Carrot or Stick?

What motivates you?  Is it the carrot or the stick?  Pleasure or pain?

This question was a big feature of my day yesterday.

In the morning, I worked with a great client who’s plugging away at creating order in her home and is making real progress.  For her, at first it was the pain of living surrounded by clutter which got her motivated to take action.  Then, as she has experienced some success it’s the pleasure that keeps her going.  In fact, she even told me she and her husband are sleeping more soundly.  Stick then carrot.

In the afternoon, I met with a very astute business coach in Brad Tonini.  Part of our conversation centred on my motivation in business, and he very quickly perceived that my main driver is pleasure, not pain.  Recognising this fact is key to goal-setting.  It’s pointless setting any kind of goal without first establishing the motivation.  Carrot.

Back at my desk, I received a letter from a happy Declutter Club member who had been achieving her goals and treating herself to her chosen rewards, and loving every minute.  Carrot.

Early evening and I met via Skype with my Brains Trust.  This monthly meeting really keeps me accountable, and I’m not the only one.  Each of us in the group sets monthly goals, which, if not achieved incur a self-imposed penalty.  Stick.

And finally, we received the welcome news that my son had passed a really tough subject last semester.  I watched him work hard last semester, often frustrated, and always long hours.  There certainly was pain involved in attaining this goal but his main motivation was the future pleasure of working in his chosen field.  Carrot.

So what is it for you?  Carrot or stick?

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