Motivators are energy that drives us to do things. They are closely linked to values. Values describe how we want to behave and what matters to us, and they are a strong motivator. Motivators are an unconscious thing that resides in us and develops through self-concept, beliefs, expectations and personality. By consciously discovering and using them, we are empowered to know ourselves better and choose the path forwards.

Sale and Moynan group the motivators into nine categories. When examining values, there are endless possibilities, but by grouping the motivators into nine categories provides a framework that can help us understand ourselves and what motivates us better. No categorisation like this is perfect, it is just a framework to help us understand.


The nine are further grouped into relationship motivators, achievement motivators, and growth motivators. These describe how risk / change averse or receptive we are, how we make decisions, and how we learn.

There is no right or wrong motivator, they are all equal. By providing us with a framework to understand what motivates us, we are in a better position to know ourselves, and consciously choose what we do. All of us have all nine to a degree, but usually a few predominate. It is also useful to know what doesn't motivate us, as we all what does!


Interestingly, understanding motivators also give as clue to how interpersonal conflict might arise. If my actions are motivated by one thing but yours by another, we might end up in conflict because we both have equally valid motivators, albeit ones that might clash. A typical example might be money versus meaning. Of course, the conflict isn't inevitable, if we use our emotional intelligence to recognise that the other persons motivators are different to ours, and they have a right to theirs as I have a right to mine.

What motivates you?