EQ Motivation: How values drive behaviour

Our values drive behaviour

Imagine if you were handed a treasure map and told that if you found the treasure hidden where X marks the spot, your life would suddenly make sense and you would feel motivated and have direction?  Would you try and find that treasure?

That’s what it means to know your values in an emotionally intelligent way.  It is a gift to know what you really want, what motivates you, and explain why you behave the way you do on a daily basis.  Our values drive behaviour and help guide us along the way, helping us make corrections and make difficult decisions, what should we do and what not to do. We all have a different set of values, as unique as our DNA or fingerprints.

So once we get that our values drive behaviour how do we go about discovering what our values are?

  • You start by asking yourself what is important to you.  For example you may say family.  Whilst this is a valid response, it does not represent your values.
  • To understand your values you must ask yourself “what does family bring you/ give you?”  For some people family means “security” whilst other people may say “nurturing” or “belonging”.

Remember that values are not:

  • Things (money is not a value but what it represents to people is – success, security or independence)
  • Needs (as listed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs)
  • Ethics (agreed codes of behaviour)
  • Morals (right or wrong);
  • Judgments (labels that come from our beliefs about life, people or situations)
  • Attitudes or beliefs (these change over your lifetime but your values remain fairly static).

values drive behaviour

Take some time, sit in a quiet spot and discover your inner compass.  List all of the things that are important to you, and ask yourself what these things bring you/give you.

Once you have uncovered your values in an emotionally intelligent way, you will be able to focus on the things that are really important to you and stop wasting time on people or things that aren’t a priority for you. To learn more about how and why values drive behaviour contact us today!


Coach and facilitator at One Clear Message
Lelaine is an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) specialist. As an emotional intelligence coach and facilitator, Lelaine understands that performance outcomes are driven by the level of EI mastery in an organisation.

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