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Are You Motivated?

June 2018 by Tanja Mitton,
A riding coach and NLP master coach and mindset coach with over 25 years of coaching and competition experience, Tanja Mitton conducts clinics throughout Australia and recently published 'It Takes Two To Tango' to help people unlock their own and their horse's potential.

How does one get motivated? Have you ever thought about it? It turns out that some people get motivated when they have support and are encouraged, while others are motivated when they want to prove to others that they can accomplish a certain task. 

We are all different and that’s why it is important for you to know yourself.

Two of the main motivators are, ‘towards pleasure’ and ‘away from fear’. Let’s have a closer look at each of them and what they mean.

1) ‘Towards Pleasure’ means the person is motivated by praise. They are looking for a ‘feel good’ experience. These riders are thriving on compliments, encouragement and reinforcement they do a great job.

A ‘towards pleasure’ motivated rider will get the most out of a coach who is sympathetic, focuses on the positive and takes their time. This rider will thrive when they develop confidence and feel supported in their efforts.

If you are a ‘towards pleasure’ motivated person, language like the following really means something to you:

  • Well done!
  • You can do this!
  • Great job for trying!
  • I believe in you!
  • I am so proud of you!

The coach of such a rider needs to point out the improvements and remind the rider how far they have come. When training, it is better to build the foundations first and take smaller steps when developing confidence.

Focusing on the positive results and the improvements already achieved will keep the rider thriving for success.

2) ‘Away from Fear’ means the person is motivated by success. They are often very competitive and looking to push the boundaries. These riders are thriving on measuring themselves against others, competition and proving they are better than last time. 

An ‘away from fear’ motivated rider does better with a slightly tougher coach, one who is still encouraging, but gets them to dig deeper. This rider will thrive on being pushed out of their comfort zone and prove they can do more than what they thought they could.

If you are an ‘away from fear’ motivated person, this is the sort of language that really means something to you:

  • Come on and get going!
  • That’s not good enough!
  • You have to do better than that!
  • You have to earn the success!
  • I didn’t think you could do that!

In this case, the coach needs to maintain a high energy and work a step ahead of where the rider is at now to show them where they have to get to. 

The key is focusing on what it takes to be successful and pointing out where the improvements need to be made.

Which one are you?

Most people (coaches included) will automatically motivate others the way they become motivated themselves. 

This is why many competitive coaches automatically select a competition-driven, ‘away from fear’ motivation when teaching other riders. Particularly when preparing that rider to go to competitions. It is important, therefore, to recognise what you need as a rider.

But, many riders are competing without being competitive! 

This is why you should look for a coach who compliments your style of motivation and you should have an honest conversation with them if you find you have different motivations to achieve the end result.

Happy riding everyone!