The Power of Values

Do you sometimes struggle to get motivated to do something you know you need to do? Here's an exercise that might help:

  1. Think about something you want to or "should" be doing, but just can't bring yourself to do it.
  2. Ask yourself: 
    "What would motivate me to do it anyway?" 
    What do you see, hear, or feel that let's you know what is motivating?
  3. Now ask yourself: 
    "What would stop me from doing this in spite of this motivation?"
    What do you see, hear, or feel that let's you know what is stopping you?
  4. And finally ask: 
    "What's important enough that I would do it anyway, in spite of this barrier?"
    What do you see, hear, or feel that let's you know what is even more motivating?
  5. Keep asking questions 3 and 4 until you get to a high enough value that you feel motivated to get going.

This set of questions starts to reveal the "hierarchy of values" that influence your motivation. Here's an example using "cold calling."

  1. I hesitate to make phone calls to sell my products and services. (See yourself picking up the phone, calling, and speaking to prospects.)
  2. What would motivate me to do it anyway? "If I was hungry enough." (See bank account dwindling; spouse and kids going hungry.)
  3. What would stop me anyway? "Fear of rejection." (See frowning prospects speaking in harsh tones of voice.)
  4. What's important enough that I would do it anyway? "Benefits to the people using my products and services." (See smiling customers relaxing and enjoying using your product or service.)

Often just understanding what has been stopping you will loosen its grip and free you to get going anyway. These questions also connect you with the consequences of not doing what needs to be done (motivation to avoid consequences can be very powerful). And they connect you with higher values that motivate you to achieve your outcomes more effortlessly.

You can also ask these questions of your children, spouse, coworkers, and employees to discover what's holding them back and the values that will pull them forward. 

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