Image Description

Your Values, Needs, Motivators

Lesson 5 on "Connecting the many pieces of the puzzle of you" is about your values, needs, and motivators. Research studies affirm that people do their best in life by what they are motivated to do. It's difficult to know what truly motivates you unless you have clarity about what you value. And, it's even more difficult to know what you value if you haven't figured out yet what you need most in life.

Unexamined needs, values, and motivators have conscious or unconscious power over - get this - the decisions you make and the actions you take. You are operating as an automatic pilot. Now, autopilot is great for word processing and digesting your food. It isn't the best thing when making life choices. You literally act without thinking. When on autopilot, you are unaware of what you need, what you want, and what motivates you to do what you do.

In a way, life is like basic economics. Most folks have limits on how much time, money, and energy they can spend on anything. Knowing what you need and value defines what truly motivates and drives you.

These concepts are simple, yet they're not that easy to bring to light! Congratulate yourself as you take the time to think it through. It is so worth it!

Because needs, values, and motivators are all interconnected, understanding one concept helps you to know more about the other two.

Needs, Wants and Shoulds differ from each other. A major difference exists between what you need for survival in life, and what you want because it makes life better. And, there's even more difference, when you layer on your shoulds.

You absolutely need food and water. Needs are what is necessary to sustain life - those things that are fundamental to survival. You are pretty much aware that your body requires water and food, sleep, air, and protection from the elements.

However, you may want a pizza and a cold drink to satisfy that need. Obviously, something different than pizza and a cold drink could take care of your sustenance needs.

Wants have more to do with enriching your life. You may have a strong craving for something, but it is not essential for your well-being. Additionally, you can factor in when you want what you want to provide even more depth.

Shoulds are what you think you ought to have or ought to do. When you govern your life by shoulds, you are shifting responsibility from yourself to someone or something else. The biggest problem with being should upon, is you no longer take personal ownership for whatever it is you should do.

Estimate where you invest most of your time, money, and energy at this stage in your life. Is it on your needs, wants, or your shoulds?

Humans operate out of unmet needs according to the psychologist, Abraham Maslow who lays the foundation for motivational theory in a 5-step psychological hierarchy of needs. The needs at each level usually have to be satisfied before a person can bring his or her attention to the needs of the next step in this hierarchy.

Psychological needs, however, do not follow rigid or predictable patterns. It's personal. It's about your culture, circumstances, and events that are unique to you as an individual and what motivates you to act.

Think of Maslow's hierarchy as a pyramid that you move up starting at the first level. The first level is about meeting your most basic physiological needs. People are anxious if their biological or survival needs for food, water, air, elimination, sex, and sleep are not met. Some of these needs are necessary to sustain life.

These things happen, however, at different levels for different people. There are individuals who are happy and have good relationships even when they have very little of what many folks believe are their most basic needs that have to be met. The levels have levels depending on who you are as an individual and what you believe you need.

The second level is about safety and security. It includes anything from your family and property being protected from having a healthy body and shelter from the elements.

Safety includes everything from laws that protect you and those you love, to having adequate shelter from harsh or dangerous elements.

Security needs range from living in an orderly and predictable world where you can count on people stopping at red lights, to having satisfying employment that allows you to purchase or grow your food.

This takes us to the third level. This is as you move up the hierarchy is about love and belonging and includes your very unique requirements for family, friendship, affection, relationships, intimacy and, being part of any kind of a group, whether at work, as a family member, in your community, or within a cause, a religion, or political party you believe in.

Individuals have different levels for the amount of love and belonging they want or require any other of those needs.

The fourth level is about self-esteem. It focuses on your reputation, your status, achievements, and taking responsibility. It is all about being respected and having respect for self and others.

The fifth level is about self-actualization. It's at the top of the needs pyramid. It's all about personal growth and fulfillment. Many of you may be at this level because it is the time you're focusing on your potential and seeking peak experiences. Remember to make sure the other levels are met.

Given that needs motivate you to act, and values are expressions or your needs and wants, it makes sense then if you know what you value, you'll know what motivates you to do what you do.

This is why you want to consider the value of values. They are your personal bottom line about what is important to you. Values are your individual beliefs that determine what is right or wrong and they influence how you feel, think, and act.

Values form the very foundation that defines your response to life. Everyone has values. It's just that some people are more aware than others about what is important to them and is a value to them. Some people have this more in their consciousness than others.

This is a way that you can check if your values are truly yours when you freely choose them, you carefully examine them, they are in sync and consistent with how you live your life.

You see, you broadcast your values either consciously or unconsciously by how you truly expand your time, money, and energy.

You can examine your spending patterns. Use whatever system you have that alerts you to where and when you need to be someplace like a calendar, and also how do you refer to how much cash or credit you have to spend. For most folks, it would be your checking account or credit card limits. Your goal is to become crystal clear about what you value, and the price you are literally willing to pay for your choices. Look at your calendar for how you spend your time and look at your credit cards for how you spend your money.

Having clarity about your needs, wants and shoulds, and understanding more about what you really care about and why you do what you do frees up your thinking as it relates to other pieces of the puzzle of you.

In the next lesson, you will explore your interests and unique factors; assess your formal and informal education; consider your exposures, experiences, how your natural resources work for or against you, and your developmental gaps.

Image Description
Written by

Sylvia Gaffney, PhD