Uncovering Your Motivators from a Situation that Frustrates You - by Nicholas Wai

Photo: http://lisa-christiansen.com/2012/05/10/nlp-reframing-the-past-does-not-equal-the-future/I have written about motivation in my last 2 blog posts – how understanding better our hierarchy of needs will help us create better motivators for behavioural change in “Our Needs and Our Behaviours”; and how intrinsically motivating goals are better than extrinsically imposed goals in driving performance and behaviour change in “Why We Do What We Do…How To Make Use of This Knowledge To Set Our New Year Resolution?”. In both cases, through reflecting on day to day personal experiences, I arrived at insights that helped uncovered my motivating factors. I hope my stories have prompted you to start thinking about the topic. However, you may also be thinking: “it’s all very well for you, but I have never found it easy to know what truly motivate me”. I agree with you. For almost all of us, including me, it is much easier to identify what irritates us than uncovering what it is that specifically drives us forward. Nevertheless, a very experienced coach has showed me that what irritates us or pushes us into conflict with someone - would in fact also shows us what our dearly held values and motivating factors - they are two sides of the same coin.

I have had the privilege of experiencing a taster session, led by its creator Dr. Paul Jeong’s, from his accredited Certified Professional Coach Training Program in earlier this month. His school is currently one of the largest providers of coach training in China and he will be bringing his program to Hong Kong. To introduce the program to some of his prospective students, he conducted two very animated and activity-packed evenings to introduce some of his powerful coaching tools as preview of what is to come in the full program. One of the exercises that really impressed me was how he turned someone’s conflict situation into a learning opportunity of what makes that person excel. Through a simple visioning and reframing process, Dr. Paul, with his energetic yet caring questioning and guiding, demonstrated how coaching could help someone look at a frustrating situation from a very different perspective (reframing), thereby creating an opportunity and the motivation for the person to resolve the situation.

I applied this exercise to help me understand my working practices.  I hate being forced into agreements like accepting a project or an assignment without enough time and information to understand and accept on an intuitive basis what I am getting into (one of my hot buttons). But once I am I take the responsibility that comes with the role very seriously to ensure its success. What is this telling me? I need enough space and freedom to think things through in my own time. The underlying values driving this need is my strong preference for freedom and self-determination, which I not only expect of myself but also hold for those whom I work with. So what motivates me are autonomy and accountability.

However, what I’ve also learned and have come to realise is that they are my values and not those of others. And they are equally relevant for me at work and in personal situations, where conflicts are even more likely, especially with close relations and loved ones. I have come to realise that it is very important for me to consider what motivates them also, and examine how we can relate to each other better so both of our values are respected and both our needs are met. For example, I may consider giving freedom and accountability to someone as my show of love, but for my girlfriend, what motivates her are connection and intimacy, which means her way of showing love would looks very different from mine. Understanding what motivates each of us, I am learning to read our behaviours differently and to not react in my old ways when my hot buttons are pushed. I must admit this is easier said than done but I am happy about gaining this insight and starting to behave differently for better relationship.

For you:

- Think of a conflict you recently had with a loved one. What does it reveal about the values that you and you loved one hold dear?

- With this insight, is there anything you would like to change about how you would react if a similar situation happens again?