There are many approaches to human motivation. One model highlights the drives towards health, hope and happiness.
Imagine you are facilitating a coaching session and a person wants to focus on these areas. There are many models and tools you can use. Let’s explore some of them.
People want to continue feeling physically and psychologically healthy.
Unless you are medically qualified, it can be tricky to focus on a person’s physical health. If wish, however, you can invite them to tackle the following exercise.
Bearing in mind the person’s age and time in life, it invites them to do two things:
* To rate their physical health. They can do this on a scale 0 – 10.
* To describe the specific things they can do to maintain or improve this rating.
If the person wants to explore this topic further, you can ask some of the following strengths based questions. (Again, it is vital to explain that you are not offering any medical advice or opinions.)
“What are your goals regarding your energy and physical health? When have you felt most healthy? What were you doing right then? What was the amount of sleep you were getting, the food you were eating and the exercise you were doing?
“What do you want to do regarding your physical health? How can you get some early successes? What will be the benefits of doing these things?”
People want to feel hopeful. They want to feel in control and able to shape their futures.
This calls for having a positive attitude, but also ‘controlling the controllables’. Positive people build on what they can control, rather than become paralysed about what they can’t control.
This has implications regarding a having sense of hope. You may feel hopeful about shaping your own future, for example, but concerned about the future of the planet. Being positive, however, you will focus on how you can help your loved ones and future generations.
For the purpose of this exercise, we are exploring:
The extent to which a person feels hopeful about shaping their own future.
If appropriate, at some point it can be useful to explore how they can do their best to help future generations.
C.R. Snyder enabled many people to develop a sense of hope. His book The Psychology of Hope explored two aspects concerning people’s ability to shape their futures. This focused on:
* Will Power.
A person’s will to shape their future.
* Way Power.
A person’s ability to see ways to shape their future.
Bearing these factors in mind, you can invite the person to tackle the following exercise. This invites them to do two things:
* To rate their sense of hope – their feeling about their ability to shape their future in a positive way. They can do this on a scale 0 – 10.
* To describe the specific things they can do to maintain or improve the rating.
If appropriate, you can then use some of the following questions regarding their sense of hope.
“When have you felt most hopeful in your life? What were you doing right then? How can you follow these principles again in the future?
“Let’s focus on controlling the controllables. What are the things you can control in your life and work? What are the things you can’t control? How can you build on what you can control and manage what you can’t?
“Bearing in mind the ‘will’ and the ‘way’, let’s explore things how you can develop each of these factors.
“What are your long-term goals in life? Imagine you are 80 years old and looking back on your life. What is your picture of success? What are the things you want to have done by then that for you will mean you have had a successful life?
“Looking at those long-term goals, what are the three key things you can do to give yourself the greatest chance of success? How can you take steps towards these goals?
“If appropriate, let’s explore some of the challenges you face. If it fits, we can use the 3C model for finding creative solutions to challenges. We can go through the following steps that focus on Clarity, Creativity and Concrete Results.”
If appropriate, you can then invite the person to work through one specific challenge by using this approach. Done properly, this can enable a person to develop their options.
People who expand their repertoires can find more ways to achieve their goals. This can increase their sense of hope.
People want to be happy. But happiness means different things to different people. Bearing this in mind, invite the person to tackle the following exercise. This asks them to do two things.
* To rate their sense of happiness. They can do this on a scale 0 – 10.
* To describe the specific things they can do to maintain or improve the rating.
If appropriate, invite the person to describe the steps they can take to maintain or improve their happiness. If they want to explore further, you can ask them some of the following questions.
“What is your picture of happiness? What would you be doing, thinking and feeling?
“When have been the times you have felt most happy? What were you doing right then? How can you follow these principles again in the future?
“When have you felt fully alive? When have you felt most creative? What are the kinds of activities in which you gain a sense of fulfilment?”
“Would you like to do any more of these things in the future? If so, how can you take these steps? What will be the benefits?”
People Who Are Happy
As mentioned earlier, happiness means different things to different people. During the past twenty years or so there have been many studies of happiness. These have also highlighted the characteristics of people who are happy. Such people often show some of the following qualities.
They enjoy and appreciate life. They count their blessings, rather than their burdens.
They have a positive attitude. They spend time with encouraging people and do things that give them energy.
They are also positive realists. Far from being in denial, they are able to quickly read reality. They then focus on what they can control in the situation.
* Kindred Spirits.
They have enriching relationships. They spend time with their loved ones and others with whom they share similar values.
* Savouring The Moment.
They enjoy the moment, sometimes with all five senses. They also simplify their lives in order to give themselves the opportunity to savour these moments.
They get lots of stimulation. They continue to learn, be creative and do things where they enjoy a sense of flow. Movement and exercise stimulates their brain. They also get enough sleep. This allows them to feel on top of their game when it matters.
* Personal Compass – Something to Serve.
They have a personal compass – a philosophy that guides their actions. This may be a personal set of values, a spiritual faith, a vocation or whatever.
Such people enjoy contributing to something greater than themselves. This may mean pursuing a particular life-philosophy, but it can also mean taking part in a stimulating project.
They are kind and generous. They love to encourage other people and enable them to succeed.
Such people often embody the qualities described by Erik Erikson in his view of The Generative Age. This is the stage of life when people nurture future generations and leave a positive legacy. Some people demonstrate these qualities all their lives. They also find this increases their own happiness.
There are many models for working with people. One approach is to enable them to focus on their health, hope and happiness.
There are many books on physical health. Similarly, many authors have views on psychological health.
One approach that combines both elements is described in the work of Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. A good introduction is their book The Power of Full Engagement. This describes how to manage your energy to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
C.R. Snyder’s book The Psychology of Hope is a superb introduction to the subject. He outlines how people can develop hope in their lives and work.
There are now many books on the scientific study of happiness. These include Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness and Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier.
A good starting point is Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness.