The motivations question
Why are you dropping out?
Janell’s life was going according to plan. Her dreams were coming true as Jeff had proposed and in short order, they married. The Nelsons felt that God was leading them into full time, vocational ministry. Janell had been a student at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, ND, but now with a child on the way, her plans did not include finishing her degree. What would be purpose? Jeff would have the education, and she would be the stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife she had dreamed of being.
A chance conversation with a professor was Janell’s One Question. When her teacher asked her future plans, Janell readily shared her plans to drop out. The forceful and blunt question was not the response this expecting mom was anticipating.
“Why are you dropping out?”
She was surprised. Why was she dropping out? Janelle realized she didn’t have a good answer to her One Question. This challenge caused her to reevaluate and instead of dropping out, Janell continued her education. In particular, she credits some of her psychology classes for helping her understand herself and others. According to her, her life was changed by the choice to continue.
“Who knows what kind of mom I would have been if I hadn’t had those classes?” Janell and Jeff went on to raise 4 children. All 4 have grown into healthy, mature adults. Janell attributes much of her success in parenting to some of the classes she took in psychology in college.
“Why” must be used very carefully as a question. Chris Voss says that rarely is a “why” question received as anything other than confrontational. The typical reaction is to give a defensive answer. The truth is usually far more complex. There are times we don’t have a good grasp of our own reasons behind why we do what we do.
Understanding motivations has long been the work of SIMA, a group that I did some of my training and pruduces the motivations.ai toolkit. I have used MCORE, TruMotivate and Trucenter in my coaching and training. Understanding the power of our true motivations helps us to avoid burnout. However, the opposite is true. You can move towards flourishing in life if we understand how to stay truly motivated. Simon Sinek got famous by delivering a speech on “Great Companies start with WHY.”
So why are you struggling? Why are you really doing what you are doing? If you can not honestly answer the question, you probably don’t understand your motivations and are limiting your opportunities when you don’t have to.
So find an MCODE practitioner. Sign up to take an assessment. And/or spend some time trying to get through your excuses to the WHY. You may find real gold.