How Your Motivation Direction Keeps You Stuck

Have you ever thought about your motivation direction? Did you know that people use a variety of ways to motivate themselves?

Some people are more motivated when they think about a positive future while other people are more motivated when they think about a bad outcome they want to avoid.

To learn more about your style, keep reading.

What is motivation direction?

In a recent article for, I wrote about seven motivation styles. Today, I am going to go into more detail about one of these styles: motivation direction.

There are two directions. If you like goal setting and moving toward that goal, you are a toward. If you worry about problems and how to avoid them, then you are an away-from.

Your personal style is not good or bad, but you do want to recognize your style so that you can motivate yourself better. If you are using a style that does not match who you are, you will struggle or get stuck.

Here are two case studies that demonstrate how a mismatched style can derail your success.

A toward with no future

Jeff is a toward. He likes to spend time setting goals and then he works toward success. Recently he had the opportunity to work with one of the top sales groups in his company.

Jeff quickly realized that the team leader used an away-from motivation style. The team leader was always looking over his shoulder and worried that someone might steal his clients. He worked long hours to avoid any possible problems.

Jeff struggled to focus on his positive goals but he found that the constant focus on problems kept him stuck.

An away-from with no problems

Janet is an away-from. She constantly worries about all the bad things that might happen. Her company sent everyone to a goal setting class. Janet was taught that the best way to motivate yourself was to set goals and have a positive attitude.

Janet’s team leader embraced this philosophy and told Janet to ignore her worries and just focus on her goals. Janet began to flounder. Without her worries, she didn’t know how to motivate herself.

Finding your balance

Are you honoring your motivation style? Most of us are not a pure toward or away-from. We are a mixture of the two.

Take a look at an area of your life where you are really motivated. Assign a percentage to each direction. For example, are you 70% away-from and 30% toward? You can use this information to help you stay motivated.

Jeff and Janet could improve their motivation if they spent some time each day honoring their personal style. Could this help you?

If you are still stuck…

Sometimes there are deeper issues keeping you stuck. If you have explored your motivation direction and you are still stuck, you may have limiting beliefs or negative emotions that block your success.

The poetry of emotion process can help.

To read more…
(Image: Heidi @ Flickr

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