determine whether it is positive or negative. Self introspection and being honest with oneself is the key here.
If the underlying reason is avoiding a deeper issue then one must first deal with this issue and understand that that the habit or behavior is limiting oneself.

 

Empowering habits are only possible if we get to the root of our limiting belief

 

Empowering habits or behavior are only possible when one gets to the root of the limiting belief or fear.

For example, an individual who stays on in a job despite growing job dissatisfaction may believe that this is important to provide for his family but he may actually be scared of stepping out of his comfort zone and challenging himself.

Supposing he doesn’t get another job or a lower paying one?

Supposing he follows his desire to go into business and it fails?

We can often restrict ourselves without even realizing it.

Recognizing this limiting belief or fear, the individual could consider baby steps towards stepping out of his comfort zone by asking for more challenging work or seeking avenues for further learning and development in his organisation  thus contributing to both his and the organisation’s success in the long run.

He may also begin to explore and research a new career or even a business if he is so inclined.

On the other hand, there may be a positive underlying factor for the individual. For example, a person who has self assertion issues might keep failing in his quest to become self assertive because he may have learnt early in life that to maintain the peace and draw away attention from himself, it was beneficial to keep quiet when there is conflict.

This might have served the purpose of keeping away the fear of being unpopular or even being bullied. In adult life, this habit or behavior might not serve the person.

Instead the person might do well to understand what benefit they were getting from this behavior and see if there is a positive behavior which can replace the undermining one and yet give the same results such as asserting neutrality in conflicts where the person is a third party or learning to express oneself while willing to listen to the other’s point of view openly and objectively.

By doing this, one will have made a good start at gaining a higher order of change. The more changes one makes that still satisfy the Secondary Gain, the easier it will be to change habits and behaviours.

Returning to my story, a deeper analysis post pressing the button led to my realizing that during my corporate world days, I had worked in the Audit and Assurance Industry where we were taught not to openly ask for the business and in those days, the governing body did not allow us to advertise explicitly.

Even when the firms did advertise, there were caveats in the advertisement. We were encouraged to invite inquiries but not blatantly say we wanted the business.

Coming from that, when it came to follow ups, there were those that one could do (like for the invoice payment or extra information required to complete an audit or project) and those that we could not.

I realized I was looking at that 3rd email as being unprofessional and my secondary gain was not breaking the rules of follow up not realizing that these rules were now redundant for me!

I’ve already started practicing new habits for launches which will include reaching out to my network like I did this time as well as keeping up the practice of informing my list that I will remind them again. And if someone unsubscribes, so be it.

In fact, one subscriber was kind enough to write and tell me that the course was not of interest to her. Hey, I got some engagement from a subscriber who felt she needed to let me know – that’s something online business owners love.

What about you?

Have you ever found a habit, good or bad that you wouldn’t let go off because there was a secondary gain involved?

 

 

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Meet your coach

I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.

Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust.

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who’ve hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that work.

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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