Are You Compelled Or Impelled?

Philosophy

Interesting question, and one that seeks to find the root of all motivation…

Do you do what you want and are you authentic, or are you constantly driven by external forces and expectations? Listening to that inner voice is something that was explored within the Johari window model…

Remember, it is not easy to recognise as fear masquerades as hope all of the time. One of the tells is to recognise that the goal you are following is someone else’s dream – not yours! You may convince yourself that you want it, but if you want it to please or impress another – then it has its roots in fear! Fear of disappointing your family, your colleagues and so on… so… It takes courage to hope authentically!

The concept of impel vs compel could be likened to the proverbial carrot and stick… When internal goals and ideas are truly bought into by an individual, it could be argued that the motivation is close in relation to that of a hope based goal rather than a fear based one. Fear based goals usually compel us to move away from them rapidly – and overcome inertia quickly. Once the danger has passed, we generally stop moving. This translates into short term motivation. The moving away is usually reactive rather than based on coherent vision and strategy – which means that we may run up a blind alley in our haste (literally or metaphorically). Hope goals on the other hand are designed for the long haul. When we are impelled, we have the internal will and want. Hope acts like a beacon, or lighthouse to remind us of the general direction of travel, and the willpower keeps us moving.

Hope-based motivation is explored in more detail within my two faces article.

The potential implications and applications for leaders and coaches to impel rather than compel are many. Start the process by looking inwards and try to identify moments where you are compelled or impelled, or compel / impel others. I would be very interested to spark up a discussion on this, and to see some working models and interventions…

Of course, I would rather impel you to do this than compel…

This Article was written by Reece Coker SAC Dip, Dip,ed, MITD, MSc
Ex-military, expert in counter terrorism, Close Quarter Combat and a Psychologist, Reece is passionate about helping victims of violence grow and flourish post traumatically. Reece has studied and researched the...