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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the 6 styles of motivation and how to use them to relate better to others and change your life.

In this podcast you’ll find:

What gets us going? What has us reaching out for success?

6 Sermons Model

Simple way to recognize the different ways people are motivated.

3 major categories:

  • Power  
  • Affiliation
  • Achievement

Each category has two subcategories

  1. Away From – Fear pushes us away from these categories
  2. Toward – Desire pushes us toward them

Power Away From:

  • Fear of being under the power of someone else.
  • Desire to break authority structures
  • Constant need to be outside the system. The rebel.
  • An inability to be in a position of leadership
  • Can be motivated by autonomy. Solo projects. Hate micromanaging.
  • Can motivate self by finding the flaws in the system. Documentarians.

Power Toward:

  • Love being in the chain of command.
  • Respect authority and hierarchy.
  • Seek out positions of authority and seek out people in authority.
  • Can be motivated by gaining greater responsibility over others.
  • Can motivate self with the prospect of promotion.

Affiliation Away From:

  • Fear they will be isolated from the tribe through public censure or embarrassment.
  • Prefer staying under the radar. Just do the job and don’t rock the boat.
  • Small group of friends to avoid awkwardness.
  • Can be motivated by frequent positive feedback.
  • Can motivate self by asking people for feedback. Avoid isolation.

Affiliation Toward:

  • Desire to be tied into the social fabric.
  • Gain status and stand out in order to gain admiration. Wag the Dog movie.
  • Typically surrounded by a large social tribe.
  • Can be motivated by public approval, like a surprise party or Roast which acknowledges their accomplishments.
  • Can motivate self by creating a tribe of people who will give honest feedback.

Achievement Away From:

  • Profound fear of attempting something only to fail.
  • May stick with the tried and true rather than risk failure.
  • Working harder than they need to in order to assure success.
  • Perfectionist tendencies, which can be a counter motivator.

Achievement Toward:

  • Will work incredibly hard in order to reach the end goal and feel the pride that comes with achievement.
  • Ambitious.
  • Motivated by having access to the best tools for the job.

Varying degrees of healthy and unhealthy expressions in each of these categories.

Whichever style you identify with find the optimal level of health for each type.

Toward/Away From – basic carrot and stick concept.

Toward motivated appears to be a healthier expression because Away From is embedded in fear.

Living with fear does not serve us.

Toward is an expression of desire and hunger. Desire to reach out for something better.

Away From is more rooted in dissatisfaction and fear. May relate to a mentality of scarcity.

A lot of our fears seem more rooted in ancient programming. Programming that is no longer valid.

Another model of motivation:


Referenced in this podcast:




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Showing 32 comments
  • Frances

    Oh my god! This has been a eureka moment. Recently I’ve been struggling with being given the title of ‘a leader’. I’ve been given leadership responsibilities (not management) and I’ve had some challenges in feeling comfortable with them and understanding why they’ve been coming to me. My mentor pointed out that others obviously think of me as a leader and then asked me why I was so reluctant to accept that title. It’s because I’m very much an ‘away from power’ type of person. Thank you for helping me clarify that!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Frances! So, I’m interested. Are you going to attempt to become more of a Toward Power type of person? Or do you feel content with the way you are?

      I ask because I am an Affiliation Away From person and I’m not sure if I want to become an Affiliation Toward person…even if that is the best plan of action.

      • Jennifer M.

        Interesting dialogue here. I think I’m probably an affiliation away person too. I was thinking about Myers-Briggs & enneagram types when I was listening to this podcast. I think that INTJ, INFJS, INFPs would tend to be more affiliation away types. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of leadership. But it is definitely more challenging though because although you might naturally have leadership skills, not everyone will see it because you’re not putting yourself out there and hobnobbing with everyone. Your influence, Frances, is nonetheless, no less important to an organization that has the saavy to identify and recognize what you bring to the table. Leadership is does have to be LOUD. Sometimes it’s quieter, more subtle and sometimes even more influential.

  • Priscila

    I’m not so sure being Away From is inherently the negative trait… I think it’s a matter of degree for each of these styles on a scale of healthy to unhealthy. It’s important to examine what’s underneath but like they said, it will also be affected by your personality.

    I’m an INTJ, 2/3 Power Away from and 1/3 Achievement Toward.

    It’s interesting to me because I can relate so, so much to the examples they gave on the episode. My job is half graphic design and half technical operations. So in terms of finding what’s wrong in a system or what people are blind to is what I have found I enjoy doing at work. Also because they’re my projects, my proposals and nobody else thought of them 🙂

    It’s not really in my job description but through the years I’ve gained the management’s trust to be able to pick projects I’m interested in, like finding what’s broken and inconsistent and plan out the solution, create new procedures in the organization, etc. About solo projects, I have been in a corporate environment for years and I’d like to say I’ve adapted and accepted the overrated and highly-praised team work, and I’m not problematic when in it because I understand how the hierarchy sees it (“you gotta be a team player”… said the extroverted boss), but I do prefer working on my own; and then coming to the group with the data/plan. Luckily my ISFP boss understands this, which surprisingly to me, (I think) our personalities are not supposed to be comparible but somehow we get along very well.

    Anybody know more about this?

    About getting “tools”… Or”toys”… How I call them 🙂 like a monitor, or a tablet, or software that maybe it’s not exactly necessary per my job description but I want to learn it for future reference, and they grant it… I’m happy. And motivated. For a few more months. It’s a boost. It’s just ironic to me how stereotypical I am 🙂 but glad there has to be more people like me out there. Even if it feels like I’m the only one in my building.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Priscila! I had the same reactions to the belief that Away From wasn’t the healthiest manifestation. As an INFJ, I had a smattering of Away From and Toward in each category. But I am quite attached to most of the Away From tendencies and see no need to change them.

      When I brought up the same observation in the Facebook group, someone mentioned it may have something to do with the Introvert/Extravert split. I thought that was an interesting perspective.

      • Jennifer Mourrain

        I agree that it probably does follow along the lines of introvert/extrovert to some extent. For example with ENFJ versus INFJ or ENTJ or INTJ, it seems pretty obvious that the ENTJ and ENFJ would much more likely be interested in status and power. When I think ENFJ, I think ENFJ (Type 3), people like Oprah and Obama. They do the extroverted feeling thing quite effectively for the purposes of motivating and inspiring the masses. They seem to bask in the limelight. And I often encounter ENTJ Type 8s that are quite comfortable and happy in positions and power where they feel “in command”. But I don’t think that counterparts are like that in terms of leadership, for example. INTJ leaders like Bill Gates or Zuckerberg or Ghandi or Ralph Nader or Al Gore or Hillary Clinton. I do not think they are motivated to lead for the purposes of power and status in and of itself. I think what drives INTJ leaders is quite different than a “power towards” type commander. INTJ are often known as the ‘reluctant leader’ – in other words, the INTJ will step up to the plate when they can see that no one else is stepping up. Ni (introverted intuitive -that “vision) is always a strong motivator (what “if” – how could things be better? how could the world be a better place? Alright then, I guess I’ll need to lead the way… ) I would think that INFJs would be similarly motivated and driven.

        But I could be completely biased and wrong here, lol. I’m an INTJ. Probably my own projections.

        • Charis Branson

          Thanks for the perspective, Jennifer. Antonia actually mentions on the Facebook thread that she doesn’t believe it is related to I/E because the guy who created the model is actually an INTJ. She does say that Away From behaviors appear to have a glass ceiling. Which I found interesting. That would make them self limiting, which would not be the ideal.

  • Sarah

    I really needed a podcast like this. I’ve been struggling with motivation in my life recently and it’s gotten to a rather scary place. Now I feel like I have a starting point for working things out. I’m really glad you did this podcast, as always, it was insightful and thought provoking. I’m looking forward to similar podcasts in the future. You guys are the best!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Sarah! I’m glad you were able to benefit from the podcast. 🙂

  • Anthony

    I am an INTP and more of an Away From person as far as I know myself, especially Power Away From since I remember myself often criticise the education system and other systems. The secondary trait I have in this case I believe is Achievement Toward, as I am quite confident in my ability and way to achieve things, and I enjoy the feeling of solving problems after problems with cold but flexible decision making, like an agent on a mission. Lastly, my tertiary trait is affiliation toward. This is tricky for me to pin down as I will sacrifice almost anything to not get into social implications but at the same time I do want reputations, connections, feedbacks and harmony, etc.

    My opinion after listening the podcast is that this is an interesting concept. But I feel Away From traits may not be a by-product. My interpretation is that, Desires and hungers are like an engine, they drive us forward. But the engine can overheat or the engine is primitive and single minded. This is when Away From traits can help to cool off or help developing a more comprehensive perspective of where we are heading. But it all depends on how well we use this Away From time.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Anthony! I think your alternative interpretation is a good one. It forces us to ask, what a world focused on Toward would look like? Would we want such a world?

      • Anthony

        I need correct my wordings of my interpretation… Actually, I think that both the Toward and Away From are primitively rooted but are neutral preferences. I got the idea from the extrovert and introvert split as the two concepts are kinda similar. I think what makes any neutral preference good is when they are coupled with a wide variety of other neutral preferences like objective reasoning and morale values. It seems like my world view is something like a pluralistic Yin Yang kind of view.

        Anyway, I also attempted to link the two concepts together as I listened to the podcast:
        Ti = Away from power; Te = Toward power
        Fe = Toward Affiliation; Fi = Away from Affiliation
        Trying to link Achievement with mbti is a bit tricky,
        S = Away from Achievement; N = Toward Achievement

        • Jennifer M.

          Cool, Anthony! I always like INTPs and their interesting analysis.

          As far as making links to achievement, if you consider money (salaries) as a measure of achievement or success (I don’t – but some people do) ENTJ ‘achieves’ the highest salary, followed by ESTJ, ESFJ, INTJ, ENFJ. For education, the highest level of ‘achievement’ is found among ENTJ and INTJS, followed by ESTJ and ISTJ (I’m not sure how accurate that data is -I got data from some career assessment site…) But it seems to me, if you consider that data, there’s not a clear distinction between S and N Types and their level of achievement by our society’s standards. It’s seem logical that those who achieve the most would be those most likely to also be the ones who move towards achievement.

          Fe = Toward Affiliation and Fi = Away from Affiliation sounds, for the most part, pretty accurate to me (at least intuitively speaking…) That’s sort of what I commenting on and thinking about earlier. Although I think an ESFP or an ENFP could be very affiliated oriented, not so much an INTJ or INFP. This isn’t clear cut either. As Charis suggested earlier, I would think extroversion and introversion would be a greater determining factor (if such a correlation exists at all!)

          Ti = Away from Power and Te = Towards Power I don’t see any connection here at all. I could continue trying to analyze this… But I think there are two many variables.

          I was also thinking about enneagram and Karen Horney’s work. She talks about “moving towards” and “moving away”. That was picked up by some of the leaders in the enneagram field who talk about the relationship between fear and motivation. It’s hard to generalize about any particular type because motivation and individual personality structure is quite variable and complex. With enneagram you also have subtypes (Sexual, Social, Preservation). When you add that to the mix, any attempt to try to make generalizations is almost impossible. For example, I am an INTJ Type 1w2 sx, sp – I am not a “social” type, and I am definitely not so motivated by the need for “affiliation” with others (at least not consciously). But if you look at a person’s unconscious motivations (or shadow aspects), sometimes you find the opposite drives in motivation – in moving against their can be the unconscious motivation to move towards… There’s so much more than what we typically *know* of ourselves when it comes to motivation. The natural tendency for humans to desire integration and wholeness trumps any particular motivation that we can assign a category.

          • Anthony

            Since I use a lot of Ti, I think I can comment more on why I attributed Ti to Power Away From and Te to Power Towards. I agree that there are too many variables and I actually am not an expert in any of these theories that I’m juggling with, and that I can’t confirm any of the links that I claimed to make but I can just put these links out here for the purpose of sharing my intuitions that I find interesting and might have some truth in them.

            The “Power” that the 6 Sermons Model is referring to seems like the ability to organize the outer word. The higher up you get, you get more respects, resources and stuff, which ultimately gives you more ability to make a difference in the world, no matter it is for personal or altruistic reasons. I certainly want to get that power but only in the future, when I think I am intelligent enough to wield this power and when this kind of top-down organization is examined, refined or evolved and is holistically valid.

            But as I progress in life, I have been starting to go through things like, group work problems or social dramas where people are inexperienced and the problems are unresolved. I started to realize that everyone is inexperienced(coz I’m only in uni and my peers are just students), time is running out as meanwhile there are also other problems that everyone need to start dealing with, so. All these coupled with my realization that I can actually handle these situations better than most others that are involved, I got over the thought that I don’t know what is the best way to do things and my fear for failing in my task in leading then people would look down on me, and I felt, hm, I should handle them, make stronger stands and set the instructions so that people can move on from the confusion state and start making a change. Now I realize more about the logical and life sustaining side of the Te.

            Back to my initial point, the two examples are, I believe, examples that have connection with healthy Power Away From and Power Towards respectively, as well as the healthy Ti and Te perspectives respectively.

            Btw, It’s the sentence “stick with the tried and true rather than risk failure” that reminds me of Sensors. The descriptions of Achievement Away From has a ‘grounded on the past and present’ feel to it while the descriptions of Achievement Towards has a more ‘forward looking’ feel to it.

            “The natural tendency for humans to desire integration and wholeness trumps any particular motivation that we can assign a category.” There seems to be some profound truth/pattern in here. Reminds me of Aristotle’s theory on opposite attracts and Socionics’ dualism and yin yang and my good feelings towards some opposite types.

            Just my interesting thoughts. Btw, I suspect my motivation of leaving these comments is Affiliation Towards :p

  • Nevaeh

    I’ve just started to streamline my practice to re-focus on motivation. I worked with BJ Fogg from Stanford on his program Tiny Habits while I was working with 16Personalities in educating Private School teachers about type. I’m excited that motivation is becoming a center focus again and would like to publicly request a continued podcast series on it. I love sending students to your podcasts because they get something out of it.

    Thank you both for your continued work in illuminating type!
    – INFJer 😛

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Nevaeh! Motivation is a great topic. I’m sure it will come up again. 🙂

  • Lana Wilkens

    So, I bet I’m a “Power – Away From” cause I’m about to pick on something you said and call it into question. 😉 I test ENTP if that helps, so I enjoy playing devil’s advocate.

    That being said, when you wrote that the “toward” motivations are seen as more healthy than the “away from” ones, I had a check in me and wondered if that was completely true. I understand that the “away from” people could be driven by fear, but couldn’t they also be driven by the desire to improve whatever it before them? They can see breakdowns in the system and desire to change it for the better, and realize that often times this happens outside the current leadership (if they are unwilling or unaware of the need to change). In a sense, that’s extremely healthy, in my opinion, because it recognizes the bigger picture and is filled with the hope that the status quo isn’t all there can be.

    Also, it could seem on the surface that the “toward” people are healthier, but they could also be seen as kind of self-focused and needy for the approval of others. The desire for status and recognition isn’t always seen as healthy. It can be, but I wonder if being so focused on self, and being so driven to be liked by others can be unhealthy.

    So basically, it seems to me that any of these polarized motivators can be both negative and positive (and you touched on that briefly), depending on the maturity of the person and the manner in which they communicate. Perhaps the motivation is good to identify, but the approach you take in using that motivation could be more of an indicator of who you are or have become.

    Any thoughts?

    – Lana

    • Charis Branson

      I agree, Lana! I actually posted something similar on Facebook regarding this podcast. I can see how some of the Away From tendencies could be founded in Fear, but I also see some of them as personal preference. And I have a strong aversion to practicing some of the Toward actions for the very reasons you list above. (The avatar I see in my mind is a young exec who is trying to rapidly climb the corporate ladder and not being entirely authentic in the attempt.)

      So, is saying Toward is healthier than Away From a subjective stance? Does that make the whole model flawed? Or is it simply a good way to become aware of how we fall into the motivation spectrum? Can we look at the various categories and say, “I want to change that about myself” or “I don’t want to change that about myself?” And if we find something we don’t want to change, can we be honest enough with ourselves to ask if it is due to fear or ideal?

      I personally am going to use this as a gauge to determine where I am, where I want to be, and what is preventing me from reaching my goals. And when I run head-on into an Away From tendency that is so rooted in me I will not change it, maybe try and use it to my benefit. Does that make sense?

  • Judi

    Thanks for covering this topic! Can you provide a source for the 6 Sermons Model? I’d like to look into it more and couldn’t find it when I did a search for that title.

    • Charis Branson

      Hi Judi! Thanks for the question. It was based upon a talk by Wyatt Woodsmall. Antonia thinks it is also in one of his books, but she doesn’t know which one. I found a bunch of youtube vids on Wyatt, but couldn’t find anything specific to this.

  • Mike

    This is so great guys – I think I’m realizing that my isolation from hierarchies happens when fear creeps in about being controlled. Rather than being fearful, I think I need to communicate my desire to be mostly autonomous – and then I think my achievement toward motivator can kick in more effectively… and maybe I can get promoted more! 😀 Just some initial thoughts, but I love that you point out that fear is not a good motivator – I had the same thoughts while you were talking about the ‘away from’ motivators. But at times it does seem healthy ‘away from’ motivators are possible.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment Mike! I like your positive approach to autonomy. It shows that we may be able to use some of our Away From tendencies in more productive ways.

      I was part of a paradigm that tried motivating people with fear, guilt and shame. That kind of motivation is always self limiting. Which suddenly helps me understand why Away From motivators aren’t good. They will limit your motivation and thereby limit your success. Hmmmmmm…..

  • Danielle

    This is so cool! I like the comparison to love languages. I identify with two of these categories: Power Away From and Achievement Toward. I’m an INTJ, though, so I’m not sure how much of the Power Away From is tied up into my natural tendencies.

    I’m actually don’t take issue with the theory that Towards behaviors are healthier than Away ones. To me, it seems like a logical extension to say that fear-motivated behaviors (especially ones that aren’t founded in real fears) could be negative. As someone who identified with Power Away, I found the scarcity framing to be a helpful way of coping with those fears. Also, I thought referencing vestigial fears from the primitive brain was a great, non-judgmental way of viewing the fear that motivates Away types.

    I think I will try to be more of a Toward type when it comes to Power. It is easier to view Towards behaviors as driven by status and recognition, and to view Towards people as self-focused and needy for the approval of others, but I think that’s a fearful reaction that allows us to cop out of self-growth. The way I’m choosing to view Towards behaviors is to be connection-driven. I think at the root of status or recognition is a desire to be a part of something. As an INTJ, I struggle with my natural inclination to remain disconnected. As someone on an extreme, I see wanting to be liked or wanting the positive feedback of others to be a healthy sign of human connection. Personally, I think I could use more of that.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Danielle! I think you make a lot of good points. I have always struggled with scarcity thinking and I can see it as a self limiting belief.

      I think it is a good idea for all of us to keep in mind what the Toward behaviors are so we can make the necessary adjustments. It might make an interesting experiment, in fact, to try changing the way we have always done things to see if anything shifts.

  • Lana Wilkens

    Yes, that does make sense. As I thought through them, I think I’m predominantly a Power – Away person because I’ve always enjoyed semi-autonomy and readily see ways institutions could make use of their ways that would fit more of the needs within a group and I feel compelled to talk about these or start discussions/ask questions etc.

    But I also resonate a lot with the Affiliation – Toward (which seems strange to pair together to me). But maybe it’s just based on context. I do tend to gather people around me who will give me an honest assessment and I do enjoy the social aspects of groups…but when rules or rhythms don’t make sense for the group, or threaten the social freedom, I get really “up in arms” and want to sound the alarm to those who are in a power position. If it’s me though, I’ll just make those changes and share the vision with those involved to get support.

    It’s fun to think through this and I appreciate the nudge in the right direction to do so. Now I’m off to think about it from other people’s perspectives and consider it in my writing…I LOVED the part about considering hitting all 6 points of communication in speeches or writing to motivate an audience. So helpful! 🙂

    • Jennifer Mourrain

      Just wanted to say that I appreciated Lana’s multiple comments, especially:

      “They can see breakdowns in the system and desire to change it for the better, and realize that often times this happens outside the current leadership (if they are unwilling or unaware of the need to change). In a sense, that’s extremely healthy, in my opinion, because it recognizes the bigger picture and is filled with the hope that the status quo isn’t all there can be.”

      She sounds very much like the ENTPS and INFJs I know and love… I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s the desire for freedom and the authenticity piece. Very appealing. “Moving away” can have a life affirming aspect to it – not only doom, gloom, negativity and cynicism. Moving away can be working towards.

  • Rod

    This was REALLY interesting for two reasons, 1. ME 2. I’m writing copy right now for a product and you just created MORE WORK!! 😉 However, when I think about friends and peers observing how they react to circumstances through the years, it makes sense. Good stuff..

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Rod! 🙂

  • Asad

    Hey guys this was a great podcast and provided opportunity for much self-reflection.

    Is there a book or resource for the Six Sermons model? Googling it only gives me religious references.

    • Charis Branson

      Hi Asad! This model comes from Wyatt Woodsmall. He has done a lot of writing and speaking, but he is kind of old school and doesn’t have much of an online presence. A search of Youtube will reveal some videos of his speaking engagements. But I think Antonia said the 6 Sermon Model came from one of his books.

  • Diana

    Interesting podcast. Maybe I’m having a knee jerk response bc I’m a power-away from person and I don’t feel like it’s rooted in fear. Many of the power-toward people I’ve worked with seem so set on having power over others or being pat on the back by their superiors that they seem oblivious to actually achieving something or they seem socially codependent, so in my experience, there seems to be more fear-motivation in power-toward people than power-away people. Maybe I’ve always just had jobs where “promotion” to a position where there is more drama/politics/work/paper-pushing with less pay just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

    Personal autonomy seems like the ultimate expression of fluid, healthy power which power-toward doesn’t seem to have. Personal autonomy that requires being plugged into a structure doesn’t seem so autonomous to me

    I’m also very achievement-towards motivated, so maybe I view the power, position, paper-pushing and politics that i perceive comes with power-toward motivation to be a distraction from achieving the heart of a goal.

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