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The Why and What of Motivation

We all have days where we can barely put one foot in front of the other. We tell people, “I’m just not feeling very motivated today.” Did you ever stop when you’ve said that to think, “Why? Where did my motivation go, exactly?”

Truly, motivation is the fuel for our goals and our dreams. I’ve talked a lot about assessments, particularly the DISC assessment that I include in my coaching for all of my clients. Part of that lengthy report is a Motivators Section. Up to that point in the analysis, people learn what their personality is like, how it relates to selling technique, what ways they can improve, and so on. That’s the WHAT and the HOW of behavior.

It’s at this point where they get an explanation as to WHY they behave or react in a certain way. Often it’s the information people get from this section of the assessment that is the most eye-opening. Our motivators help initiate our behavior in the first place, and often unconsciously or “hidden” to our awareness. The report helps illuminate and even amplify these to help you build on your strengths.

The six motivators impact each person in one way or another, and an assessment helps identify which of these six has the most intensity. From indifferent to situational to strong, knowing which motivators impact you the most is a valueable key to unlocking your potential at work, in relationships, or wherever you are.

Briefly, the six motivators are identified as

Utilitarian - people driven by a need for financial security

Theoretical - driven by a need for the truth and knowledge; these people find it hard to put down a good book, or rest until a project is completed perfectly

Aesthetic - a drive for symmetry and harmony

• Traditional - seeking unity, order and structure; likely sucessful project managers will score high here

Social - driven by an inherent love of people, and helping others, selfless

Individualistic - almost a 180º difference from social motivators, these arepeople driven by power and influence, not necessarily in politics, but it’s common to see many corporate executives that have this motivator as strong

So let’s unpack that a little bit.

Let’s say you feel frustrated in your job. You are employed at a company where the culture is more “new age,” where the offices have desk stations, but no walls for corner offices. Perhaps the dress code is very casual and the CEO often wears jeans and a sweater. Most projects are team-based, and recognition is applied to that team because the manageent style dictates that everyone is equal in delivering results to the customer. While you are doing what you can to perform at a high level, you just aren’t “feeling it.”

Then you take an assessment, and you find that your answers place you as someone whose two strongest motivators are Utilitarian and Individualistic. For a coach, it’s no surprise that you’re not motivated. I mean, your drive for structure and order is not finding any traction in an environment that doesn’t even have many walls to define work and meeting space. In addition, if you thrive on the feeling of power that comes with recognition of personal or individual accomplishment, you’re less that happy with a team that shares it all, equally.

In this case, your dissatisfaction and lack of motivation is no wonder. Conversely, you will create an environment success if you instead land a position with a company that is competitive, encourages the same among its employees for the betterment of all, and has a nice bonus program for its top performers.

What has changed? Not your personality. Not your talents or skills.

The very fuel you need to work harder, better, more consistently, and with a positive attitude is what has changed. Motivators are that fuel, they are what make you excited to wake up and get the day started. Know this: even the most gifted people cannot succeed without them. Or if they do, it won’t last long and will likely lead to a lot of resentment and frustration, which is the perfect recipe for losing a job.

For those things that you find that make you uncomfortable to read about yourself, ask how you can modify those behaviors. I’m not talking about a comlete personality overhaul, just an adjustment that still allows you to be YOU, just better. The ultimate goal of the assessment, especially this portion of it, is to encourage you to look inward, work on personal development, and give the outside world what you both deserve: the best version of yourself.