“THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT DAYS IN YOUR LIFE ARE THE DAY YOU ARE BORN AND THE DAY YOU FIND OUT WHY.” -MARK TWAIN
WHY is a rather important question in our lives. Yet, we spend much of our time figuring out the WHAT's and the HOW's.
What is a pretty straight forward question to answer. What do you want to eat? What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? What are your plans? What do you need at this moment?
Subsequently, we then move onto HOW we can meet the demands of the WHAT answer. How do we get the food we want? How do we achieve that goal? How do we complete the tasks? How do we meet the needs of our family?
We can live our entire life answering the WHAT's and the HOW's, and on occasion, the WHO's and the WHERE's; but We hardly spend time on really unpacking the WHY's.
Why do I want to achieve this goal? Why is it important for me to complete this task? Why does making my family happy matter to me? Why get an education? Why get a job? Why exercise? We may have considered at some point about our WHY's. The usual answers that rise to the surface may reveal a basic need of ours, to ensure stability and security.
As we go through the seasons in our lives however, the focus of the WHY, the depth and layers of the WHY and where our TRUE WHY lies starts shifting and EMERGING.
WHY do we continue to go to work at a job we are unsatisfied with? Why are we living in a neighbourhood that is so far from work? Why do we not find the same excitement in our marriage? Why is retail therapy no longer satisfying? Why am I here? Why do some people ask these questions, while others are happy with the what's and how's? Why do I need what I need?
In Mark Twain's quote above, you can understand the phrase "the day you find out why" as the reason you are born, OR more likely, the purpose you find in your life that gives it meaning. That is to say, you figure out your very own WHY.
We are each built unique as a result of our genetics, life experiences and social influences, for brevity lets call this our conditioning. As humans we also have the same basic needs and drives within us all. These combined with our conditioning shapes our desires and motivations.
In Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, our basic physiological needs form the foundation of the pyramid. That is to say, without things like food, water, rest and shelter; everything else (except human connection) falls to the bottom of list. This is to ensure our survival. Then it moves on to safety needs such as either health, financial or other forms of stability one requires in life (political, social, community etc.)
Once our physiological and safety needs are met, we can then focus on our need for love and sense of belonging. Here our connectedness to a special someone, or a group satisfies a psychological need for social acceptance. The next psychological level above this is esteem. Here our accomplishments, titles, and all that we put into building ourselves is shown as proof of our worth and value (at least as we perceive it to be).
Finally, at the very top is our self-fulfillment needs of self actualisation where we feel a sense of having achieved our full potential and applying ourselves into creative endeavours. Beyond that, is a lesser discussed level called self transcendence where one then derives satisfaction from giving-back to attain satisfaction.
Another way to look at our core motivators is through Tony Robbin's 6 Human Drivers. Although he refers to these as "Needs" as well, for the purpose of discussion and ease in reference, let's call it "Drivers" here. Robbin's six drivers bear some parallels to Maslow's hierarchy, but also differs in other ways. Today's discussion is not about this comparison, but what each have to offer in terms of understanding our inner dimensions with greater clarity.
Although the drivers are listed in order in the picture above, how we function through them is not necessarily so. Some of us at our very CORE, require certainty in our lives, it's just how we make sense of the world and function in it. Other's actually thrive in uncertainty! The uncertainty gives them excitement and motivation to propel forward.
Some of us at our very core, gravitate towards connection and love, or perhaps significance; while others look for growth or contribution. It is one thing to know that we HAVE these needs/drivers, it is a whole other thing to achieve them in ways that are most beneficial in satisfying these needs.
We can have needs, and satisfy them in ways that may not actually FULFILL us. Rather, it may just be an unconscious way in which we slap a band-aid on an itch. Once we truly understand WHY we have the itch, we can device conducive behaviours that will DEEPLY satisfy us, whilst unlocking our true potential and discovering our purpose (WHY).
Again, between the six human drivers, it is quite possible that one may be our dominant psychological need that has been shaped through our conditioning. However, there are also other needs that can take precedence as the season's in our lives change. A significant life event or epiphany may suddenly change our worldview and have us re-evaluating our WHY.
In understanding our CORE, we become aware of the "unseen" inner dimensions that are at work within us, here in the present and those that have driven us in the past. These provide insights, learning and greater confidence in moving forward as we can navigate through our thoughts and emotions; understanding why we want what we want, and why our "needs" and "drivers" matter.
Only from here can we even meaningfully connect with where we want to go, who we want to become and what we wish to achieve over the next few months or years.
If someone is recovering from a serious illness, they may have a more immediate need for health and security that is important to achieve before they can consider what their potential is, how they can grow and apply themselves towards new projects, or to contribute to a community that could benefit from his/her inspiring experience.
We do at the very CORE have a drive to take care of what we truly need. It gives us great satisfaction upon achieving it. It may lead to other needs, or shift into another season of needs such as growth or to pursue exciting new adventures. Whatever the case, the journey to where we wish to go begins from a clear understanding of where we are now.
We don't have an MRI, PET or X-Ray that can scan and immediately reveal the CORE of a client. Their inner dimensions are unique. So with some powerful questions, deep dives, and an understanding of our human psychology, a coach can get to the CORE of the client. Looking at these human needs and drivers; and listening to a client's concerns, a coach can understand and honour where the client is at the point in their life and offer support accordingly, uncompromisingly and compassionately.
**Note: This blog entry is to meet Catalyst Coaching Certification course content of FLOW5 C.O.A.C.H Process on the Core module: "CLARIFYING YOUR CORE – NEEDS & DRIVERS"
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