Awareness IMPACT-Your Motivations

Leading Edge from Aegis Learning

Your Motives and Motivations

Making IMPACT-Motives and Motivations

1.  Slow down from reaction mode, take a breath and pause and then examine why (your motivations) you are saying something or your behaviors.

2.  Look at the impact of your actions.  This will tell you a lot about your motivations.

3.  Any action or reaction that “doesn’t feel right” probably has a poor motivation driving it.

Motivations and motives are a complex set of thoughts and emotions that drive significant parts of our behavior.  When understood and correctly managed, this can lead to powerful changes in our lives and work.  It is a great starting point for a significant upgrade to our self-awareness.

As with just about everything else in life, there are great motivations and motives and poor ones.  The purpose of this article is to encourage the examination of what motives are driving your behaviors and responses.

Motive of Love and Enjoyment

The best motive of all is when love or pure unbridled enjoyment drive behaviors or responses.  I have a buddy that loves baseball.  He eats, sleeps, talks and plays baseball.  It is his point of love, enjoyment and passion.  Each time he talks about it, it is driven by his love for the game.  Similarly, a parent’s interaction with their child is often driven by a motive of love.  Not to say that each interaction is enjoyable but it is driven by the love of the best interest for that child.  Love and enjoyment based motivations will produce the best results, behaviors and ultimate success.  When this motive drives your behavior, it will be obvious to all around you through your displayed demeanor and projected energy.  You will light up a room with this motivation.

Motive of Care and Assistance

My mind immediately recalls Mother Teresa when thinking about this motivation and motive set.  No one more selfless and egoless in her pursuit of caring for others probably exited in modern times.  This is a motivation that has a dark and evil twin that will appear below and comes up a lot in discussions and work on becoming a giving person.  This motive should be examined anytime you volunteer or donate or offer care and assistance to others.  Are you doing it to truly help or to shine favor upon yourself?  Likewise in the workplace, when assistance is offered without any strings attached or expectation of even appreciation, the motivation is coming from the right spot.

Motive of Support

Very similar to care and assistance, support offered without judgment and any expectation is coming from a great spot.  When that supporting ear turns judgmental, gossiping and used against someone, that motivation is now quite polluted.

Motive of Survival

Dr. Abraham Maslow taught the best and most lasting lessons related to this motive.  The need to feed oneself trumps all other needs.  Almost primitive in its view, it produces a me first behavior and often times leads to unethical actions or sacrificing people (and love/enjoyment motivations) for self-preservation.  Although this motive must be present in some form, it should be subordinated for the greater good of a love or care for others motivation with the understanding that basic needs will be provided when motives are aligned.  This motive can become part of a company culture and sacrifice doing the right thing or superior customer service for survival motivations of layoffs or worse.

Motive of Attention

This motivation appears a great deal in social media and even takes the form of people playing the role of victim or even making up victim status (gentle reminder:  you signed that “bad” deal for the car with your eyes wide open and conscious).  This motivation also appears many times under the guise of giving or support when the real motive is to draw personal attention to the act.  Children are great models of this motive in both good and bad behavior and adults will often do something outrageous just for the attention value.  There is some great sociological work being done right now about the incredible rise in people getting tattoos (yes I have some too) and why they do it.

Motive of Embarrassment

The motive to embarrass and need to be right (below) are very closely related.  The embarrassment motive will often show up in sarcastic remarks and cutting-edge humor that is designed to make someone else embarrassed or feel badly.  Take a look at the impact of your words and actions and use good reaction avoidance to cure this motivation.

Motive of Superiority

Like with embarrassment, this motive has a winner and loser.  Since social media as burst into our reality, this motivation has become significantly more public.  A simple test on this motive is to reflect about why being right is so important.  Great judgment will lead you to understand that being right is not nearly as important as allowing others to be right and to choose the spots for being right carefully.

Motive of Revenge

The darkest of all the motives and one driven by pure fear is revenge.  Similar to embarrassment as a motive but with deeper behavioral impact.  When someone is driven by the motive of revenge, it becomes blinding and fear feeding to the point of losing rationality in thought and judgment.  The behaviors driven by revenge are not always the highly open tire slashing variety.  Many of the revenge motive driven behaviors are covert and include gossip, spreading lies and working to undermine the success of others.

None of us, certainly me included, can ever have total purity of motivations and driving motives.  But what we can do is add some significant thought to why we are doing something and what our motives are behind them.  When we know that the motives are solid, we should continue those behaviors.  Conversely, when those motivations are not good or even dark, we need to step back and cease those behaviors and repair the damage when possible.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

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