Towards and Away


Think about your motivation.

Why do you do all the things you do?

Some of the things we do make sense others aren’t so obvious. Why do some of us constantly do things that don’t give us what we want?

Motivation can be a complicated subject and every psychologist and salesperson on the planet has thought about motivation and they have a lot to say on the subject.

It seems like there are a million theories on why we are motivated and why we do the things we do.

The Psychologists from Maslow onwards have tried to explain why we react or act the way we do and the differences between us in what look like similar situations.At Sales Academy motivation was important and integral to all our programs. Sales, Management, Leadership, Coaching, Relationships and Partnerships all revolve around meeting needs and satisfying motivations.

A lot of the theory is intricate and complicated, situationally precise and of little real practical value and as usual are job was to find simple things that worked.

This post builds on the simple notion, you can either be motivated to ‘get away from something bad’ or ‘ go towards something good’.

We found this simple distinction operates regardless of what motivates you and whilst both types of motivation, towards and away, can cause people to make extreme efforts to change their situation a towards motivation always provides a more enjoyable ride and better long term results.

The Away groups

Away teams are focussed on escaping from something ‘bad’.

  • From not being sacked for not meeting target
  • From not being able to pay the mortgage and losing their home.

Something they didn’t want to happen they wanted to avoid, they wanted to get away from.

These guys were living lives that were less than exciting and they had an aura of resigned sadness that hung over them and everything they touched.

The Towards group

Towards teams are focussed on achieving something ‘fantastic’ (in their judgement).

For these people, everything they knew and did was focussed on getting them towards something they really wanted. It could be anything:

  • A holiday, car or boat
  • Early retirement
  • Getting married

These guys were living exciting lives and they had an aura of expectation and positive energy  that hung over them and everything they touched.

Simple is good

The idea makes sense takes 10 seconds to understand and is reasonably easy to implement. It’s one of those answers or ideas that are too simple for some people to accept.

A few people have asked about this idea and why we think it’s so important.

The answer is there is another dimension to the effect these two types of motivation have.

Often we worked in organisations where we could feel or see the difference between teams and even between two high performing teams.

Being focussed towards something good is uplifting, exciting and this permeates the whole team

Being focussed on escaping from something nasty is less positive! and it too permeates the whole team.

The difference between an away and towards focus can be felt directly and it effects everything.  Differences in measurements covering morale, attendance, results, staff turnover, employee satisfaction all reflected the source of the teams motivation, towards or away. What we noticed was energy, positivity, attitude (can do will do vs could do won’t do)  and openness to new ideas in people and teams working towards something that mattered to them as individuals.

You could turn up at a sales conference and see the differences from the back of the room.

I remember a big one, 4000 people at Disney land in Paris. It’s memorable because the irony of running a sales conference in Disney’s world seemed lost on the organisers. Looking round you could see some individuals and teams that simply stood out. They walked, talked and stood differently.

Despite popular stereo types, they were not often the loudest most obnoxious individuals often there was a quiet sureness or confidence, an aura that suggested these people knew what they did and how to do it and perhaps more importantly a understanding of why they did it.

In our subsequent workshops we saw a correlation between towards motivation and the traits we had seen at conference.

The successful people we have met all seemed to know, where they were going, why they were doing it and what was required to get the job done. They had a confidence that they could do it and the results they were after would be delivered. Even amongst these people and teams, those who looked forward to something  were different, more motivated more energetic and more positive.

Towards and away is a key tool to use once you have decided you do want change.

Most of our studies were on people who had to change to ‘keep a job’ or to ‘make a success’ of a job they found themselves in. If you want change in your life, it’s worth understanding towards and away as it will fuel you to whatever success you choose. Sooner or later, being who you want to be or having what you want to have or doing what you want to do will require you to dig deep. Towards motivation will fuel you when you need it most and the rest of the time it will make you feel you are excited to be engaged in something that matters to you personally.

Towards motivation can transform your results overnight but the real impact is on the quality of life you then experience and enjoy going forward.

Know where you are going

This idea is also in the top 3 items of our list of how to change. Without knowing where you are going, any road, any action, any belief or thought will take you there. One of the key problems with an away from motivation is that any where else will do! This is not usually true and we have seen many companies, teams and individuals work hard to get away, to get away anywhere else only to find  they have swapped the frying pan for the fire!

Knowing where you are going is a basic prerequisite for success. It  informs all your choices and all your decisions every day. Knowing where you are going makes all of them simpler and more obvious. Making sure your destination is towards somewhere you really want to go turbo boosts your approach and serves this basic prerequisite for success well.

Before some of you free spirits shout and say that you are just cruising through life enjoying whatever comes let me explain more carefully. Towards motivation means you know where you are going and you are looking forward to it. Perhaps for you free spirits knowing where you are going is about how you travel through life? Maybe you travel day by day with an objective of experiencing and  enjoying whatever comes? This is your towards and knowing this is what you do and valuing it will give you the same uplifts in mood and experience as any one going for a more material goal or destination.

Knowing how you are travelling is for some the greatest destination; it links to who you are becoming or who you are and we respect that totally.

Towards or Away – which one are you ?

It’s a tiny difference but one worth looking into.

Try asking your self –

Why do you do what you do ?

Keep asking until you chunk down to the real reason you will know when you get there Delegates usually arrived at something about money or time but they needed to keep going.

  • What do you want extra time or money for ?
  • Hope will you use it what will it give you ?

Many of our delegates and particularly those in the away group were confused by this type of question and struggled to answer.

Many if pushed ended up saying something like

“Because I have to”


” Because I have no choice”

Get your Mojo back ?

For a few the answers were strikingly different and often immediate. They were focussed on positive and up beat results that meant something to them personally.

“Because I want a (house / car / holiday ….) ”

“Because I’m planning to retire early….”

“Because ………”

These answers were often far more detailed . You could tell that many could see and feel the outcomes even though they had not yet materialised.

We know from our studies that keeping your mind on what you want and free of details about you don’t want has a terrific impact and when we begin to understand the effects of towards and away we can see another reasons why this is such strong practical advice.

The simple fact is those who see how what they do will give then what they want in their lives, live differently.

These folks are excited and delighted by the opportunity they are pursuing right now.

We saw this operating throughout the world in all sorts of groups and teams. If you don’t operate in a ‘towards’ mode now then do it, it will transform your life.

It’s the root of a real mojo energy and often this change from away to towards provides a simple switch which will create a new you in the space of a few days.

If you need some help working out what you want where you are going the challenge includes a number of great exercises to help you get a focus and a clarity that will really help. Making sure there is a toward focus will turbo charge any results you aim for.

If you take he challenge do it to take you towards something your really want like:

More peace

More success

More you

Challenge Info