Motivational Clashes – Communicate Your Values after Hearing out Theirs

A successful entrepreneur more often than not is motivated “towards” opportunities and high reaching goals. This is the ideal situation for growing and building business, expanding and establishing it on the market and going ahead of competition.

Yet, being a leader of a team,  in which most of the people motivated “away” from risks and losses, could be a great point of tension and misunderstanding not mentioning the frustration and extra energy spent trying turning ‘doubting Thomases’ around. Of course people with opposite motivational modes have certain added value, being cautious and certainty oriented they would be a natural check points for stability and financial security of the enterprise and this resource could not be diminished and overlooked for all what it worth. The trouble starts when the motivational clashes prevent growth and healthy investment into values that bring organization to the next level of sustainability.

There are some ways to ease ‘the conflict’ along the way.  When building the team look out for healthy proportion ‘towards’ and ‘away’ of new employees. Could ask potential employees their personal (not necessarily work related) life stories during interviews what moved them to do things in their childhood and later in life. Ask them their primary question, set up a situation for potential success or failure and ask them to notice what first reaction they notice. People ask themselves different questions (like ‘Are they going to laugh at me?’ – significance; ‘Am I still being loved?’ – love and connection, ‘Is it going to fail?’ – certainty, ‘Is it going to be boring?’ – variety,  etc. Questions will differ depending on their lead human need (look below). This could bring a fresh look onto person’s motivational mode. More often employers ask for soft skill set and abilities and not core character attributes and values.  Lokking for latter could help finding more ‘towards’ people that are essential for sales and managerial positions. Of-course, some roles in business generally imply the ‘away’ mentality. Like your CFO chef financial officer, naturally is a risk averting figure whose main function is to keep a hawk’s eye on every penny for the company to be financially healthy and stable.

So why people get frustrated and cannot get the values of the opposite side. First of all everyone is meeting their most important need or two from the six human needs based on Maslow hierarchy of needs first four known as material ones – (1) certainty, (2) variety, (3) significance, (4) love and connection; and last two – spiritual – (5) growth and (6) contribution. For the ‘towards’ motivated entrepreneurs the leading need could be variety, significance and even love and connection and their business is a vehicle to satisfy these needs and their certainty is derived from action and expansion. On the higher level the spiritual needs of growth and contribution are even stronger ‘towards’ motivators. Whereas for risk averted people certainty is the most important need and whenever things get a bit shaky and too speedy the need for certainty presents itself even stronger and accounts become even tighter and expansion harder. These ways to satisfy the human needs are at the core of each person and are not easily changed just in the course of working together in the business setting.

But the tension is not a necessary hurdle of the process if each side learns to communicate their values, rather than standing their ground no matter what. Ironically,  communicating your own values involves listening to other people’s values first without taking it as an attack on your own. How to bring the ‘away’ person on board? The leader will want to ask them to find and monitor and bring to their attention all the pitfalls and risks and possible failures in their new project. When the leader initiates this kind of conversation it engages the energy of the ‘away’ person in their ‘positive’ manner. They are asked to participate in the project the way they can rather than them pressing the brake pedal all they way resisting the project to even lift off the ground. But this could not be used as a ploy to avert attention. It must be a genuine way to show the appreciation and validation that the leader can provide to their team. As soon as it’s used as a trick it doesn’t work.

After such initial engagement the ‘towards’ person can start explaining their values that move them closer to their goals and how it’s going to benefit the whole enterprise on so many levels. Only after the ‘fears’ were heard and acknowledged by the leader his vision and motivation could be communicated fully. A big mistake is to leave the ‘vessel’ empty at this stage and not to bother explaining how the leader came to a conclusion of certain investment, decision, expenditure and so on, because the vacuum will again be filled with hesitancy and doubts. So taking time and discovering together your logical/intuitive process of making a decision is the big part and unavoidable for all parties to move into right direction.

Wherever there is the clash of any kind take time to (1) listen first to understand, (2) engage the person they way they can operate and then (3) reveal your motivation step by step, too.  It’s crucial to make each of these three steps initially and then repeat again and again continuously. Business decisions are often fast responses to opportunities, but repeating successful outcomes are products of steady processes. Once you’ve set a template you can use it again and again. In time the opposites will learn to see each other’s side and thrive.

Photo by Juhasz Imre on



Motivation – the Language of Choice

In my previous post I discussed two types of motivation ‘towards’ and ‘away’ and touched upon the middle stream a bit.

Towards dreams and desires (1) and away from fear (2), both involve the system of beliefs of what’s possible for me in this particular place and time. All of these beliefs are subject to definition which is why the coaching has great effect on performance. There is the third type of basic motivation which is social or environmental one (3). I simply get motivated by the people around me. Instead of running ‘proudly’ alone I invite a friend and two of us a better at it, I show up for them rather than staying in if I don’t feel like running this morning. The social circle that I mingle with is ought to rub off (the fairy dust) on me it’s up to me to choose it.

The middle stream mentioned above is that I stop chasing after dreams and run away from fears and find my ground from which to act. I find who I want to be and what’s important for me and work on principlehere and now rather than a dream of future or fear past/future and this is a different kind of belief system. Until I’m really strong at it the basic motivation is at play.

So today I want to explore that point when a person says I don’t have motivation, I have so much work to do and I cannot get myself round it.

What I hear here, first of all, is It’s not my desire to work (often at this particular job). It’s someone else’s will and basically I’m subject of coercion. In other words I have to work, but really I don’t want to. Autonomy – ultimately pleasure and satisfaction – is of a great value to our mind. In such scenario If I ask myself five ‘whys’ or ‘what happens if’ I quickly come to the base line that it’s in my personal interest to work and do stuff, because in the end I might be on the street and cannot satisfy my basic needs. If I don’t do it today, and repeatedly don’t do what ‘I have to’ eventually I get fired. Which I do not want. In other words I want to stay employed where I am and continue receive the benefits I have however unsatisfying (but it’s another conversation about motivation for change). The cost of inaction is too high, but that’s another form of fear or away motivation. At the point coaches find a leverage on people to be a greater self for the sake of kids, for loved ones, for anything is dear and close to heart. Here we ask the main question of life who is the person I’m want to be loved by. The figure shows up whose approval we seeking in life and that is a question of self-exploration that reveals your core motivation. Because we would rather be loved than do what we love. It’s a deeper question of our psychology everyone seeks/finds a resolution of at some point of their life, (you are welcome to explore it with a coach like me or other professional).

But here I wanted to go to a more imminent strategy.  The trick is to bring the ‘I want to’ to an earlier stage in the process before it is ‘fight or flight’ gun point.  Let’s explore the language I talk to myself with, whenever I say ‘I have to’ my mind is in the state of resistance and would do anything to avoid the action because it means pain. Our mind is a pain-and-pleasure slave and the main way it distinguishes one from another is the language we use when we talk to ourselves. Negative and/or passive forms of language mean pain, no autonomy, so no energy and resources for ‘I do not’, ‘I have to’, ‘I need to’, ‘I don’t want to’, ‘I hate to’, ‘I cannot’, ‘I must’, ‘I am due’, ‘I am required’, ”I have a problem’. Even without going deep in the chemistry of the brain switching the negatives into positives will immediately open up the energy channels and give us resources to complete any task at hand. The Bible said, In the beginning there was a word…

The solution is to employ the language of choice. Is is a conscientious effort we want to learn in order to progress in life. No one is there to give it to us or as they say, no one will show up in my life in the morning to motivate me, cheer me up and so on, but me. If I don’t show up… The simple first step is to start using the words of choice, ‘I want to’, ‘I like to’, ‘I enjoy’, ‘I choose’, ‘I do’. ‘I can’. If it’s not obvious in any one situation why I want to do something I can simply track down the chain of choice again, ask my self five ‘whys?’ or ‘what ifs?’ in order to find that point at which ‘I don’t want to’ switches to ‘I want to’. But when I cannot find that point, it may be means I want to change something, whether it’s the situation or myself. And that will be a new beginning a new channel for my energy as opposed to a block and lack of energy. Also great to remember that for my mind ‘I don’t want to be late’ and ‘I want to be late’ is the same, so I’m late. The mind functions properly when I say ‘I want to be on time’. Feel the difference? ‘I don’t want to be like my father’ has no difference to our mind from ‘I want to be like him’, it’s far more productive to find the one I want to be like, e.g. my grandparent. Basically any denial means the situation doesn’t exist, and if it does not exist my mind cannot deal with it. Acceptance is the only way.

To make it easier for our fearsome minds, it’s better to begin with the positive questions right away instead for looking for the point of switch. Ask, Why I want to do something? What good comes out of it? What I learn from something? Who I become through doing things? What and who can benefit from it? Any number of questions that lead in positive direction will set you mind right.

The challenge, of course, is that our mind has a negative bias often triggered by events, people, circumstances that make asking positive questions almost impossible. Once we train ourselves and  became aware of the trigger points that bring the bias on we can deal with it. The trigger points can be identified through simple careful observation, what switches us from good-nature relaxed state in to the tense stressed and fearful one. If all is not too bad, it’s possible to change my own state by many simple habits of exercise, priming, affirmations, day regime.

Nevertheless, it could be very difficult to even begin asking positive questions, start exercising and so on. Until we have strong conscious self the mind will always pull in the abyss. That’s why initially it’s helpful if someone else like a coach, friend, external event, new employment pulled us out of our own negativity. Remember last time when someone asked you to do something for them and you wasn’t sure but did it – you overcome your bias because you had the pressure from outside. Given a chance everyone can rise to the occasion. The greatness is to rise before the occasion shows up. These are the writers who write even though no one wants to publish them or despite being banned from, these are the athletes who train in middle of nowhere without any chance of getting in the competition, these are the leaders and entrepreneurs that do things before the funding shows up, that these are the scientist who follow the interest and not money and recognition, these are parents who bring children in this world, these are people who have will to live fully everyday even though death is inevitable or m.b. precisely because of it.

How to Get Motivated – 7 steps for dreams to come true

They say ‘where is the will there is the way’!

How to find the will? The vexed question of life comes up time and again in my coaching conversations. My first answer, to men: if you cannot get motivated, your life is too comfortable. For women it’s little more complicated. And better discussed in another post later. Wait, where are you all going?

In this quest for motivation the first stop is, of course, the will or desire which is the engine of everything on this planet called Earth.

When I am after something I go through the same stages of forming and realizing desire as everyone else. Some people are more aware of it and some are more skilled at it, but the process is the same nevertheless.

There are seven stages trough which a desire comes true and watch for the number five!

First. My desire would be based on my understating of the core values – love, knowledge and eternity – they are universal for all, but I experience them depending on my own vision of the world and level of personal development. Let’s say, for one love means service, for another it’s mutual satisfaction for the third it’s personal gratification. And so on. First thing is to write down as many desires as possible and then gradually eliminate those that are not yours. Believe me there will be only few in the end! I figure, I won’t get any motivation if the desire is not truly mine.

Second. Then there is emotional connection to these values. Happiness, loyalty, enthusiasm, acceptance, love, and so on. Nobody consciously strives for bad emotions and feelings, so I won’t name them here. The formula is easy – I be happy, when I have something I want.

Third. After the emotional level there are intellectual and logical constructions. I process my emotions into logical conclusions of good and bad and categories of acceptable or not. For me it was a known path for many – I go to such and such university/profession – I get this degree/medal/money – I do something, I have something, I be someone then I be happy!

The fourth step is visual forms and imaging of the desired outcomes. (How many times we are caught by the commercials especially TV ones? A happy emotion is attached to a picture and voila I want that car/house/holiday!) But outside the consumer life if such ‘outside’ still exists, great leaders are famous for having a vision of future and conveying to others with the certainty described in the step below.

Fifth. After the vision is formed I move towards intention – which is defined as a certainty or belief of real possibility of the envisioned result. This is the most notorious part lacking when I discover ‘I have no motivation’ – which means simply I don’t believe something is possible for me and therefore I’ll stay where I am: on my sofa/old job with a cup of tea/bottle of bear, etc.  This is where working with a coach comes at the strongest. If I don’t have someone who constantly believes in me (like my mother when I was a child), I need to learn to do it myself – this is what a coach helps me do – learn to believe, find the reason I didn’t. It’s impossible to engage in action the next step, if I do not believe it will be beneficial to do. I can do anything when I see the result is almost here. When I run that 5k and the sign says ‘almost there’ suddenly I sprint, when the cross channel swimmer sees the first sign of the land all of a sudden she has more energy. Marathons is not my cup of tea, as you noticed. The other great motivator is of course – imminent death, also known as fear, a deadline, famine and so on. Most of the time fear is just another form of belief.

Action is the sixth step in realizing desire, no action, no results.  Starting small is the answer. Running is such an overused example but it’s because it is effective one, if I run five minutes for five days, on the sixth I am guaranteed to progress to ten and then build it more. The right action is also a big deal, I cannot dig and expect to swim, I cannot keep the shop when nothing is selling for 20 years, just because I’ve invested so much in it.

Seventh. Results. They seem to be dependent only on the actions I took or are they? Finally, the history of previous success helps to motivate me for more and persuade others to believe I can. The feeling of certainty!

So, when I lack motivation it means any one or more of these steps is missed:

  • No will/desire or the desire is not truly mine
  • I didn’t connect to it emotionally
  • I did not form a logical construction
  • I have not envisioned the outcome
  • I do not believe it’s possible, (one of the most overlooked but most important!)
  • I didn’t act or didn’t take the right kind of action! I have no record of previous results to motivate me for the future ones.

The pinnacle of the motivation conundrum is the lack of belief or that certainty that my efforts will be rewarded the way I want. Simply speaking, if I expect – believe – something is possible I do everything in my power to achieve it. If my expectation is low I do not have any energy to implement it, my activity level matches the energy one, of course, and the results follow the pattern.

There are two ways to get to the action for me nowadays. First is desire (the above seven stages of it) I find the task is possible and the result is near, and I do it. This is a great way to realize most short-term goals, as the results are foreseeable, and the prize is an identifiable shiny trinket as medals in sports and diplomas in education, material purchases and so on. As life gets further, most things become a long howl with blurred or not so clear signs of progress.

I pursued ‘I’ll be happy when’ formula relentlessly, especially in my twenties when my physical power matched any crazy idea of mine by supplying endless amount of adrenaline to charge into any action. But when it runs out I want to find an alternative way – ‘I’m happy whether or not’. I am to start with the feeling and not wait for it as a reward.

It is trickier at first but more liberating. If I find the way to disconnect my performance from the result I am free. E.g. I do it not because I believe in the great outcome but for the fun of doing it. Or if I do it because it’s the right thing to do whether the result shows up or not. I feel different kind of power in me steady and happy in the now regardless of tomorrow. And this is a whole new territory to learn in life.

Acknowledging Our Pain


‘Sometimes the motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of ourself.

Some people seem called to help others, often from very early on in their childhoods, responding to the needs of family members, strangers, or animals with a selflessness that is impressive. Often, these people appear to have very few needs of their own, and the focus of their lives is on rescuing, helping, and healing others. While there are a few people who are truly able to sustain this completely giving lifestyle, the vast majority has needs that lie beneath the surface, unmet and often unseen. In these cases, their motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of themselves that is starving for the kind of love and attention they dole out to those around them on a daily basis. For any number of reasons, they are unable to give themselves the love they need and so they give it to others. This does not mean that they are not meant to be helping others, but it does mean that they would do well to turn some of that helping energy within.

One problem with the rescuer model is that the individual can get stuck in the role, always living in crisis mode at the expense of inner peace and personal growth. Until the person resolves their own inner dramas, they play them out in their relationships with others, drawn to those who need them and often unable to acknowledge their own needs or get them met. In the worst-case scenario, they enable the other person’s dilemma by not knowing when to stop playing the rescuer and allow the person to figure it out on their own. However, if the rescuer finds the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own psyche, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of healing in the world.

Some signs that you or someone you love may need to rescue the rescuer within are inner burnout from over giving; underlying resentment; an inability to admit to having needs of one’s own; and an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Help comes when we allow ourselves to admit we need it, acknowledging our humanity and our wholeness by acknowledging our pain. The understanding we gain in the process will naturally inform and inspire our ability to help those in need to do the same.’


Procrastination and on the Importance of Being Human  

I recently needed to sit down and write an “important” document and with a big title “Personal results”. My whole body got tense and I went away to clean a bathroom cabinet. Typical!

The document needed for my online group “Magic of Feelings” I’m leading for six weeks at a time and during those weeks I normally write a lot of commentary to the personal diaries of each participant in our closed online group in VK. And I do it on my phone and on the go! I also write my own diary within the group and I call it “observations”. So the whole process is smooth and actually very rewarding.

But when I decided that this final document is so important that it requires me to sit down at my PC, my whole body protested to the point that I couldn’t write a word! Especially the word “results”.

An hour and a half later, clean bathroom cabinet and oil mask in my hair, I finally found the culprit that prevented me to write the whole thing! The importance, the undue weight that I gave to the whole event! Once I realized it, I called the document “Personal Observations” instead of “Personal Results” and proceeded to write everything on my phone as I normally did for the whole course!

The work was done in no time! Later when I said this to my husband, who’s  closely following the US democratic race for the predidential nomination, he said, ‘Ah, that’s why Hillary Clinton was using her Blackberry all the time!’ And for the first time I actually looked at her in a different light and she became more human/woman.

 If you think you’re procrastinating think again! Something in your attitude and beliefs just blocking you. Look within. If it’s not just plain physical tiredness that requires quality recreation time, it is something that is “very important” and so important, that it throws you out of your regular ways.  When in doubt proceed as normal… Change is overrated!

Emotional Snakes and Ladders – overcoming the negativity bias

Thank you Elaine! Really helpful post – Emotional Snakes and Ladders – overcoming the negativity bias. For many of us, emotions are things that happen us – sometimes a tornado that…

Source: Emotional Snakes and Ladders – overcoming the negativity bias

A Letter from a Client, Now a Friend

Way back I was introduced to this book in an unusual way! Thank you, dear client!

Dana Johnson Life Coach

I hope you are well! I have been meaning to send you some feedback for ages now – so sorry it has taken me so long to getting around to doing it.

I feel so grateful to have met you and to have had the opportunity to experience your wisdom and very special coaching style. I immediately felt at ease with your quiet confidence and warmth, and your careful, intuitive listening. Your passion for women and the woman’s role in the household was very evident, and made me feel affirmed and valued in a way that I hadn’t even realised I needed. You responded to my feedback after a couple of sessions with humility and integrity, and as a result I felt we were able to move to a new level of understanding. I love that you are so transparent and honest about your own issues and experiences. Not only…

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