#4Steps: What’s driving you? (part 2)

#8. Step 3: What’s driving you?  (“How feelings connect to needs”)

Take a moment and think again about what happened.

What did you hear or see that you want to give feedback about (the observation – step one).

When you think about what you saw or what you heard, how do you feel (feelings- step two)?

Given how you’re feeling, what are you needing (step three)?

Choose two or three feeling words and two or three needs connected to those feelings. (Feel free to consult the lists for guidance again.)


photo credit: Nicholas Tonelli

For example, if someone has agreed to go on vacation three times with you and each time told you they had too much work to do, I imagine you’d be feeling disappointed, frustrated, angry, or hurt. And you’d probably be wanting some reassurance that you could trust agreements they make, and also perhaps wanting to trust that your needs, and the relationship, matter.

Did you hear the needs here? Reassurance, honoring agreements, and mattering. This is very different from saying, “You never follow through on your word!  And you clearly don’t care about me or spending time together!”  

Another key reason to connect with our needs is that doing so can help us to recalibrate and self-manage our response.

If you think back to what you saw or heard and how you were feeling when thinking about what happened, you might notice feelings that are uncomfortable in some way in your body. When our needs are not being met, we’re not happy.  Our bodies restrict and experience tightness or tension. Yet when we connect with our needs and imagine those needs met or fulfilled (the fulfillment of the needs, rather than the lack of them), we usually experience some relaxation or relief in our bodies. When we’re relaxed and our blood is flowing, it’s usually much easier to speak up in a way that’s effective.


photo credit: Chad Cooper

Now that you have an observation and are connected to what’s driving the feedback (your feelings and needs), you’re more than halfway there in giving effective feedback!

Tomorrow we will start focusing on requests so that people can be invited to respond in a concrete and tangible way to our experience and concerns.


For now, let’s take a moment for self-connection.

Thinking about what you’ve learned so far, what’s one thing that’s really standing out for you?

How are you feeling, thinking about what you’ve learned?

And what need has that met for you?  

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