business women

Understanding harnesses motivation and will help take your success to the next level

As women, we are motivated by a deep desire to help others succeed.

The research supports the idea that to succeed at something you must have a motive or a deep desire. While successful people may not always know what they are doing, they have a driving motive that is developed from an emotional state. They do not take “no” for an answer. When things get difficult, they push through and make things happen, negotiate or influence others as needed, and do not quit until they succeed at reaching their goal(s).

That is what motivation is all about. Motivation is regulated by a small region in the brain that controls the flow of neurotransmitters between the brain and different nerve cells in the body. This influences whether or not you have the desire to eat healthy, exercise, strive to achieve set goals etc. One of those neurotransmitters worth mentioning is dopamine This brain chemical plays a major role in triggering motivation and reward-motivated behavior. Dopamine also influences memory, cognition, sleep, and mood. Behavioral neuroscientists and psychologists say that dopamine helps bridge the gap between inaction and action.

Just as important as the hormonal and neurotransmitter factors that influence your motivation to succeed at something, are the social motives that drive behavior. Social motives are unique to humans, while physiological motives are present in both animals and human beings. They are called social motives because they are learned, and the strength of one type of social motive or another will vary from one individual to another, which explains why people are motivated to succeed differently.

The three main social motives are power, affiliation, and achievement. These social motives are what compel you to go after your goals. If you do not understand the strength of each of these social motives, you will not know how to influence your emotional state, and your progress may be slower, or perhaps you may not reach your goal at all. The more you understand the power of social motives and which is dominant for you, the greater the potential to learn how to harness motivation and take success to the next level. It is important to know that dopamine spikes whenever something goes better than expected – like feeling better than you expected after a tough workout or when you exceed a set goal. Unfortunately, your brain will get used to that feeling quickly and after a few experiences you come to expect the same “high”. Your dopamine levels will no longer spike quite as high and you will begin to feel less excited about difficult work tasks or different workouts, as examples. In order to keep your motivation high and dopamine spiking, you need to take on new challenges (in pursuit of new goals) every couple of weeks or so. As a fitness professional and trainer and business entrepreneur, I know that to keep motivation high, I need to switch up exercises weekly, and my class routines about every four weeks. Remember if nothing changes, nothing changes.

The three social motives:


People who are power motivated strive to exercise strong, influential action, generate strong emotions in others, and are concerned about reputation or position in the world. They seek positions of leadership, authority and status, and they are most often the leaders within their family, company and community. They make their life purpose to inspire others to achieve their best and to live a fulfilling life. This social motive is often called influence motivation.


People who are affiliation motivated strive to establish, maintain, and restore close relationships with others and they characterize group activities as social, friendly, and collaborative. The need for being connected with others, for working cohesively with others, while creating participation is key. They seek out and succeed in coaching, consulting, and managerial roles that require relationship building.


Achievement motivated people enjoy setting and achieving challenging goals, and they strive for innovative and unique accomplishments. They are very goal oriented and they perform best when they are given deadlines to achieve.

To get to know which social motive predominantly drives your performance, you need to first tap into your emotions to really see what drives your behavior. Then you need to take daily action to keep your emotional state and motivational drive revving high. Visualization is an effective way to tap in. Think about and visualize in your mind a situation in which you are at the centre of attention, such as when you are giving a presentation. Focus on everything—from what you are wearing, what the room looks like, and how many people are sitting in front of you in the audience. Then ask yourself “how do I feel?” If you have a positive emotional response to this situation and you feel confident and strong, that is a sign you are driven by power. If you feel comfortable or somewhat anxious you are motivated by affiliation or achievement. If you were imagining how you could network with the people in your audience, your motive is likely affiliation. If you are driven by achievement, you envisioned getting over your fear of public speaking or imagined a standing ovation following your presentation. Which motive did you relate to the most in this scenario?

To learn which of these three social motives drives you, I encourage you to take this quick 5-minute self-assessment that I created along with my co-authors, Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas and Tasha Hughes, for our book called Think YOURSELF™ Successful-The DNA System To Reprogram Your Brain & Wire Yourself For Success. It will provide you with more insight on this area of motivation as well as the self-assessment.

Some people dream of success while other people wake up every morning and make it happen”. Wayne Huizenga

Once you have tapped into your primary social motive, you can use this knowledge as a powerful tool to feed your motivation on a daily basis.

WHAT DRIVES YOU? Self-Assessment


As you ask yourself the following 7 questions choose one answer that best represents your primary motive. Choose either a, b, or c.

1. How do you go about social media?

a) You first look at your own posts and get a rush when you see the number of likes on your own post going up.

b) You mostly look at other people’s posts and would spend most of your time commenting on others versus promoting yourself.

c) You look at other people’s post and compare yours with theirs, secretly competing (keeping score) with their number of ‘shares’, ‘views’ or ‘likes with your own.

2. Your friend invited you to the gym to try a spinning class. What was your experience like?

a) While it was your first class, you found it easy to keep up and excel. You looked like a pro and even others commented about your level of skill.

b) You enjoyed the group fitness experience because of the new friends you made in the class and look forward to seeing them along with your girlfriend again.

c) You felt an adrenalin rush especially from the competitiveness of the class and can’t wait to experience that winning feeling again.

3. Your boss tells you that he needs you to take on a difficult project with a tight deadline, what do you do?

a) You feel empowered and immediately take action on your own, take responsibility to lead the project and influence others to help you.

b) You consider who you would like to reach out to, to help accomplish this project and seek others input and creative ideas.

c) You look forward to the challenge, knowing that while it won’t be easy you are determined to make it happen.

4. You decide to go on vacation with your two best friends. How will you go about choosing a destination?

a) You know in your mind where you and your friends should go and you take initiative to find the ‘perfect’ destination and use your influence to convince them.

 b) You are happy to go where your friends decide because you are just happy to be vacationing with them.

c) You suggest a “friendly” competition in which the winner gets to choose the destination.

5. You are on the social committee at the office.

a) You have a brilliant idea about what the next social event should be. You bring everyone on board with your suggestion and work hard at making it absolutely amazing so that others will look up to you.

b) You make sure that everyone else’s opinion is heard and you help in allowing your co-workers to all pitch in with their ideas. Ultimately, you will lean towards what the majority likes so that as many people as possible will be happy with the final choice.

c) You get a rush from preparing a proposal before the meeting so that you will be the first one with concrete suggestions.

6. You are watching your child’s team play soccer. Which player do you notice the most, or who do you want your child to be.

a) The ‘alpha’ player who plays their position well, and can tell the other players how to play theirs as well.

b) The child who congratulates another player for a great play, or encourages them when they make a mistake.

c) The striker who gets a hat-trick in many of the games.

7. You have planned a personal shopping day.

a) You plan to go shopping and then out to lunch on your own; you prefer it that way so that you can ‘power shop’ and keep to your own schedule and shop only the stores and eat at the restaurant you like. You are on a mission to find a great new outfit for an upcoming event at work and you want to stand out wearing something spectacular (and that no one else is wearing).

b) You have invited your friends along so that together you can shop, have lunch and talk about your upcoming event. You enjoy and seek out the opinions of your friends when it comes to buying clothes for yourself.

c) You wait until the week before your event to shop for the perfect outfit. You are confident you will find something amazing and you enjoy the challenge of shopping last minute. If fact you set it as a goal to find the best outfit in the least amount of time.

If you answered mostly a), your strongest emotional motive is Power. If you answered mostly b), your strongest emotional motive is Affiliation. If you answered mostly c), your strongest emotional motive is Achievement.

Your primary motive is: _________________

Those who succeed have learned how to tap into their social motives and leverage this chemical ‘super-power’.


canfitpro’s COO of Program Innovation and Fitness Development