#4Steps: What’s driving you?

#7. Step 3: What’s driving you?  (“What needs were you attempting to meet”)

In the previous bit, we explored noticing how you’re feeling, and why it’s helpful and important to notice and share what you’re feeling in a neutral and responsible way, free of blame.

Another reason it’s helpful to notice what you’re feeling is because each feeling connects us to a need, the intrinsic motivation we spoke about on day two.

Our needs are life fuel. They motivate us, keep us going, and drive our decisions. We may not always like the choices we make, and at each moment we are doing the best we can to address and meet our needs.

Take a moment and consider:

What needs were you attempting to meet by signing up for this course?

Probably needs for learning, self-development, insight and maybe competency and support.  It’s the desire to meet these needs that led you to take action.

By sharing our needs with others, it can be very connecting and clarifying. Moreover, it gives a way to further share what matters to us in a way that’s free of blame or demand. It supports self-awareness, clarity, connection, and responsibility.


photo credit: James Campbell

First, let’s see how feelings connect to needs. Think back for a second about what you want to share (the observation – step one) and how you feel about what you saw or heard (feelings – step two).  Aware of what you’re feeling, what needs are up for you? Note how your feelings are like a sign, pointing to your needs.

So, for example, if you are confused, you probably are wanting understanding or clarity. If you’re frustrated or impatient, you might be wanting movement (forward) or hope. If angry, you might be wanting understanding or respect.

Take a moment now: notice how you’re feeling (if you like, review the list we used in the previous bit).

Then look below at the list of needs. What are you needing?  

  • Hope
  • Trust
  • Peace of mind
  • Confidence
  • Movement (forward)
  • Clarity
  • Shared reality
  • Understanding
  • Support
  • Responsiveness
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Confidence
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Peace
  • Harmony
  • Happiness
  • Balance
  • Mutuality

The above list is a partial list. If you like, you can download a more complete list here:  https://workcollaboratively.com/resources/learning-resources /

Note that our needs are very different from strategies. Often we can confuse the two.

For example, if you want to tell someone, “I need you to be quiet!” that is not actually a need. It’s an action. Your need is probably for peace, rest, silence, care or consideration.


photo credit: Meg Wills

Needs are universal, and can be met in many different ways. If you want quiet, you ask someone to turn the radio off or you can also move to a different room. Or you can use earplugs.

By sharing what you’re needing, free of strategy, you’re actually making it easier for your needs to be met. You’re letting the other person know what’s up for you and then, through a request (which we’ll explore in step four) you can explore together how to best see your needs (and their needs) met.

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