What Moves Us to Take Action?

April 23, 2012
Tim Hallbom

What motivates you to move ahead? Or, do you prefer to wait and gather information from others before acting? When learning about what motivates us (or others) to take action, it is very helpful to determine the typically unconscious pattern or Meta Program that gets us to move ahead.

Action Level Pattern Proactive vs. Reactive

As always with Meta Programs, how we move into action will change depending on the situation we are in. Often in more familiar settings we may be more inclined to be proactive given there is a different level of safety. In another context, not knowing how the other people around us may operate, we might be much more reactive.

Proactive: You are the initiator. You jump into taking action, often with little consideration or time to think and analyze the situation. Having to wait can also be a big de-motivator. You are great at pushing projects ahead, yet may step on a few toes or ruffle some feathers in the meantime. -The most effective language to use with a proactive person for rapport is: “…Go for it” “make it happen…” “Get it done…”

Reactive: You want to wait and gather information from others actions before making a move. You prefer to analyze a situation and take action only after fully understanding it. You also do well in a job position where others come to you with questions or issues and you respond to their needs. Sometimes you may spend a lot of time waiting, considering others actions and analyzing them, frustrating those around you, and never getting started. -Language for rapport and understanding: “evaluate this…” “Take time to think about this and let me know…” might, could, ponder (from Coaching In the Workplace).

No matter what profession you are in, if you work with other people, Meta Programs can be very useful. Understanding which Meta Programs someone is operating out of (in a specific setting) will give you fast and effective insight into their preferred thinking style, indicating the best route for increased rapport and clear communication.

About the author 

Tim Hallbom

Director of NLPCA -- NLP and Coaching Institute of California

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  1. I can definitely see how one person could be both proactive and reactive depending on the situation and the issues they are presented with. I see that in myself at times, though I lean toward the more proactive side of things. As you mention in the “Reactive” section in your post, it can create a feeling of frustration when working with people on a different wave length than you are.

  2. This absolutely seems an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to mentor or teach anyone else, especially individually, as your methods can be targeted quite clearly to the person’s needs of communication and processing. It seems you could definitely stream line the whole process so it’s much more economical and quick.

  3. However anything motivates, I must say that, this is one of the great motivating blog post for us. And the MindSonar tool is more helpful in the field of success in our life. The mankind need something inspiring thoughts and we can get it easily from here.

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