Tag entrepreneurship

Maslow and motivation

Maslow and motivation

Where does your drive come from?


Maslow wrote one of the most famous theories about motivation: the Hierarchy of Needs. However, this is just one of the multiple existent theories about motivation

The origin of motivation can be uncertain because it is the by-product of multiple combinations of variables. But we all know that motivation is fundamental. It is a key factor for continual improvement and growth.

Motivation at work is paramount and can determine our professional future, and in many ways, our daily life as well.

Motivation is a fire we all need to keep feeding!

How motivation leads to success is a question I get asked frequently, but to better understand the possible answers, we need to explore the different theories behind them a little.


What will we be covering here

Theories on motivation


Maslow’s pyramid

Critics and updates

Relevance and examples


Some of the most famous theories about motivation are:

📌 Hierarchy of needs, by Maslow.

📌 ERG theory: Existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs, by Alderfer.

📌 Two-factor theory, by Herzberg.

📌 Reinforcement theory, by Skinner.

📌 Need for achievement, affiliation and power, by McClelland.

There is also:

📌 Adams’ equity theory

📌 Locke’s goal-setting theory

as well as so many more.



In this post, we will cover one of the most famous theory’s: Maslow’s.


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed, in his 1943 paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation“, a first draft of what would be a complete theory regarding human needs.

That theory would be fully explained later in his 1954 book, Motivation and Personality.

At the time, it revolutionised the behavioural sciences worldwide.

Based on stages, Maslow envisioned a theory that takes into consideration the universal needs of human beings and also, that those needs would be at the base of human motivation.

Each level represents a need that must be satisfied first in order to move forward.

That’s the drive for motivation: ultimately, the satisfaction of the needs. And the ultimate goal would be to attain the last level.

The theory is typically depicted as a pyramid where, at the bottom, we find the fundamental, physiological needs (those that relate to survival) and then self-actualisation at the top, the needs that deal with personal growth and development.



Let’s take a look at the hierarchy in detail:

1. Physiological needs. Here we find the need for food, sleep and any activity that prevents distress at a physical level.

2. Safety needs. Here, Maslow talks about the need for safety in terms of protection and being free from danger.

3. Social needs. At this level we find the need for love, affection, friendship, and also, a sense of acceptance, community and belonging.

4. Self-image needs. Also known as self-esteem, includes self-respect, the feeling of achievement and being respected.

5. Self-actualisation needs. The last stop, the ultimate attainable goal. This includes the need to grow and develop as well as the need for personal fulfilment.

How is the theory viewed in today’s world?

Maslow’s theory has been deeply criticised mainly because he made it perfectly clear that each level of the “ladder” had to be climbed before passing to the next one.

In 1976, Wahba and Bridwell presented a paper about the need for additional research that backs up the theory.

In 2010, Renovating the Pyramid of Needs: Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient Foundations, a paper by Douglas T. Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven L. Neuberg, and Mark Schaller, published in Perspect Psychol Sci, proposed a new theory (with more levels) and not without controversy.

Today’s view of this is slightly different, as levels are regarded as continuously overlapping each other and not as a strict hierarchy.


“Motivation theory is not synonymous with behavior theory. The motivations are only one class of determinants of behavior. While behavior is almost always motivated, it is also almost always biologically, culturally and situationally determined as well.” 
― Abraham H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation


Why is his theory of any relevance to us?

Because you can use it as a route map, to develop a style of entrepreneurship, management or leadership focused on the needs of your clients, teams, employees and stakeholders.

For example, if you’re an executive or a manager, you can use it in the workplace for:

🔸 Improving safety in the workplace
🔸 Promoting cooperation and teamwork
🔸 Giving credit and value
🔸 Providing space for career guidance and mentoring

If you are an entrepreneur, you might get ideas for producing products or services that have to do with some of the needs. For example:

🔸 Offering support and insurance, as in a refund or a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy
🔸 Creating bonds and the sense of belonging, as in social media communities

Also, if you want to appeal to the need for esteem, you can touch on any area related to lifestyle, vehicles, clubs, entrepreneurship, entertainment, beverages, etc.

And any charity, social responsibility or investment will be linked to the highest level of fulfilment: Self-Actualization.

“Self-actualized people…live more in the real world of nature than in the man-made mass of concepts, abstractions, expectations, beliefs and stereotypes that most people confuse with the world.” 
― Abraham Maslow, Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation


More examples

Public speaker and author Denise Brosseau, in her course “Becoming a Thought Leader”, mentions that Chip Conley updated Maslow’s hierarchy when he was writing his book about “building one hotel into the second-largest boutique hotel chain in the world”, so that the resultant framework was detailed enough to clearly show the principles behind his actions”

And in fact, in his book, Peak, Conley shows how to apply the “fulfilment principle” to a company, so the businesses can achieve their fullest potential.

Before closing, I’d like to suggest a very short exercise which has already been shared with my LinkedIn friends. It is about self-motivation, and I’d like to know the results if you give it a try.

It goes like this:

📌 write down (in capital letters) one goal you want to accomplish. Just one goal!

📌 below that, write down the reasons for wanting that. Think about Maslow’s pyramid and write down which of the mentioned needs this goal will fulfil

📌 now, write one thing that you can do TODAY to be closer to that goal. An achievable, realistic, very simple thing, you can do TODAY to be closer to that feeling of achievement

📌 commit to it

📌 at the end of the day, go back to your writing and reflect: did you do it? How does it feel?

Drop me a line and let me know.

Chronotypes. Want to be more productive? Pay attention to your Circadian Rhythms.

Chronotypes. Want to be more productive? Pay attention to your Circadian Rhythms.


Pay attention to your Chronotypes and Circadian Rhythms.

Discover the best way to function at your maximum performance level and be able to prioritise and manage your tasks.

What will we be covering here?

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

What is a Chronotype?

Knowing Larks and Owls

Dr Breus and the question of “when”

The four mammals

Synchronicity between your chronotype and your life

Manage your energy

Take an assessment

Get to know the Chronotypes and the Circadian Rhythms

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

In short, the Circadian Rhythm is a sort of internal clock, controlled mainly by the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls many things, such as your hormones, temperature, appetite, sexual behaviour and emotions.



This internal biological clock is reset every day by sunlight, and is different for each person, although its main function is exactly the same for all of us: to regulate the periods of sleepiness and wakefulness during the day.

So, this is the clock that tells you which part of the day you are more alert and which part you’ll find your energy levels lower and you feel more sleepy.

Because the circadian rhythm likes regularity, it functions at its best when you follow routines: going to bed at the same hour, eating at the same time each day etc.

This is why you might feel uneasy when you disturb this rhythm (for example, travelling abroad and dealing with jet lag).

What is a Chronotype?

When we talk about chronotypes, we are referring to the manifestation of the circadian rhythm, in the form of personal behaviour. Even though it is passed through the PER3 gene and therefore its origin is genetic, it might change over the years due to a number of reasons such as age, environment and hormones.

A more common classification describes people as either larks or owls, larks being the people that perform best in the mornings, and owls being the ones that are more alert in the evening.

Larks and owls can be differentiated, not just by sleeping patterns, but also by other behaviours and needs, such as appetite and exercise.

“According to conventional wisdom, there are three chronotypes: larks rise early, owls rise late, and hummingbirds are somewhere between the two.”

So, how can we adjust our daily performance for optimal business productivity in relation to these chronotypes?

If you’re a lark If you’re an owl
Try to concentrate on analytical tasks during the early hours Leave all analytical tasks for the late afternoon or evening
Leave all creative tasks for the afternoon Try to do more creative tasks in the morning

To make it all easier, create a table with three columns where you can list your tasks and divide them into two big groups:

🖊 tasks that require focus, concentration and analysis

🖊 tasks that require creativity and expression

🖊 Then the third column is for notes.

If a task falls into both groups, you simply repeat the task in both columns and add a note about the aspect that you will tackle, specifically, during each part of the day.

Top Tip: For example, writing an article might require creativity (mainly with regard to the idea but also the writing), lots of research about the topic and of course, proofreading. Each one of those tasks would fit into a different column.

Top Tip: a task might belong to more than one column

For example, writing an article might require creativity (mainly with regard to the idea but also the writing), lots of research about the topic and of course, proofreading.

Each one of those tasks would fit into a different column.

Dr Breus and the question of “when”.

Dr Michael Breus, a psychologist and sleep specialist, described 4 different chronotypes following different structures but based on mammals. Mainly because we – humans – are not birds.

That question is “when.” “When” is the ultimate life hack. It’s the foundation of success, the key that unlocks a faster, smarter, better, and stronger you. – The Power of When

In his book, The Power of When, Dr Breus highlights the fact that our ancestors were deeply connected to their bodies, knowing when to perform certain acts like hunting, cooking or procreating.

Daylight and night time were perfectly distinguished as well.

Later on, civilization imposed its own rules and now, the modern era sees us doing all kind of activities in a perpetual “night”, with artificial lights, in front of all sorts of monitors.

The Four Chronotypes

Let’s take a brief look at the four chronotypes and their relationship with periods of alertness and drowsiness.

Dolphins: they wake up feeling fatigued and in fact, they can continue to feel tired late into the evening. They are totally alert late at night and might even suffer from insomnia. Their productivity ebbs and flows throughout the day.

Lions: they wake up early and do not feel tired until the late afternoon. They can fall asleep pretty easily and they are more productive in the morning.

Bears: they are slow risers as they do not wake up feeling fresh and awake. They tend to feel tired by the evening. Their productivity peaks before noon and they feel most alert from mid-morning to the early afternoon.

Wolves: they are evening types, so waking up in the morning can be a difficult task. They don’t feel tired until midnight or even later, so it’s in the late evening that their productivity is at its best.

Let’s take a look at the ideal routine for each chronotype, according to Shana Lebowtitz’s chart published on Business Insider and based on Dr Breus’ book.


But, what happens when your schedule and your chronotype cannot sync?

Let’s say you are a wolf, and your work (a well paid and interesting job) requires you be at the office by 8 a.m.

Well, you force yourself to adjust. Knowing your internal rhythm can help you to alleviate the burden and make the most out of the situation.

Manage your energy as it is needed, when it is low, try the following:

📌 Do some exercises to help you with your focus and concentration (young lady or old lady?)
📌 Close all the unnecessary windows on your computer
📌 Get some fresh air and replenish your energy
📌 Do some breathing exercises to increase your stamina (like breath of fire)
📌 If you can, take a 15-minute nap

Going beyond your type, there are some universal recommendations that work for everyone, both morning and evening types:

📌Set meal and sleep times and try to stick to them
📌Breakdown your work into manageable tasks
📌Take regular breaks
📌Plan your breaks in advance

If you want to know what type you are, try taking any of the following assessments:

AutoMEQ: Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ)

Dr Michael Breus’ Chronotypes


What is emotional intelligence and how can it help your business?

What is emotional intelligence and how can it help your business?


Emotional Intelligence can be learnt and improved.

I’m sure you’ve already heard a great deal about Emotional Intelligence, mainly because even though it is not a new term, it has been the focus of a lot of scientific research in recent years, specifically looking into how it can be applied to areas such as business and sport.

The words Emotional Intelligence were coined by the researchers Peter Salovey and John Mayer, and were later popularised by Dr. Daniel Goleman in, his 1995 New York Times bestseller, Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ.

Since then, the exploration of Emotional Intelligence has not stopped within the fields of psychology and neuroscience.

The result is that we now know that Emotional Intelligence can help boost any business and lead to its success. Any business.

You can learn how to improve and effectively apply your Emotional Intelligence whether you are the CEO of a big company or a small business owner, a freelancer or an employee, sell a product or provide a service.

Emotional intelligence leverages the game for you.

What will be covering here?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The Geneva Emotional Competence test

The four main areas of Emotional Intelligence

Self Awareness

Self Management

Social Awareness

Relationship Management

What is emotional intelligence?

Dr. Daniel Goldman defines Emotional Intelligence as
“the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions as well as others’“

By now, you might be thinking: ok, fair enough, I understand how this can help to improve my life and my relationships, but what does this have to do with my business?
Well, I would dare to say … everything.

Understanding your own emotions and learning how to train your brain to be able to manage them in the best way possible, is something that can help us all on a daily basis, as they touch all the spheres of our lives.

Research has proved that Emotional Intelligence plays the central role in the success and happiness of any person and is fundamental for any interpersonal exchange.

From growth in sales to gaining clients, happy workers and happy teams, improving rapport among co-workers and successfully achieving goals, from better engagement to better conversion, Emotional Intelligence can help at every step of the pipeline (sorry for the marketing reference; but it is pretty clear, right?)

Even though EI has been studied for decades, it was not until recently that research proved and tested its importance and efficacy.

In fact, the Geneva Emotional Competence test (GECo) is a new test created by Marcelo Mortillaro PhD – Head of the Applied Affective Sciences research unit at Université de Genève – which measures

👉 emotion recognition

👉 emotion understanding

👉 emotion regulation in oneself

👉 emotion management in others

Therefore, scientific research has proved and validated the importance of Emotional Intelligence so now, our homework is to get to know its benefits and learn the techniques to use in order to help it flourish.

Which are the four main areas of Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence

Self Awareness: recognising our emotions is the first step. If we acknowledge them, we can choose how to control them. 

Here’s a practical exercise: get a pen and paper (the old fashion way) and write down the answer to the following questions:

📝 Is it easy for me to recognise my emotions?

📝 If I am under stress, which emotion, feeling or sensation emerges first?

📝 Is this emotion located in a specific part of my body?

📝 Is it a good sensation or not?

📝 Is it motivating or, on the contrary, impeding my work?

📝 If it is not a positive sensation, do I know how to transform it into something positive or productive?

Self Management: this is the aspect that allows us to master our emotions, to be in control and give them better use when necessary.
Emotions can be manageable, and even the ones that we feel are negative can be a real asset depending on the situation and the use we make of them.

For instance, the questions that can help us here are:

📝 Is this emotion strong or mild?

📝 Is it a productive emotion?

📝 Is this particular emotion present every time I encounter the same situation?

📝 Can I control this emotion even if I am under pressure?

📝 Do I know how to adapt this emotion?

Social Awareness: recognising emotions in others can help us relate to them better. Happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise are the 6 universal emotions that we can identify in any human being.
Some of the questions that can help us here are:

📝Can I easily recognise emotions in others?

📝Can I change my approach to better understand the other person’s feelings?

📝is there anything I can do to help modify a particularly negative experience that a co-worker or a client is going through? (And yes, you are right if the word that immediately comes to your mind is empathy).

Relationship Management: this area is the one that allows us to have an impact on our company, neighbourhood or community, our daily work with others and any social sphere.
It relates to the emotions and behaviours of others and how we can be of benefit.

Therefore, some of the questions we might ask ourselves here are connected to the emotions that others show in certain circumstances:

📝 Are those emotions positive and constructive?

📝 Am I able to respond appropriately to other people’s emotions?

📝 How do they affect me?

📝 Do I know how to collaborate to change a problematic situation?

📝 And how to gain clarity and work towards a common objective?

📝 Are respect and validation the two strong points in the interaction? What about communication?

By now, you might be wondering, how can I improve my own EIQ?

Developing Emotional Competences (like soft skills, for example) will certainly help to improve social and emotional intelligence quotients.


What is Emotional Intelligence?

It is the ability to understand your emotions and learning how to train your brain to be able to manage them in the best way possible.

Which are the four main areas of Emotional Intelligence?

Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management.