Not too long ago, I had a trivial encounter with a friend that surprisingly triggered a very angry response from me. I sent her a fun, text message hoping to get a fun reply. Two days later, she still hadn’t replied. It wasn’t like her to ignore my messages. I decided to assume she had lost her phone. Then, she finally replied. She told me she had been too busy to reply sooner.
I don’t know why, but it really pissed me off. I knew I was officially triggered when I couldn’t let go of the anger and heard the building argument in my head. The inner dialogue went something like this: “it takes 30 seconds – tops – to send a text message. Were you really THAT busy? Did you have time to go to the bathroom during those 2 days? It takes longer to go to the bathroom than it does to reply to a text message. Am I THAT low on your priority list? I guess our friendship wasn’t as important to her as it was to me. Wow, I feel like a loser. Her friendship was something I really valued.“ And on and on went the inner dialog.
Has something like this ever happened to you? The thing with getting triggered is that it’s very hard to get out of it once it happens. It’s like a train you can’t stop. The logical side of me knew my reaction was out of proportion to the incident itself, but I just couldn’t stop feeling angry and yucky.
The next day, I had more perspective and realized the trigger was a gift. The incident happened FOR me, not TO me. Why? Because it gave me the ability to see that I was using her friendship as a vehicle to meeting a lot of my 6 basic human needs. More than that, I was confusing the needs with the vehicle. What do I mean by this? It’s time for a lesson on 6 basic human needs. This IS important to the success of your business because I’ve seen my clients do the same thing with their clients or their marketing. In other words, they use their clients as a vehicle for meeting 1 or more of their 6 basic human needs and often CLING to the vehicle (their clients or their marketing or their business) as a form of fulfilling their need.
The 6 basic human needs are part of a theory developed by Tony Robbins. Tony teaches that as human beings we all have needs beyond the needs of food, water and shelter. There are 6 of them, hence the 6 basic human needs. These needs are what differentiate us as humans from all other mammals. These are true needs that we must meet to survive. They are:
- Certainty – the need to know things will be the same as when you left them. The need to get to comfort;
- Uncertainty – if everyday was the same, everything in life was the same, we would be bored out of our minds. So we also have a need for variety or positive surprise;
- Significance – the need to feel important, unique, valuable to others;
- Love/Connection – the need to feel love and connection with others. We are social beings and feeling connected and love with others is part of our DNA. Sometimes love becomes too scary. For those that find this, they settle for connection.
- Growth – if you are not growing you are shrinking. When you shrink too much you die. So we have a hard wired need to grow in all ways, always.
- Contribution – the need to make a difference in others lives.
We go through life constantly looking for ways to fill these needs. What makes us unique from each other is that we all choose to prioritize 2 of these 6 needs over all others. This is called your driving force. One person’s driving force might be Love and Contribution. Another’s driving force might be Certainty and Significance. Their lives will look VERY different on the outside. When you can understand your driving force, it’s empowering because you can finally take control of the steering wheel of your life.
We fill our needs through thousands of vehicles. For example, a successful career man who’s driving force is Certainty and Significance might meet those needs through his work/career. He gets a constant fill of certainty and significance every day he goes to work. A stay at home mom who has the exact same driving force of certainty and significance might meet her needs through her children and volunteering at the school. She meets her need for certainty by controlling her children’s everyday environment and she meets her need for significance through the dependence the school has on her for her volunteer activities.
Vehicles for meeting your needs can be internal or external. For example, if I meet my need for certainty through a ritual of daily running – this is an internal vehicle because I am in control of it. If I meet my need for significance through my clients – this is an external vehicle because I am not in control of their words or behavior.
When we discover that the primary vehicles we are using to fulfill our needs on a daily basis are externally controlled, we are going to feel bad. And often, we cling so tightly to the externally controlled vehicle that we actually mix up the need with the vehicle. In other words, we think we NEED the vehicle to survive, when we just have the need and don’t realize it can be fulfilled in other ways.
And that’s exactly what I was doing with my friend and her friendship. I was mixing up her friendship and the need for certainty, significance and connection. Unconsciously, I was clinging to her friendship as I felt I NEEDED it, when in reality, I just had needs for certainty, significance and connection that were being regularly fulfilled by her friendship. Once I realized that, I felt a huge relief because I remembered that I can find other ways to meet the needs. I was clinging to her friendship because, without realizing it, I felt that feeling bad and yucky were my destiny if I lost her friendship. And the choice to stay in the relationship was in her hands, so it was out of my control. Oooh, that is NOT a good feeling. My trigger event was a gift because I took back my power and committed to meeting those needs with different, internal vehicles.
This pertains to your travel business because it’s very easy to fall into the same trap when it comes to your clients, your marketing or other aspects of your business. They become your primary vehicles for meeting your needs. They are external and you can start to feel like you are clinging to them because you have no control over whether they show up for you or not.
Run through the 6 human needs and identify 3 vehicles you are currently using to fulfill each one of them. Then, label each vehicle as internal or external. Ask yourself, are there needs where your primary vehicles are all external? If so, it’s probably an area of your life that feels bad. This is your explanation as to why and you can do something about. Celebrate that! You can identify new, positive internal vehicles for meeting those needs and put your focus on doing that. I promise, it will feel great.