Have you ever heard a parent talk about the sacrifices they make for their children? Maybe you’ve made a similar comment. A long time ago I started taking a different view about what we choose to forgo for our kids and others; it’s not a sacrifice, it’s an investment.
If you’re like many working adults you probably set aside some of your income each month for retirement savings. You’re forgoing spending on current wants and needs for something down the road you hope will give you more.
By the same token, whatever you choose to forgo when it comes to your children, you hope will pay dividends in the future. To see your children grow up happy, healthy, productive and mature will bring you joy. If they give you grandchildren that’s icing on the cake.
The same attitude (yes, it is a mindset) applies to our friends and coworkers. You probably choose to be around people who give something in return. That might be encouragement, fun times, a listening ear, advice or something else. The point is, you get something out of the relationship.
Giving in a friendship triggers reciprocity, that natural obligation we all feel to give back to those who first give to us. When you invest in friendships you get something in return. If your friends invest in you they get something too. It’s a win-win proposition.
What happens when someone takes and doesn’t give? In other words, you realize it’s a bad investment because you get very little or nothing in return? You probably find yourself spending less and less time with takers.
When you begin to change your thinking from “sacrificing” to “investing” you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the response of most people.
If someone sees you as sacrificing they may feel they’re putting you out. They may feel like strings are attached. It may make them feel like a pain in the butt.
However, when someone sees you as investing in them it conveys worth and dignity. That will make people far more likely to naturally want to do something for you because they appreciate what you’ve done.
Words matter. Words conjure up thoughts and feelings. How you think and feel will either encourage or discourage action from the people you interact with.
Sacrificing feels hard, like something is going away forever. Most people resist doing hard things. Investing on the other hand doesn’t feel as hard because there’s something to look forward to, a payoff down the road.
To Do This Week
Stop sacrificing and start investing. Approach people – family, friends, co-workers, strangers – with a mindset that says, “I’ want to invest in you.” That subtle mindset shift will change your demeanor and people will pick up on it.
Will every investment “pay off”? No, but the law of reciprocity dictates far more people will respond positively to you when you invest first. Doing so creates win-win relationships and that’s a great long-term investment strategy!
Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CMCT®
Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling.
Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by more than 75,000 people around the world! His newest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is available through LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com.