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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What are Breathy Baby-talk Voices For?

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe by E. Wagele

I wrote  A Career Fit for a Romantic. Elizabeth Taylor’s. in my Psychology Today  blog of April 5, 2011. A reader called Crimson responded with this:

“My mother was obsessed about Elizabeth Taylor. When I was a child during the 60s I would watch Elizabeth Taylor movies with my mother. While watching Liz I saw an overly dramatic, over-made-up woman with almost no acting talent. My mother saw the most beautiful woman in the world. I always wondered why Elizabeth Taylor was so enticing to this particular generation of women. I came to a few conclusions. Elizabeth Taylor was able to maintain the persona of an innocent ingénue while getting exactly what she wanted out of life: money, men and fame. The women of my mother’s generation were under intense pressure to appear subservient and submissive to their husbands, be nice, kind and almost childish at all times. Taylor played this role to the hilt. Behind the scenes Liz was busy drinking, drugging and changing up her men like she changed clothes, but that was never what the public saw. All they saw was a woman draped in expensive diamonds and being adored by her man du jour, while she spoke in her little breathy baby-talk voice. She couldn’t act in a movie because she was so busy acting in real life. I never told my mother the way I felt about Liz. My mother is currently in a month-long state of mourning over Ms. Taylor’s demise. Maybe one day she’ll snap out of it.” Thank you, Crimson!

Marilyn 2

Mariyn Monroe 2

Elizabeth Taylor died March 23, 2011 at age 79.

Liz Taylor

Liz Taylor by E. Wagele

Marilyn Monroe died August 5, 1962 at age 36, a probable suicide.

In the early ‘60s I used to visit my sister in the suburbs of Sacramento. I met young neighbors of hers—little boy of two or three, a husband, and a blond wife interested in making herself beautiful. Her idol was Marilyn Monroe. Within a week after Marilyn Monroe apparently killed herself, this young woman also killed herself. That someone so young, in her twenties, could do such a thing leaving a child behind, shattered me. I was a little younger than she was, expecting my first child in a month.

When I was in high school, Marilyn was the fantasy of many of the girls. Oh to be Marilyn and to have that body, those clothes, that fame, that money! The 1950s were a time where women were not equal to men. It was not a good time for women.

I’m still trying to figure out that little girl voice that both Liz and Marilyn adopted. I would think men would prefer a sultry, low voice as sexy, but what do I know? Obviously, men do like something about little girls for their love life. Elizabeth/Betty/Betts on the TV series MadMen, which is set in the 60s, has a little girl voice too. My mother would talk to me with a breathy baby-talk voice when I was very small, too, earlier than that. There was something incestuous-feeling about it. I didn’t like it, though inappropriate behavior never went beyond her voice.

Through my life every now and then I notice myself acting like a little girl—too late to stop myself. It doesn’t feel good. It feels a little like a last resort reflex of some kind. If you’re young enough you can’t be blamed? If you’re young enough you can be excused for showing off? If you’re young enough maybe you can pretend you’re innocent of any wrong-doing and you can’t be ashamed of anything.