Wins and Losses

The rest of the week flew by and before Pat knew it, it was Friday afternoon again. As she was getting ready to meet Coach Smith at the coffee shop she reflected on the week. She felt good about having caught her mistake during the team meeting and then pivoting to talk to each person individually. The mood in the office was the best she could recall since taking over the learning department.

She arrived at the coffee shop 15 minutes early, hoping to beat Coach this time but he was already there sitting in his usual place, smiling and chatting with people around him. Pat walked up to him and said, “I got here extra early hoping I’d be the one sitting relaxing when you walked in for a change.”

Coach Smith laughed then reminded her, “When you’re retired you have lots of time on your hands. I enjoy our time together and coming here so I find myself arriving a little earlier each week.” 

“Well, I enjoy it too so it looks like we have a win-win situation,” Pat replied as she flashed a smile at Coach.

“Funny you mention wins because that’s what I want to talk about today. Wins and losses,” he said, taking advantage of the perfect opening. 

With a faint chuckle Pat replied, “I experienced plenty of both during my playing days and in my corporate role.”

Coach asked, “Pat, you remember your freshman season when we made it to the conference championship against all odds?”

With excitement she said, “Of course I do! We were at the number eight seed in the tourney so nobody expected us to win a game let alone against the #1 seed. I remember how excited we were when we beat them in the tournament.”

“Now think about losing the conference championship, Even though we never expected to be there, how did you feel about that?” Coach asked as he gazed into her eyes.

“Even though we never expected to be in the championship, and the odds were against us winning, that loss hurt a lot. I think about that game often,” Pat replied in a somber tone.

“Do you find yourself thinking about the sting of that loss more than the joy we experienced when we won that first game against the top-seeded team?” Coach inquired.

 “Absolutely!” Pat said emphatically.

Coach Smith began to share, “That’s exactly what I expected and it leads to what we’re going to talk about today, scarcity. Psychologists have statistically proven that people feel the pain of loss about two times as much as the joy of gaining the same thing. It’s exactly why, despite how monumental that first victory was in the tournament, losing the conference championship overshadowed it. If you think about times in your life where you’ve experienced great joy and great sorrow, doesn’t the sorrow feel stronger and seem to linger a little bit longer?”

Pat agreed, “I wish it didn’t but that always seems to be the case.”

Continuing to look her in the eye, Coach went on, “When you understand this you need to begin to look for opportunities to reframe what you might have talked about as a gain into loss, or positive into negative. Now let me be clear, I’m not talking about being a fear monger or using scare tactics. I’m talking about honestly reframing what someone might gain to what they might lose by not going along with whatever you’re proposing. If you take this approach, I think you’ll find more people doing the things you need to do because they don’t want to experience the loss you’ve highlighted. Make sense?”

Pat replied, “It does make sense but I think this will be a challenge for me because I’ve always tried to be optimistic and upbeat.”

Coach assured her, “It will feel awkward at first so it will take some practice and getting used to. Just remember, you don’t want to come across as a downer. For example, in the past, if you shared what a competitor was doing you might tell the team you’re implementing some changes because you want to be like that industry leader. That’s how most people would frame the change. Reframing it to incorporate scarcity might sound like this, ‘I was reading about XYZ company and what they’re doing around follow-up coaching in learning. We’re going to take a look at doing the same thing because we don’t want to fall behind.’”

“That doesn’t sound negative at all. I think I can do that,” Pat replied with a sense of relief in her voice.

Their conversation lasted another 20 minutes as Pat shared changes that were coming up. She worked with Coach on how she might reframe some of her initial messages to incorporate a scarcity approach. The changes could potentially boost the team’s output which would make her feel much better when she had her next one-on-one with her boss.


  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

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