Unlocking Your Motivational Style: A Neuro-Linguistic Approach to Personal Success

Motivation propels us forward in life, forming the basis for our decisions, actions, and pursuit of success. It’s not just an internal drive but also a prism through which we perceive the world around us. Understanding your unique style of motivation empowers self-improvement, optimizing personal growth, and amplifying our capacity to influence others effectively. This fascinating realm where psychology intersects with neuro-linguistics introduces the influential theory of “away-from” and “towards” motivational personalities with unlocking your motivational style.

Theory of Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP)

A post with an NLP written on it

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) roots the theory in a transformative psychological approach. It involves examining successful individuals’ strategies and applying them to achieve personal goals. NLP acknowledges each individual’s unique way of garnering motivation, giving rise to the concept of “away-from” and “towards” personalities.

But what do these terms mean? Simply put, “away-from” and “towards” describe two primary ways individuals approach motivation. If you’re an “away-from” person, you’re primarily driven by the need to avoid undesirable outcomes or alleviate negative situations. Conversely, if you’re a “towards” person, your motivational drive focuses on achieving positive outcomes and rewards.

Now, let’s bring this theory to life with a few examples:

Imagine a scenario where you’re considering a significant career change:

The prospect of escaping a stressful work environment, avoiding a boss you don’t get along with, and no longer doing tasks that drain you could be your motivating factors.

Conversely, the thought of embarking on an exciting new career journey, learning new skills, meeting new people, and the potential for increased income and job satisfaction could drive your decision.

First Scenario

If the first scenario resonates with you more, you likely lean towards an “away-from” motivation style. If the second scenario seems more appealing, you are more of a “towards” person.

But how can we harness this understanding practically? Let’s consider a personal goal many of us share – maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re an “away-from” individual, the idea of avoiding health issues, reducing the risk of disease, or escaping low energy levels could be significant motivators in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You might find campaigns highlighting the risks of unhealthy eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle particularly compelling. Knowing this, you can tailor your health and fitness journey around these motivators – focus on the negative health consequences you’re avoiding by eating healthier and exercising regularly. This perspective can provide a powerful motivational boost when you’re finding it hard to stick to your healthy routine.

On the other hand, if you’re a “towards” individual, you’d be more motivated by envisioning the positive outcomes of a healthy lifestyle. You might be inspired by the thought of increased energy, improved mood, better physical fitness, and the self-confidence that comes with good health. As a “towards” person, to keep yourself motivated, you can regularly remind yourself of these positive outcomes. Create a vision board capturing these benefits or pen down your health goals and the positive impacts they’ll have on your life – use these tools to keep your motivation high.

In the professional world, this understanding can be a game-changer. If you’re a team leader, understanding your team members’ motivation style can help you guide them more effectively. For an “away-from” employee, emphasizing the negative outcomes of missing deadlines or producing substandard work can be a powerful motivator. Conversely, a “towards” employee might be more motivated by the potential for recognition, bonuses, or promotions.


In conclusion, understanding where you derive your motivation from and acknowledging that it might be different from others is a powerful tool. By using this understanding, you can create an environment – personal or professional – that harnesses these unique motivations, fostering personal growth and collective success. Understanding our “away-from” or “towards” personality isn’t just a path to self-improvement; it’s a key that unlocks a more profound understanding of human motivation and a powerful tool for influencing others. Embrace this knowledge, and steer your journey towards achieving your goals with renewed vigor and precision.

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