Thursday, December 23, 2010

Motivation Part 2 - Would You Do It For a Medal?

This is the sequel to another post on motivation. To read it click here or scroll back one day.

There is a contingent of people out there who roll their eyes and assume that some women make certain birthing and mothering choices for some sort of medal or badge of honor -- or a new diamond ring, which in Beverly Hills they call a "push prize." Any of us who have given birth naturally or made other pregnancy and birth choices that are counter to the current culture know that extrinsic motivation has nothing to do with it. In fact, if you are interested in some cool facts about extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation, 40 years of studies have proven that a promise of rewards actually has a negative impact on results. What? Yes it's true--in cases that require any amount of creative problem solving.

Here's the experiment that has been repeated for 40 years now: Scientists gave a group of people a problem to solve and told them they would be timing them for norms. They gave another group the same problem and told them that they would be timing them and if they finished in the top 25% they would give them a substantial monetary reward. The group given an incentive took 3 1/2 minutes longer that other group. Sadly, this fact, though well known among social scientists is not widely known in business. If you want to watch a very interesting and entertaining talk on this by Dan Pink you can click here.

I tend to agree with social scientists and Dan Pink when it comes to business, skilled labor, and also pregnancy and birth. True success (whatever that means to you) is most frequently achieved with intrinsic motivation. Specifically, motivation that revolves around three ares:

Autonomy-- The urge to direct our own lives.

Mastery - The desire to be better and better at something that matters to us.

Purpose - Yearning to do what we do in service to something larger than ourselves.

I believe that behind all towards motivation is one of these three values, and I would like to see what readers think. How can you see these motivations at work in your life? Please comment and pass this post on if it is interesting to you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Motivation - Are You Moving Towards or Away From

As a hypnotherapist, many people come to me for reasons involving motivation. Either they want more of it, or they want to better understand their own or others motivations. And so naturally, I have been thinking a lot about motivation and pregnancy and birth.

What are some possible motivations people might have for the choices that they make before, during and after pregnancy and birth? I'm sure this not a complete list, but below is a generic list of motivations.

Higher Purpose

However, these motives don't necessarily tell us the whole story. The big question that you have to ask yourself is, "Is the motivation towards or away from something?" A person may be motivated by love--but when we examine that motivation, it may be a motivation away from loneliness rather than toward a deeper connection with others.

The problem with away from motivation is that it often leads to inconsistent results. For example, pain is usually an away from motivation. "Get me the heck out of this pain!" you say? You will pay anything? People in pain make a lot of promises. Pain comes in many forms (loneliness, poverty, boredom, etc). One could call these people highly motivated. However, as soon as they are a far enough distance from the pain, they become much less motivated. They begin a gradual or speedy slide backward until they are in the same or a similar situation--whether it is financial pain, relationship pain, physical pain or other kinds of pain.

What happens then? If they saw an acupuncturist, they might complain that acupuncture doesn't work. If they saw a marriage counselor, they might complain that marriage counseling doesn't work. You get the picture.

The difference between away from and towards motivation is that when a person is moving towards something, there is always more. More to have, more to grow, and more to work toward, which they can do consistently. Away from motivation is more often characterized by bursts of activity and change and then gradual backsliding.

It in important to consider our motivations in pregnancy, birth and motherhood and examine how we can change away from motivation to towards motivation. For example, a woman might be motivated to have a home birth because of a fear of hospitals. In this case, it might be helpful to explore all the wonderful things about birthing at home, and work on the fear in private prayer and mediation. Hypnotherapy is not the only thing that can neutralize fears. Mediation is also wonderful. The Atonement of Christ covers fears as well as sins, pain, and sorrows.

Another woman might be motivated to have a certain type of birth because she doesn't want to be different than her friends or family. This is also an away from motivation. It would be important for this woman to consider all her options and list all her motivations towards each option. The option to which she feels most towards motivation is likely to give her the most satisfaction with her birth experience.

A woman might be motivated to do a hypnosis for childbirth method because she is afraid of pain. She is motivated by fear, away from pain. Fear and pain are not bad motivations. No motivation is bad, if it gets you doing the right things. Ina May Gaskin says that the more right things you do, the more synergistic they become. It is possible for very dramatic shifts to happen when a mother is open. Soon, pain is the farthest thing from a woman's mind as she moves toward a peaceful, gentle birth.

Feel free to comment, question, share, or think aloud.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Birth Story - Prayer and the Lord's Tender Mercies

This story was sent to us by Shelene Westover. I grew up with Shelene when she had a different last name and so I was surprised to hear from her. It's strange how people you knew way back when aren't allowed to age in your mind. I still thought of her as much younger than me. Then I read her story and I realized just how much we all go through in the process of "growing up." It breaks my heart for all the little ones. And yet. They chose it. We chose it. Shelene's story is a good example of where we can turn for peace.

When my husband first started having health difficulties, I was four months pregnant with our second child. At the time, it all seemed to happen so slowly, but in retrospect, it really flew past us. Before we knew it, we learned we were expecting a boy and then learned that my husband was in need of a bone marrow transplant. We felt confident and positive throughout the process and even up until the day he died, we were optimistic. Now I look back and see that may have actually been denial. I suddenly found myself a single mother of a 21 month old daughter and a soon to be born son. Never before had my prayers been so sincere as they were that summer. I couldn't understand why Heavenly Father would take a good, hard working father from a happy family, and I can't say that I understand now either. However, through this I knew that I needed my Heavenly Father more than anything and he was the only comforter I could find solace with now. People were so kind and loving, but the only one who could bring me comfort was the Lord. I knew where I could turn for peace and He was always there. It was in these trying times that I was humbled and blessed by my Heavenly Father.

I was given so much advice from caring people, but also, people who had no idea what I was going through. One person gave me a book about a woman who was in a similar situation as I was. In this woman's book, she recounted several experiences where she saw and even had conversations with her late husband. This gave me hope, and I kept waiting for my turn to have an experience like hers. I never did have an experiences like hers, but I did have an experience that my Heavenly Father knew was what I needed. In the last moments of labor and pushing, I suddenly came to a realization that my late husband was there, I could feel his hand on my arm, and I could feel his presence in the room. I knew if I turned my head to look, I wouldn't see him, but I didn't need to see him. I could feel him, and that was good enough for me. In that bittersweet time of my life, my Heavenly Father blessed me.


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