If you are a business leader or entrepreneur, you have chosen the path less traveled. What is it that drove you to take the hard road? Many people that I coach come to me because they no longer know why they are working so hard, or what they are even working for.
Their worth has become intertwined with the size of their bank account or pace of their business. They are working harder and faster and are burning out in the process. They can no longer tell me why they even want to have the business they created. The idea of living a fulfilled life is right next to winning the lottery.
Tony Robbins teaches that there are 6 fundamental human needs. These are the needs that drive us to build our business even when those businesses are consuming our lives. 4 of the needs can drag us down, while 2 can propel us forward.
As leaders, we can change the trajectory of our careers if we understand how each of these needs drives the decisions we make.
Need 1: Certainty
The first human need is for certainty. It is our need for stability, safety, and comfort. It is our need to know what is going to happen next.
This is a basic survival mechanism. If you create certainty in your life, you stand to experience less pain and discomfort. This applies to your career, your family, your investments.
When you invest money, you have probably been asked how “risk averse” you are. The more certainty you need, the less you are willing to put on the line for potentially large returns. If you are willing to sacrifice certainty, you stand to reap higher rewards.
Many business leaders and entrepreneurs have a higher tolerance for risk and are willing to put more on the line for potential success. It is important for leaders to be aware of this trait. Those risks trickle down and impact our families and our teams. You must understand that the people you are surrounded by likely have a higher need for certainty than you, and they need this to be reflected in their environment.
Need 2: Uncertainty/Variety
This is the human need for stimulus and change. As a leader, you likely seek this out by looking for the next challenge or adventure. You are a problem solver and an action taker. The uncertainty in your life has built character and strength.
Do you constantly seek the next problem to solve? Are you bringing other people into your challenges? A leader has the power to place other people in positions they would much rather not be in. Sometimes this is a necessary part of life and leadership. Sometimes it is simply you looking for the next thrill.
Need 3: Significance
For a leader, the need to feel special and worthy of attention can be a vicious trap. If your business has been successful, you likely draw significance from the money you have earned or the size of your company.
On the flip side, people can gain significance by the size of their struggles. “I have to work 70+ hours every week…”
These drivers of significance and self-worth can easily shift the focus (and our time) off important aspects of our lives such as family, health, and spirituality.
Need 4: Love & Connection
Love and connection are what we all want and need. It lets us feel connected and that we belong. When we have love, we feel alive and we thrive. When we lack love, it can be suffocating. We are driven to find a connection in our relationships, in our spirituality and even in our hobbies and activities.
As a leader, it is easy to let our need for connection drive us to areas that are not truly important.
The Two that Stand Apart
The first four needs are universal. Everyone has them, and everyone finds ways to meet them. They drive us to work, to create, to build. The are the most basic needs of personality.
As a leader, nurturing these needs is often self-fulfilling and can easily be damaging to our families and our teams. They push us to achieve selfish goals and elevate our own accomplishments. They isolate us from the people we have been charged to lead.
There are two more needs that stand apart. These are not needs that everyone has. These are the two needs that, when met, provide true fulfillment and help us strengthen our families and teams. They create the characteristics of leadership that drives true success.
Need 5: Growth
This is the need to learn and expand your abilities. In business, if you are not moving forward you are moving back. As a leader, you understand this. Your need for growth is what drives you to build your company and better your family.
The need for growth is not dependent on the need for money or success. It is not dependent on a bigger house or your position in the community. The need for growth is driven purely by the desire to be a better person and create a better organization.
Leaders that can leverage their need for growth have a huge potential to create thriving teams and highly successful organizations. They are the people that leave a legacy in this world.
Need 6: Contribution
If you have mastered #5, your growth has lead you to a unique place. You have build value and are ready to give back. Contribution is the need to give to others and expect nothing in return.
We all know that money doesn’t buy fulfillment. As cliche as it is, there is a profound truth in that statement. In every area of our lives, from finances to relationships, the amount we are able to give to others is the biggest measure of our success.
A leader that is driven to contribute is a leader worth following. They will have employees that are loyal and profitable. They will have thriving families. They will be building a lasting legacy.
Along with the need to grow, the need to contribute is an outward facing need. It makes your life about others rather than about yourself.
Wrapping it Up
By better understanding the human needs that drive your decisions, you have the ability to leverage those needs for positive gain.
As a leader, you have great influence on the people around you. The things that drive you can pull those people down, or build those people up. If you take advantage of your need for Growth and your need for Contribution, you will be positioned for huge success and fulfillment in your life.