THE LAW OF THREE PART 3: MOTIVATION & FEAR

 

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Welcome to the last instalment of the "law of three". In part 1, we examined what the "law of three" is on a macro-logical level and looked at affirmation, denial, and reconciliation. In part 2, we drilled down into how this applies to business and the Self Concept. In this final part we will be looking at the way fear interacts with motivation! 

In Motivational Maps, we have a system we call RAG. It stands for Relationship, Achievement, and Growth. These are three clusters of motivators. There are nine motivators, in all, which are modelled off of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Edgar Schrein’s Career Anchors, and the Enneagram. And, obeying the “law of three”, they fall into three groups of three, representing their tendencies.

 

  • Relationship motivators deal with emotional / interpersonal needs: security (Defender), belonging (Friend), and recognition (Star)

 

  • Achievement motivators deal with professional or career-orientated needs: control (Director), financial or material gain (Builder), and skills and knowledge acquisition (Expert)

 

  • Growth motivators deal with personal development and the spiritual self: freedom and independence (Spirit), creativity and imagination (Creator), and making a difference / meaning (Searcher)

 

Relationship motivators are past-focused, and change-resistant. Achievement motivators are present-focused and change-ambivalent. Growth motivators are future-focused and change-friendly. It’s not good or bad to belong to any one of these groups, they merely reflect our internal drives that, if not met, may cause us to become demotivated.

 

How do they fit into the Self Concept model? Well, very simply.

 

  • Relationship

    • Past

    • Self Esteem

    • Feeling

 

  • Achievement

    • Present

    • Self Image

    • Thinking

 

 

  • Growth

    • Future

    • Ideal Self

    • Knowing

 

It should be noted that at this level, the Affirm, Deny, Reconcile model becomes more complex, because any one of these can Affirm, Deny, or Reconcile dependent on circumstances. For example, the Ideal Self may affirm a bright future, which is denied by past experience (Self Esteem) and then reconciled by present Self Image. These forces are constantly in motion. So, we must observe them in action. Clive Barker understood this when writing his fiction that his three “players” or characters could, at any given time, take on a different role. And, indeed they do. His Reconciler, Gentle, is at times the Denier. His Denier, the assassin Pie’oh’pah, becomes an Affirmer in many instances. So, in real life, do we switch roles dependent on context and circumstance.

 

There is one more level of overlay to complete this “law of three”. We have spoken about how the Self Concept not only works at an individual level, but an organisational one too. This is also true of RAG. Organisations will have an overall tendency toward Relationship motivators, Achievement motivators or Growth motivators, depending on the type of people they have employed. Theoretically, of course, certain types of job will attract certain types of motivator. But of course, there will also be a host of people in a job that is not an ideal fit for their motivators – or else, a more complex fit.

 

When we observe these organisation tendencies, this changes how we approach addressing the “hygiene factors” or self-care of the people involved. Due to RAG, every organisation will have a leaning towards a priority. This leads to another trinity: Values, Mission & Vision.

 

  • Relationship cluster organisations will prioritise values, because these are shared beliefs, and communal. This is what will drive them.

 

  • Achievement cluster organisations will prioritise the mission.

 

  • Growth cluster motivators will prioritise the vision.

 

Some people might ask whether there is a difference between a mission and a vision. The difference is subtle. A vision is a projected future, an ideal to strive towards, such as “to transform the way management is approached worldwide”. A mission is more concrete. It’s to sell ten-thousand units or to “impact a million people”. Consider how these differences might affect your organisation or clients, and how you might make different decisions based on understanding these deeper drives.

 

Finally, I want to talk about fear. Motivation and fear are intrisically linked. Motivation is a source of energy. We feed our motivation by meeting our motivational needs (and it’s worth re-iterating, that we all have all nine motivators, we simply have some we prioritise more than others). However, when we do not feed our motivators, that is when fear sets in. We can start to move away from things that de-motivate us rather than moving towards what motivates us. For example, if we have Spirit as our top motivator, which is the desire for independence, we begin to rebel against controlling people in our organisation, rather than quitting our job and striking out on our own. Or, choosing to influence the parts of our job we can control.

 

Decisions based on fear are never healthy. Yet, we see the majority of people are paralysed by fear. They cannot quit their jobs for fear of never finding another. They cannot create new things for fear they will be ridiculed. And so on. When every decision his made out of fear, we only deepen the quagmire into which we are sinking. It is only by breaking loose from the fear that we can seize our own destiny and become our true selves. Businesses make the same mistake. They move away from opportunities out of fear of risk, or, they recklessly take every opportunity, because they are scared of missing out on what their competitors might have.

 

Each motivational RAG cluster has a specific fear that is attached to it. Being aware of this fear will help you, at an individual, team, and organisational level, not to make decisions based on fear.

 

Relationship cluster motivators fear failure. It’s often said of Defender, Friend, and Star motivators that when they are demotivated or struggling they spend more time avoiding mistakes, covering their backs, than being productive. We see this in numerous organisations too, where bureaucratic covering (the endless sending of emails to verify who said what and who is accountable) takes up more of the daily routine than actually working.

 

Achievement cluster motivators fear people. Or rather, the ambiguity of people. This expresses itself in a number of ways. The Director motivator, for example, wants to control people, perhaps because it doesn’t like the thought of unpredictable behaviour, so it keeps people on lockdown. The Expert motivator, typified by the IT guru or “geek”, doesn’t like people because they are ambiguous. There are exceptions, of course, such as someone who perhaps has their expertise in the study of people (re: psychology), but even then don’t we observe an attempt to quantify the unknown? Finally, Builder motivators fear people because they are by nature the most competitive motivator. Who else is hot on their tail? Organisations that are Achievement cluster tend to neglect the people in their organisation because they do not understand them. The classic situation is that they offer bonuses and financial perks which only serve to demotivate people further. Strange, but true!

 

Growth cluster motivators fear stopping. To stand still is death to the Growth motivators. They are constantly driving forward (with their future orientation), trying to create new things and broaden their horizons. As a result, the past – and retrogression – scares them. We see organisations like this too, where all their products are rushed to market, where they are endlessly updating their software or offerings, because they simply cannot sit still and regroup.

 

So, let’s recap on the many levels of the “law of three”:

 

  • Relationship

    • Past

    • Self Esteem

    • Feeling

    • Values driven

    • Fear failure

 

  • Achievement

    • Present

    • Self Image

    • Thinking

    • Mission driven

    • Fear people

 

 

  • Growth

    • Future

    • Ideal Self

    • Knowing

    • Vision driven

    • Fear stopping

 

There are many more aspects to the “law of three”, and have no doubt that members of the Maps community will continue to expand upon this model, but hopefully this has given you some insight into the secret law of the universe, and how to use it to navigate the complexity of dealing with people and teams.

For more information on RAG, Self Concept, motivation and leadership, check out James Sale's book series Mapping Motivation

 


THE LAW OF THREE PART 2: THE SELF CONCEPT

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Last week, we introduced the "law of three". Now we have this groundwork, how can we more effectively use the “law of three” when it comes to leadership, management, coaching, and business? We might start by examining the “law of three” in action when we view the Self Concept. The Self Concept is divided into three constituent parts:

 

  • Self Esteem (affirmation) which is how we feel about ourselves.

  • Self Image (denial) which is what we think about ourselves (and this is most-often very far from reality, hence a “denial”)

  • Ideal Self (reconciliation) which is how imagine ourselves in the future, and hence a reconciliation point for the dispirit Self Esteem and Self Image.

 

So, straight away, we can see where conflicts and tensions might arise for individuals (and even teams and organisations – but more on that later) when we view this tripartite model. Most people think they “know themselves”, but actually, this is not true. Most people have a blind spot when it comes to themselves (the doctor cannot heal his/her own ailment), and hence their Self Image, or conscious idea of themselves, is at odds with how they really feel about themselves (Esteem).

 

Our inability to see ourselves as we see others is the reason why we have so many self-help books, personality profilers, psychometrics and diagnostics, and a tendency to over-identify with groups and movements – all to form a sense of identity. Walter Pater, a 19th Century English essayist and art critic, once said: “The first step towards seeing one's object as it really is, is to know one's own impression, to discriminate it, to realise it distinctly. What is this song or picture, this engaging personality in life or in a book, to me?”

 

One classic example of conflicted Self Concept is that of the depressive comedian. There are two very different selves here. One is garrulous, funny, confident, and can project this in abundance to an audience. The other hates themselves. We are all the depressive comedian to some extent. We have an idea of ourselves that is artificially constructed to preserve our sanity, because if we give in to the nagging force of the unconscious, the feeling state, we might well self-immolate.

 

The resolution to this is the Ideal Self, the Self that we project into the future. Maybe we can improve ourselves through x and y steps, so we feel better about ourselves, and more accurately reflect our Self Image. This is the fundamental basics of coaching: helping people to take steps toward their Ideal Self. It is also, however, part of working with teams and organisations. Every team and organisation also has a Self Concept. There is a Self Image, or in other words, what the company thinks it is – the content of which is often marketed on websites, social media, and promotional advertising. This is also often reflected in the “core values” that companies like to state (but rarely adhere to). This leads on to the Self Esteem, what the people in the organisation actually feel the company is. Often, it is completely out of whack with the Self Image. For example, the company states a core value as “caring for every employee”, but then proceeds to treat them awfully. Finally, we have the Ideal Self: where the organisation wants to be in five or ten or even twenty years’ time.

 

To go back to basics, we can see there is also a time correspondence with these three concepts. Self Esteem, for example, is rooted in the past. It is how we feel about ourselves, which is often tied to past experiences. The Self Image, on the other hand, is rooted in the present. It is how we have constructed our identity based on thinking. The Ideal Self, of course, is rooted in the future. As you can see, they also correspond with think, feel, know. We feel Self Esteem. We think Self Image. And we know, with gut-intelligence instinct, our Ideal Self. By understanding the interactions of these three forces, we can better get to the root of the problem.

Stay tuned for the final part, part 3, next week! 

 


THE LAW OF THREE: PART 1 - AN INTRODUCTION TO OUR WEIRD UNIVERSE

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The universe is founded upon a profound “law of three”. We observe it in almost everything. For example, scientifically, there are three dimensions of space: height, width, and depth. There are three types of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. We might also view another trinity of reality: matter, space, and time.

 

Mythologically, we observe the law of three as well. There were three primary gods in Greek mythology: Hades, Lord of the Underworld, Zeus, Lord of the Heavens, and Poseidon, Lord of the Sea. In Catholic Christian theology, we understand God as a trinity: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even in the East, where religious practices and traditions seem radically different, we observe the law of three. There are three primary gods in Indian Hinduism: Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. I could go on!

 

Philosophically, the law of three is present again. Human beings, for example, are said to have a mind, body, and a soul; three composite parts that create the complex whole. We might even be bold enough to then link this back to the scientific dimensions. For example, the human brain has three primary divisions: amygdala or “reptile brain” that governs basic functions and fight or flight, the mammalian brain which governs emotions, and the neo-cortex, which governs our reasoning and critical-thinking skills. This correlates, in respective order, to gut instinct, heart, and head-based decision making.

 

This is more than mere strange coincidence. These three principles, or “forces” as I like to view them, run through all matter and living things. To understand these three forces, what they mean, and how to harness has become a mission of mine, and I want to share some of that understanding with you.

 

Firstly, the three forces – whatever their incarnation – may be summed up as follows:

 

  • The Affirmer (the creator, the life-giver, the instigator)

  • The Denier (the destroyer, the life-taker, the reactor)

  • The Reconciler (the resolver, the bridge, the completer)

 

These three forces are always at work, moving. They remain in constant flux and balance, almost at a stalemate. Let’s look at a mythological example and then a scientific one to illustrate this. Zeus is the creator, who represents solid matter. He is constantly in conflict with his brother, Hades, who is the Lord of the Dead, spirits that represent gaseous matter. The two are often at loggerheads, but they are sometimes reconciled by their third brother, Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, who represents liquid matter. As a side note, liquid is often a lubricant between the lands of the living and the dead in mythology across the globe.

 

Now, how might this translate scientifically? The universe is composed of space. This space is not infinite, but beyond comprehension and, even more bizarrely, ever expanding. This expansion however is inhibited by the matter that resides within this space. The forces of the universe are tethered by physical existence. The reconciler, here, is time. Time allows things to move, and to become. Otherwise, matter and space would simply tear the universe apart in an instant. Time, however, equalises and reconciles the two into what we know as existence. The universe is expanding, matter moves within it, and all of this takes place across stretches of time dizzying to comprehend.

 

It’s worth me noting that the great British author Clive Barker wrote the following in the opening of his epic fantasy novel Imajica (1991): “...in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players. Between warring kings, a peacemaker; between adoring spouses, a seducer, or a child. Between twins, the spirit of the womb. Between lovers, Death. Great numbers might drift through the drama, of course – thousands in fact – but they could only ever be phantoms, agents or, on rare occasions, reflections of the three real and self-willed beings who stood at the centre.”

 

I think this perfectly summarises the “law of three” because, as he rightly observes, the law of three is not just present at a cosmic level, but a microscopic level too, and a personal human-relationship level. It is not just in the division of reality, but also in our daily lives. That is the weird “blueprint” of the universe.

 

We say “three is the magic number”, but we don’t know just how true that is.

Stay tuned for part 2 next week! 

 


Interview with a BP #5: Mark Terrell

As with every business decision, be clear on where it fits in and have a vision of where you want to take it. Anything worth doing needs commitment and belief for when you’re not making progress as fast as you’d hoped.”

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Mark Terrell is our fifth, revealing the secrets of life as a BP and the incredible difference they make in the Maps community and beyond. 

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INTRO

Mark is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner, leadership coach and trainer, and creator of The Reluctant Leader. The Reluctant Leader is designed to help those people who, through no fault of their own, are feeling out of their depth in a leadership role. There are three areas that he focuses on: the mindset, the process, and the skills people need to become a Liberated Leader. Don’t miss The Reluctant Leader Podcast for oodles of free advice, mini courses to complete, and the application to join The Reluctant Leader Mastermind which opens 3 times per year.

TOP MOTIVATOR: CREATOR

HR Creator

Mark began his journey with Maps after selling his retail business. Mark has a high Creator motivator, which is partly why pursuing a different avenue to the “psychometric route” appealed to him. This is really significant, because most people don’t realise just how different the Maps are to a psychometric test. Psychometrics are prescriptive and deal in behaviours, whereas Maps look at the inner drives. Our inner drives may determine certain behaviours, but they go deeper than that, offering more profound insight into what is really going on, and why people do what they do. In addition, unlike psychometrics which stereotype us based on behaviours, allowing for discriminatory use (for example “You’re not a completer-finisher, so we won’t hire you”), the nine motivators are all equal and serve different functions.

 

Speaking of inner drives, Mark’s Creator has driven him to progress quickly with the Maps: “I realised I didn’t want to just use Maps, I wanted to spread the word where I saw opportunities for Recruiters, Coaches, and Trainers to offer something different.” From having become a Licensed Practitioner, he soon wanted to step up to becoming a BP: “A year later I took the next leap to become a Business Practitioner and started to grow my team of mappers to spread the word and make a bigger difference in the world. Seeing others harness the power of Motivational Maps in their work adds an exciting dimension to my business mission.”

 

Mark is also influenced the Expert motivator: “I learn as much from my Licensed Practitioner team as they do from me. As a high Expert I like to spread my knowledge to others but also like to learn from others.” This two-way street is absolutely critical for a healthy Business Practitioner-Licensee relationship, especially where Experts are involved! In fact, this may well be applicable more broadly to any manager-employee relationship. If managers believe they cannot learn anything from their staff, then no wonder staff feel frustrated, and organisations keep making the same mistakes.

 

Every time I train a new Practitioner I know that it will help them make a bigger difference to their clients and open up opportunities only Maps can. Growing my Practitioner network gives an added dimension to my business, it's like what they say: 'If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together'.”

 

What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.