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But I Really Want It

"But I Really Want It!"


Is there something in your life you really, really want and it seems to elude you? Have you been struggling for years to no avail? Maybe you've set your goals, done the affirmation and tried every self help tool out there and you still don't have it!


The culprit may be what we call Secondary Gain. This is an easy thing to see in someone else but not so with ourselves. Our unconscious minds will do just about anything to keep us from identifying it.


Secondary gain is a term used in N.L.P. (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and psychology circles as a label for benefits that we get for having our problems or issues.


For example: a client comes in with a presenting problem of repeatedly being fired from jobs. It doesn't seem to matter where she works or how hard. Something always happens and she loses the job.


She would really like to find a good job and be able to keep it. She would love to move out of Mom and Dad's and get on her own. But how can she do that if she can't get a stable job? And who's going to rent to her with her job history? And it goes on and on...


The Secondary Gain is that as long as she keeps getting fired, she gets to live with Mom and Dad. After all, they won't kick her out. This one is obvious.


Unfortunately, some Secondary Gain is like looking for a needle in a haystack---but it's there. You have to keep searching.


The point is we all do and live exactly as we choose to. We are hard wired to do what is important to us based on our values. In the example, she may have a higher value for security than autonomy and feel more secure living at home. Even though consciously she wants to move out, her unconscious mind will make sure her values are being met.


So how do you find out if you have Secondary Gain?

  • First: Look at yourself and your life. Is there something or some way of being you've been struggling with for a long time? This would be the starting place.
  • Second: What area of your life is this issue in—Family, Relationships, Health, Business (or Financial) Spirituality or Leisure Time?

Ask yourself, what's important to you about this area of your life. Write down your response and list them exactly as they come up.

Example: Financial

                  Working only when need to

                  Lot's of time off

                  Someone else taking care of things



  • Third: Look over these and notice if your "issue/problem" isn't somehow fulfilling this for you. If so, then this is Secondary Gain.

In the example above, these values were actually being met by the client getting fired. She worked when she had to. She got fired many times so she actually had a lot of free time. Mom and Dad ended up taking care of things for her while she was out of work.


Not only this, it looked like she was trying really hard to find and keep work. But somehow, it never worked out. Now wouldn't you feel for her!


  • Fourth: If you discover there is Secondary Gain, explore other options for fulfilling these needs. Then take baby steps adding these possibilities to your life until your unconscious mind is convinced you mean it.

For example, the client might want to do Temp work for awhile to begin building a positive job history. She would also be able to gradually convince her unconscious mind that she can hold down a job.

Temp work would give her a job, time off in between jobs and some security of money coming in. Over time, without the pressure of a full time job, she would get used to taking care of some things herself. Hopefully, in the future, she would take on more and more responsibility.


Obviously, with Secondary Gain as part of the issue it takes some detective work. And you may need someone else who can actually identify it. The good news is that once we become aware of what's driving our behavior—that's when we can actually start to change it.


To learn more about working with the power of Values, please contact me, visit my web site or check in the What We Offer section about our trainings..




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