What Drives You?

woman stands in forest looking at beautiful blue sky
by Anne McKeown

The topic of motivation fascinates me. 

I love to understand the different internal and external drivers that move people forward in life.

I recently had an insight whilst reading The Achieving Society, by David McClelland. Through cognitive theory he highlights that for some people the thought of accomplishing tasks and advancing in their role at work is enough to make them jump out of bed in the morning, keen to tick off the next goal and get promotion. For others the feeling of authority, making an impact and gaining status is all it takes to get them up and running and for people like me their driver is affiliation. In other words, the need to interact with others, to share, to promote teamwork and to be kind.   

I used to work in Direct Sales. Some people can’t understand why anyone would be attracted to that industry. I loved it. The part of the job that I enjoyed the most was offering other women the opportunity to get back into the workplace without the burden of a stern interview, a bachelor’s degree or travelling to the city everyday. I used my skills to help each of them build their confidence and earn a bit of extra money and seeing them achieve and grow brought me a lot of satisfaction.

However, as my main driver is affiliation, I was more interested in the people than the profit and more driven by team work than team sales. My goals were more about associate retention than financial turn-over and this did not please my boss! When I decided to leave I knew that the only thing I would miss was the people.  

It really pays to understand what drives you so you can move straight into an arena where you will thrive and have a positive affect on those around you. 

It is also important to mention here that your internal driver can change depending on your circumstances, for example, a friend of mine wanted to become a doctor because he loved medicine and helping people. He achieved his goal and a number of years later was offered more money to move into a managerial role in a hospital. He knew this wouldn’t feed his internal motivation/driver but the extra money was an external incentive that swayed his head over his heart. Months later he was left feeling unfulfilled and bored. 

What drives you, Achievement, Authority or Affiliation?  

To learn more about self-care see: Reignite your Spark

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