We would all agree that in order to succeed, we need energy and drive. That spark that gives us the mojo to keep going and achieving our life and business goals. That invisible shield that allows us to fend off negativity and challenges, in order for us to continue to relentlessly strive for the outcomes we desire and need. One word which encapsulates that energy, is MOTIVATION. And in most cases, when I am working with clients that are not achieving the outcomes they desire, they always express a lack of motivation.
In this blog, I want to bring to the front the fundamental concept behind motivation. How to have it, how to sustain it, and how to infect others with it. Because through motivation, you get the spark, and from there creativity, clarity and confidence flow easily. Allowing you to truly become an effortless leader and enabling you to become more resourceful and effective at growing your business.
The foundational forces behind motivation are steeped in the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) theory of Meta Programs. Without diving deep on the science, I’ll simply explain Meta Programs as the core traits of a person. The traits that are just part of their specific DNA. For example, are you an Introvert or Extrovert? Are you a Challenge Seeker or Challenger Avoider? And so on. These are meta programs. And they combine with values, beliefs, environment and experiences to develop a person’s particular identity.
The meta-program which affects motivation greatly is the trait of Away and Towards. Are you an away personality, or a towards personality? Defined concisely, an away personality tends to make life decisions about “what do I want to avoid”. A towards personality tends to make life decisions about “what do I want to achieve”. We all have a tendency to live somewhere on that Towards and Away scale. Both have positive and negatives. However, to experience abundance and success, it is essential that you have more Towards focuses, rather than Away.
Let’s take an example, and this based on a client of mine. Alex has been in business for years in their hairdressing game. She had in the past a chain of salons and would like to get back to that. However, her experience back then was that when she grew, her hairdressers would leave and take clients. Therefore, she was forever in a cycle of getting quality staff and re-growing her client base. So, as she now moves to expand into multiple salons again, it seems that a significant amount of strategy and decision making is based on her need to “not have the same issue of unethical brats stealing from me” as she had put it. Hence, although the concept is commercially reasonable, and in fact, it is important in business to create legal protection for your Intellectual Property and clients, she was highly focused on this. And guess what she has been attracting! Hairdressers that keep doing it again. To put an end to that, we have been focusing on creating a goal of what she wants, rather than what she doesn’t want. And to do that, we have focused our attention on building a coaching culture in the salon, which is the basis of high performing teams. This involves her investing time and money into training her staff technically, and also in getting coaching for her staff so that they achieve their life goals. The result is that the hairdressers just don’t want to go anywhere else, because they LOVE where they are too much and that attracts more high-quality individuals to her business. That also has resulted in a wonderful amount of quality referrals and positive community support for her salons.
Let’s break down that example into chunks to explore the theory behind it all.
When Alex was focusing on what she didn’t want, she was dedicating energy on Away from thoughts. When a person is in that zone, they experience the following;
- Think of the negative
- Feel unhappy
- Guided by fear
- Lost and without direction
- Often stressed
- Lack of motivation
- Disconnected with their values
- Fatigue because you feel like your pushing
Why do they experience all this? Fundamentally, it’s because they are so focused on what they don’t want, that they keep getting it again and again.
When we shifted Alex’s focus to what she wants (which we did by getting her to unveil her “why” in life and business, which meant reviewing her values), this is what Alex began to experience;
- Clarity and focus fuelled by motivation
- Excitement and happiness
- Positive vibes and communication
- Courage and love
- Reconnected with her vision/mission
- Growth, opportunity and connection
- Mojo and energy because you are being pulled
Simply put, when she shifted to Towards, Alex became re-aligned with her goals and desires and focused on those. She started to see in her mind what she wanted in life and business and therefore attracted those outcomes.
Now, I don’t want you to think that Moving Away is always bad! Because you do need to MOVE AWAY FROM THE TRUCK COMING AT YOU! That’s right, we do have to make decisions to move away from things that will harm us. It is often the first step in a new and better pathway. Relationships, jobs, food, books etc that are bad for us, have to be left behind. However, it’s extremely important to combine that with a Move Towards objective. Once we have moved away from something, it is then time to begin to create the “move towards” ambition. That’s right, ambition is a key emotion that is common to all Towards personalities. They are ambitious people.
As an example, you may think and say, “I want to leave my job because it stresses me out”. OK, leave your job, that’s good. However, if that is where you leave your motivation, then that becomes your focus. And you’ll end up finding another job that gives you stress again. Instead think and say, “I want to leave my job because it stresses me out, and I want to find a job that brings out my passion and gives me growth”. With this motivation model, you have a target that you’re moving towards, and that is much more likely to succeed because you have a clear ambition.
There is another reason that Towards results in success, while Away often results in less quality of life. Imagine this, when you move away from something, the further away from it you get, the less you notice it and your motivation to keep moving eventually ends. And at that point, you become lost and most possible you will feel STUCK. And may even slide back towards it.
In contract, when you are moving Towards a target, the destination is getting bigger as you get closer. Just like when you have driven for a long time, and then you can see your destination on the horizon. At that point, you get excited and your energy lifts and you can’t wait to get there. Your motivation grows and grows until you reach your destination. So much more positivity and spark in this focus. Effectively, your target will pull you along
As a leader in business, it is fundamental that you communicate from a Towards mindset. And it is just as important to help nurture your team to achieve the same focus. In doing so, you create high performing individuals who are ambitious and positively directed. Hence why, the most successful businesses and leaders always communicate their big “why”, their highest visions and goals. Because that inspires their customers, their staff and their stakeholders to also make this goal come true.
All that I ask now, is that you take stock of what you often think about and say. What you communicate. And note whether you are communicating in a Towards or Away mode. Write down what you notice and begin to reframe your unwanted Away communication with more positive and resourceful Towards language. And remember, communication isn’t just what you say, it is also your body language, your behaviour and the environment you create.
I enjoy working with my clients to shift their business to a TOWARDS model and culture. By going into their business and assessing the conscious and subconscious communication within it, we work to make the changes needed to create success. This is part of the High Performance and Culture coaching programs that we do.
If you’d like to discover more about business coaching and leadership coaching, reach out and we can get you on the right track towards the outcomes you are seeking.