I came across an old TED talk (old enough that the speaker, Tony Robbins, praised Lance Armstrong for his resourcefulness and determination) about our motivations. I was more excited about it when I read the title than I was when I finished watching it, but only because it didn't turn out to be what I expected it to be.
In short, Robbins boils down human motivation to six needs: certainty, uncertainty, significance, connection/love, growth, and contribution to something bigger than ourselves. He uses a lot of anecdotes, and consequently doesn't say much about how he developed that model, but what struck me is how his work is in some ways the reverse of mine.
Over Robbins's years of experience, he has developed his list of needs, and theorizes that they are the base-level motivators of all human behavior. He now works from the bottom up, determining how those six needs relate to specific experiences that people have, eventually producing behaviors which are either desired or undesired.
When I work with my clients, we start with thoughts, behaviors, and words, and dig down through a series of "why" questions to arrive at the beliefs they hold that cause them to do what they do.
Both of these paths are valid and interesting, and ultimately have different goals. Robbins works with his clients to help them make changes in their lives. I work with my clients to help them change the way they communicate about themselves and their organizations.
See the full video here. I would be interested to hear your thoughts about the differences between Robbins's and my philosophies. Thanks!