Using the Things That Motivate Me

During my conversation with Todd Henry for the latest episode of the Better Me Podcast, we discussed his new book The Motivation Code. To get ready for the conversation, I completed The Motivation Code Assessment, which gave me some new insight into what motivates me.

According to the assessment, the top five motivators in my life (out of 27) are:

  1. Make the Grade – You are motivated to measure up to and gain acceptance into a group you want to be a member of
  2. Experience the Ideal – You are motivated to give concrete expression to concepts, visions, or values that are important to you
  3. Improve – You are happiest when you are using your abilities to make things better
  4. Meet the Challenge – Your sense of achievement comes from looking back over a challenge you have met or a test you have passed
  5. Influence Behaviour – You are motivated to gain a reaction or response from people that indicates you have influenced their thinking, feelings, and behavior

If you know me, you’ve probably been nodding your head and agreeing with these statements as you read them. Whether I like it or not, these are the things that motivate me. 

Todd explained in the podcast that the order these appear and the mix of the themes that make up my top motivators is important. You might have two or three of the same motivators, but the ones that are different can change how the ones that are the same manifest in your life.

I have clear ideas about the person I want to identify as, including being a role model for my daughter, living the values articulated in my manifesto, and consistently taking action to do both.  Am I happy with who I’ve been the past six months? No. 

I’ve been less than patient with my family. I’ve seriously slacked off on taking care of my physical health. I don’t think the person I am these days is a good role model. 

Todd and I talked about these and the things I do in my life that are clearly driven by these motivation themes. The work I do with open, this blog, and the podcast hit all five of these themes in some way. Being a role model for my daughter and a good partner to my wife do the same. Being healthy, fit, and energetic can be driven by at least three of these. 

In the book and the podcast, Todd recommends finding ways to use your motivations to get you acting on the outcomes you want. For example, he has Meet the Challenge as his top theme. He’s a prolific writer, but doesn’t enjoy writing. He uses that motivation theme to challenge himself to write 500 words every morning, which he does, and thus has six books out.

As I’m trying to (re)focus on being the person I see myself as and the person I want to be, I need to use what motivates me to get me on that track.  How? Here are some initial thoughts:

  1. Make the Grade – Spend more time connecting with people who do these things I should be doing to care for my health. 
  2. Experience the Ideal – Don’t just read my manifesto each morning. Score myself on how I did at the end of the day.
  3. Improve – Focus on improving my ability to show up for what matters in my life and for others when I think about skimping on how much I workout or make excuses for yet another unhealthy snack on any given day.
  4. Meet the Challenge – Set clear boundaries for myself around staying away from social media and challenge myself to stick to it
  5. Influence Behaviour – Regularly ask my wife and daughter how I’m doing with being patient and showing up for them

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