There are five primary needs that everyone has in common: The need for security, the need for connection, the need to be autonomous, the need to feel competent, and the need to feel worthy. Each of these needs is a core part of human nature. Today, let’s talk about the need to be autonomous.
One Thing to Think About
Your need for autonomy requires that you feel free to self-govern. When you have the power to act and speak freely, your sense of independence and spontaneity increases. Essentially, you must feel that your life is one of your choosing. You must believe that you have the ability to make decisions for yourself, to make your own plans, and to adjust your life direction should you decide to.
The need for autonomy can be satisfied in a number of highly productive ways. Invariably, small business owners have a strong need for autonomy. They address this desire by moving in an entrepreneurial direction and create a great deal of value in the process. Conversely, a less productive strategy for meeting this need could involve a resistance to commitment, which greatly hinders life and work progression.
Here are three ways in which you meet your need for autonomy.
Own the Truth of Choice. You are always free to choose. You have to do very little in your life. Granted, there may be repercussions associated with not taking certain actions, such as going to work or paying your bills, and it’s a fact of life that things may happen to you that you have no control over. Still, you choose how you’ll deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.
Maintain Independence. When you are independent, you are self-governing. You assume responsibility for your life and your choices. This doesn’t mean that you won’t develop interdependent relationships with others. But it does mean that you will assume responsibility to manage your life and work and that you will engage with others out of a genuine desire to connect versus a desperation to be rescued.
Commit Consciously. Many of your most amazing life experiences will come about as a result of your willingness to make a commitment. Carefully considered and consciously made commitments will support you in living your best life. Conversely, hastily made commitments can significantly diminish your ability to feel free.
One Question to Answer
In which of these ways are you meeting your need for autonomy, and in which of these ways are you not meeting your needs or meeting them through unproductive or negative strategies?
One Challenge to Take
1. Define the method you’ve adopted to satisfy your need for autonomy.
2. Identify at least one empowering and one disempowering behavior related to this need.
3. Consider how you might make the disempowering strategy more positive. How could you shift your approach while still meeting your need?
4. Commit to integrating this improvement into your life.