What Really Motivates You?

It is suggested that we process more than 2 million pieces of information every moment, consciously dealing with around 1% of this at any one time according to psychologist George Miller. The logical conscious mind recognises what we know we know and helps us make the decisions we do. The unconscious mind however is equally as powerful, working behind the scenes absorbing the remaining information thoughts, experiences and memories. Yet as it’s unconscious, it’s not obvious what it’s telling us, and conflicts can arise.  

I had the pleasure of working with a client, who I’m going to call Maud, who had recently become a self-employed consultant. Maud had been an employee yet believed that self-employment would give her and her family the flexibility and lifestyle they desired. She came to me to help her manage this transition.

Maud started her new career with a bang – securing client after client with ease. On paper, her job accurately met her career and lifestyle goals, yet something wasn’t quite right – her motivation was flailing but she couldn’t put her finger on why.    

We therefore started to examine Maud’s values - principles and standards which consciously and unconsciously drive behaviour.  Maud consciously listed family and flexibility as her top values, which made sense as these had triggered the career transition, and we discussed what she felt was important about these. Maud also listed fun and sociability but gave these values lower priority. However, by revisiting and prioritising her values during the sessions, it became apparent that it was more important than initially thought that she was in a sociable environment having fun. Working home alone, Maud found that she was bored, lonely and distracted and dipping in and out of her clients’ offices, without being part of any team, was isolating and demotivating.  We soon realised that although family and flexibility were key, social and fun values had been unconsciously far more significant than she initially thought, and as her current situation didn’t enable these values to be met, it had a detrimental impact on her motivation and business performance. 

Once it was identified that unconsciously, the fun and social values were key drivers, with relief, Maud could make sense of the situation. We could now start planning her next steps – which was to be back in an office working as part of a team. She is now an employee, working as a senior manager and loving what she does. With greater clarity, she has found a way to make childcare arrangements work for her and has the work life balance which is so important.  

If you need help understanding what really motivates you, contact me on info@carrot-coaching.co.uk to arrange a free consultation.  

Julie Greaves