Are You Motivated by Achievement, Power, or Affiliation?


What motivates you?

I heard about a survey questioning what motivates people: achievement, power, or affiliation. (In a future blog I’m going to talk about the three motivations we talk about in “The Career Within You”: affiliation, passion, and income.)

What motivates me? As an Observer type, I like power over my life and my individual projects but I’m only interested in controlling other people to the extent of keeping them from bothering me. Luckily, nobody is bothering me these days. Affiliation is a bit of an issue for me. I often wonder if my social life is what it should be. It’s quite good right now. I love my friends and make new ones from time to time. Enjoying coffee and company at the local cafe. Am I motivated by achievement? Not by making lots of money or having fancy possessions but by doing things that interest me. Achievement to me means having a daily life that’s satisfying: trying to have a good marriage, learning to play the piano, working on my books and drawings.

Enneagram Perfectionist, as all types, vary somewhat according to whether they’re introverts or extraverts. All Perfectionists have a habit of striving to improve, achieving in one way or another. Power means the degree to which they reach perfection or control over their lives. Affiliation would apply more to a social subtype than a self-preservation subtype, though we all need a healthy amount of it.

Enneagram Helpers want to achieve making other people as happy as they can. They feel powerful from doing that and from giving good advice to people. And of course they’re succeeding at affiliation.

Enneagram Achievers want power, which is more likely to translate into a job where they earn money so the can buy a house and car that shows they’ve earned money. They like to affiliate with a good team and employer, and they have friends; they’re usually extraverts.

Enneagram Romantics tend to be introverts. Romantics rarely rise to the most powerful position in a company, but of course we all want our share of power. We all want to affiliate with the group that matches us, perhaps in this case one that’s unusual—or artistic. Their Achievements will depend on their interests, probably of an artistic or humanistic nature.

Enneagram Questioners want power to handle their safety concerns. They want to achieve security and have less to fear. Affiliation? There’s often safety in numbers. So yes.

Enneagram Adventurers want power over their lives in the having fun department. If they didn’t have enough freedom and choices they’d go mad. Achievement means attaining their goals of travel, interesting things to do, including jobs and entertainment. Affiliation for most of them is important, too.

Enneagram Asserters would put power first. Affiliation will vary; many are independent, but being with others often makes work and play more interesting. Achievement, such as promotions, is usually important… most Asserters like money, which contributes to their power, so they like to earn a big salary.

Enneagram Peace Seekers would be attracted to Affiliation first. They usually like other people. Power isn’t high on their list except for the power to stay peaceful and to keep conflict away. Achievement is especially important in the area of staying comfortable. A cozy environment would be a worthwhile achievement, including a good job and a satisfactory life.

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