Get the Best out of You and your People. Our Intrinsic Desires and How they Motivate Us.
For the last 8 years in my work as a Coach, I have worked with hundreds of clients identifying their needs and values.
This process of discovery is a powerful one because it supports us in understanding why we do the things we do. Most of us are unconscious of our motives and deep desires, or we do not have clear distinctions about how they play out in our life.
When we are unconscious of them, they drive us. This causes us to react to events and circumstances on autopilot. Also known as a knee jerk reaction or poor emotional intelligence.
When we are conscious of our desires and motives, we get to choose how we respond. We can also make sure we have our desires met, and therefore create less likelihood that we will react inappropriately.
Let me give you a real life example. One of my intrinsic desires is power. Power in this context means authority, leadership, success and achievement. Several years ago I was in a work situation where I went from being my own boss for the 15 years prior to this position, to being in a situation where I was micromanaged. While I wasnt completely unconscious of my intrinsic desire for power, I didnt have complete clarity around this, and so for about 18 months I suffered this situation, rationalising that there was something wrong with me, and that I had to learn how to work with people. In truth, my intrinsic desire for power was not being met, and until it was met, I would never have been happy in that situation. While it was a miserable experience on one level, on another level I did get to understand myself and the kind of environment that allows me to thrive.
Research has shown that there are about 16 intrinsic desires that we all have in common. However, each of us has a hierarchy of how these desires are important in our lives. Research also shows that these desires are in place in our early childhood, and that for the most part, they remain with us for our entire lives. Only the degree to which they cause us to react or respond will change as we do become more aware of them and reach a higher level of maturity in their application.
When I work with clients on these intrinsic desires, I liken them to our nonnegotiable needs for air, food and water. Our intrinsic desires are also non-negotiable. We will not die if we do not get them met, however, life will be miserable, and we will have zero to low motivation.
Our intrinsic desires are also end goals. We move towards them for no other reason than we find pleasure in doing so.
I will seek achievement/leadership/authority on my own, no matter what. However, you may see me doing something as a means to an end. For example, you may see me go running regularly. Do I do this for physical exercise as an end goal, or is running a means to an end called achievement?
A value however will influence your choices about where to invest your energy. They are not necessarily the same as my intrinsic desires or needs. If I value achievement, but it is not an intrinsic desire, I may or may not achieve to a higher level. If it is an intrinsic desire, I simply have achievement embedded into my internal architecture, and I will find ways to achieve, naturally. When I do achieve I will feel an immense sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
Meeting our intrinsic desires does feed us. We feel better when they are met.
Values usually exist at the conscious level, intrinsic desires are often unconscious. Values may change over time, with life conditions. Intrinsic desires are unlikely to change although they can mature.
Our intrinsic desires will predict our behaviour. Put someone with a high intrinsic desire for order into a messy environment, and unless they can clean things up and create order, they will become very unhappy/snappy people.
The 16 intrinsic desires that have to date been identified are as follows, and in no particular order.
When we get our intrinsic desires met to the degree that they are important to us, then we feel fulfilled, happy, and our life has meaning. This is in distinction to short term happiness we get from having a nice meal, or going shopping.
When our environment supports our intrinsic desire, we thrive. Our work will be better, we will be happy and motivated and engaged.
Many of my clients ask me how they can motivate their staff. The sure fire way to do this is to meet their individual intrinsic desires. Sounds hard, especially if you have a large staff. It requires us as leaders to be aware of our people at a deeper level, and to support their intrinsic desires. In simple terms, it is leveraging and supporting the uniqueness of our people. The Reiss Profile allows us to determine the intrinsic desires or motives for people very quickly, so we can support them to thrive. It also allows us to look at whom we have on our team. For example, one of my clients had his team take the Reiss Profile and discovered that his team was heavily weighted towards social and people desires, with only one team member showing either leadership, or independence, and one showing a high competitive streak. He needs more staff to want to step up to leadership positions, and to expressive their natural competitiveness in the market place.
Lets look at an example.
A person with a high need for power, curiosity, order, status and physical activity and a low need for acceptance, saving, social contact, family and tranquillity.
This person will seek authority and leadership roles, particularly ones that have status attached to them. They will be constantly seeking to learn, and will operate from a much more theoretical base than an experiential one. They will become extremely dysfunctional if there is too much chaos and disorder. They have little regard for what people think of them, however, there is a little bit of conflict here because of their high status need. They want to be sure people know their rank in life. They live for today, with little regard for tomorrow from a financial point of view. They will be very detached when it comes to things, and people, discarding them easily. They are very happy on their own, and will not place family in front of their work, or their physical exercise. If they do not get their bodies moving, they will be miserable and de-motivated.
Their ideal work environment is one where they have authority, status, the ability to be constantly evolving, and where there is a high degree of order. They will most likely work alone, or if in a team, they will take a leadership role. Their low need for tranquillity means they will be happy taking risks and being out on the cutting edge.
When we look at their values (not able to be determined with accuracy from their intrinsic desires) this person declares they value mastery, integrity, learning, growth, intimacy, health.
You can see that some of the values are the same as the intrinsic desires, such as the learning/curiosity. Mastery could also be related to achievement. Health to physical exercise. Integrity may be a means to the ends of leadership, status, even order. But you couldnt predict this from the intrinsic desires. Nor could you predict the intimacy, which may be a means to the ends for curiosity, or even status. Or they could simply be values that this person finds important and as such will shape the choices they make in life.
The point is that their values are chosen and rechosen in their life, and informs their choices, while their intrinsic desires are part of their interior fabric, and shape their every behaviour.
Applications of knowing your Intrinsic Desires or Motives.
*Knowing thyself is the door to emotional intelligence, and stronger leadership.
*Creating environments that match our intrinsic desires moves us closer to deep and lasting fulfilment.
*Using our knowledge of our intrinsic desires when we do not feel fulfilled will accelerate the uncovering of the source of our unhappiness.
*Motivating and supporting people in our life will be far easier when we know their intrinsic desires.
*Working with relationships will improve when we understand and accept each others intrinsic desires. We will also be able to determine areas of conflict or disagreement.
*Considering career changes will be easier.
*Plus there are many more applications that will always result from increased self-awareness.
Who am I by Steven Reiss.
I am offering a free teleclass to explore this subject further. This class will be at the following time.
For North American participants. Monday 22nd August at 6 pm EST.
For Australian participants, Tuesday 23rd August at 8 am EST.
Please send an email to Christine@syzergy.biz with ~Reiss teleclass~ in the subject line if you are interested in attending this informative session and we will forward you details.
For those who would like to take the Reiss online profile, for the month of August there will be a special offer for $50US for the assessment only, and $175US for the assessment plus a 45-minute telephone debrief with me. (This is usually offered for the fee of $250US)
Email Christine@syzergy.biz with ~Reiss profile~ in the subject line and we will set it up for you.