Focusing on the Gain; Progress, Celebrations and Baseball

Have you ever found yourself letting out a big sigh as you realize that you missed your target? ?

Maybe it’s a number you’d like to sneak under on the scale, a dollar amount you wanted to put into your savings, a promotion offer by the end of the year, or reaching that revenue target in your business by the second quarter. Perhaps you only finished 47 of the 52 items on your list for today. I see you.

Been there too, my friend – focusing on the “gap” that is keeping you from your goal instead of the “gain” that you made from the starting point to the ending point of your journey.

By focusing on the gain, we can appreciate the efforts and hard work we’ve put in, and this positive mindset can serve as a powerful motivation to keep pushing forward. Embracing the gains, no matter how small they may seem, empowers us to stay committed and enthusiastic about our journey towards success.

There is incredible value in refocusing your direction to the gain instead of the gap. Let’s use a Little League example, shall we?

I’m a solid Aunty. 

I always get what’s requested of me for birthdays, with a little extra for their savings account.

Forced friendly hugs and check-ins whenever I see my sweet nieces and nephews, and make every attempt to make at least one sporting event per season for my sister’s kids – despite the three hour round trip travel.

One of my nephews was asked onto the Little League All Stars team for his region, and they were playing championship games just 30 minutes away. With sunblock, a water bottle, and time to kill I joined my sister and the rest of her fam for an afternoon of baseball.

Not going to pretend that I know a whole lot about the game, but I can follow close enough.

Our team lost, 0-16.

These boys were visibly crushed, the wind was knocked clear out of their sails.

They were focused on the gap. In this elimination game, they quickly met the end of their season.

But what about the gain? 

Many of them developed skills over the course of the last few months that made them not only stellar in their primary teams, but asked to compete in the All Stars.  Hot. Dog.  My nephew in particular, had a pattern of hitting them out of the park, grand-slam style. I’m guessing that they learned all kinds of soft social skills around teamwork, encouragement, and patience. I saw a few of them do a really mean ‘pickle’ which is apparently pretty tough to master.

They gained SO MUCH from April – June.

Focusing on the Gain baseball photo

Why is this important?

Well, when I walk you through the Little League scenario you likely nod, smile, and agree with me – those kids need to focus on how far they’ve come.

But what about you?

How are you modeling the gain in your home, workplace, and community?

  • Are you reflecting on your progress and growth when you get passed over for a promotion?
  • Are you looking for the gift in not meeting your business revenue target?
  • I bet you’re giving yourself props for all of the great financial choices you did make even if you missed your saving goal, right?

Wrong for most of us.

We are programmed to look at the gap, but we can train our brains to start looking for the gain instead.

As a coach and guide, I have the luxury of not sitting in the middle of someone’s business, budget, and life. I have outside perspective. It’s easier for me to point out the opportunity that’s getting skipped over to appreciate the progress.

Road Trip Reflection

Recently, I had a client unravel the success rate of a particular email and sales sequence that wasn’t converting. As we brainstormed next steps, I took a minute to remind her of how far she’d come.

At that moment, she was joining our check in call from her converted travel van in the middle of the Grand Tetons on a 3 week road trip, working just a couple of hours per day because her business makes money while she sleeps.

Focusing on the Gain van photo

It didn’t start that way. She grew her business from nothing and now has an incredible online presence, premium brand and ideas for DAYS on what she wants to do next to continue to level up.

It’s a beautiful thing when I start to see and hear my clients point out the gain for themselves. There still can be some good effort in picking apart where something went wrong, but let’s not miss the great opportunity to appreciate how far we’ve come.

No Role too Small

My youngest daughter was in a play at her school at the end of the year. She was very excited about her role. My enneagram 3 achiever (just did my enneagram for the first time, by the way – fascinating) thought for sure that she’d tell me she was the lead role, the supporting gal, being the performer and comedian that I know she is. 

Her role? By request?

Curtain Closer

Focusing on the Gain photo

She co-led the stage manager role and the highlight of her contribution was to open and close the curtain on time.

My husband and I sat in an unairconditioned, crowded gymnasium to watch our daughter open and close the curtain like a BOSS.

Clearly she was satisfied with her gain in elementary theater production. Not necessarily because we’re a good example of this at home either, but she was an incredible example to us in that moment.

Did you make this up?

Where does this gap and gain conversation come from? Not me, but rather a terrific book by Dan Hardy and Dr. Benjamin Sullivan.

Focusing on the Gain the gap and the gain book

Who do you have in your corner that helps you focus on the gain? To help retrain your brain to pay little attention to the gap, and more attention to the gain?

In my coaching practice there is a final step in our journey called thrive. Meant to pause and celebrate accomplishments before moving to the next goal.

You’d think that celebrating wouldn’t need to be an intentional closing step in a process but it is absolutely necessary.  Without that intention you’d blow by it 9 times out of 10, eager for the next thing. 

It’s a point of reflection focused on the gain on an imperfect journey toward your goals. There is much to be celebrated on this whole life journey.

But remember…

  • Not all of our roles will be big ones.
  • Not all of our budgets will be on track.
  • Not every promotion will come your way.
  • Not every sales pitch will land.
  • Not every list will get crossed off.

But you will see growth in the gain when you look for it. 

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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