The Success Orientations Model


What are success orientations?

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For Career Counselors, Career Coaches, Life-Skill Coaches and Related Professionals

The Success Orientations model is a powerful cognitive tool for helping people achieve insights into several aspects of their lives, including:

  • their present behavior patterns
  • the childhood influences that shaped the patterns of how they go about achieving success in the world
  • the emotional impacts of alignment and misalignment with their natural success orientation mix.

Applying the model is simple and powerful. Here is a real case study to see how the model can be used by coaches and counselors

A Real Case Study:

This simple case study captures the essence of how success orientations can be used to help raise self-awareness and empower the individual with self-confidence, clarity, and tools for making better decisions and interacting with other people more effectively and comfortably. This "mild" example was chosen specifically because it is not a traditional counseling or coaching issue and therefore the focus is on how the success orientations model works. Success orientations as a counseling and coaching tool can be used when dealing with far more complex and challenging situations.

Robert, 18 years old, works in small urban bakery. Goods are prepared and baked throughout the day and evening, starting at 4am and going through to 7pm or later. There is no fixed schedule for when goods are baked as most of the products, aside from bread, are baked a day in advance.

Two people run the bakery - the owner and the head baker, both nice people. Several other staff work on baking and customer service, including Robert.

The first boss, the owner of the business, handles the creation of cakes and deals with customers. This boss is a relationship and goal oriented person. He tells Robert:

"Oh, come in around 10 o'clock! You need to make 600 muffins today."

The second boss, the head baker, is very process oriented and is the person who provides the most direction for Robert during the day. He tells Robert:

"You were 10 minutes late today. Don't make it a habit."

Robert is confused and doesn't know what is right: Should he come in when he is ready, sometime around 10am and focus on creating the muffins, or should he focus on being before or on 10am and not worry about what is being made that day?

Robert finds himself in a stressful situation. If he is a few minutes late, he signs himself in on the time he actually comes in, so he is not cheating the bakery. He likes coming in more casually around 10 o'clock (not focusing on time and process) and enjoys the challenge of producing 600 beautiful muffins in the day (focusing on the goal), which he does well. Not worrying about being on time makes him more relaxed and when he does a good job making the muffins in the day, he gets complements from the owner.

The stress, however, comes when he worries that the head baker, also a nice person, might judge Robert on his punctuality and not really on his achieving the goal. Robert feels that he is being watched for time and not for the quality of his work. Robert even begins having nightmares about being late for work and his enjoyment of his job begins to deteriorate. These nightmares are reinforced by past experiences, such as by his father's process orientation, when Robert was always harried to be at school on-time.

Awareness --> Emotional Freedom --> Options ---> Action --> Follow-up

Up front or just-in-time career and/or life-skill counseling and coaching can help Robert with the emotional impacts of such conflicts and the alignment of his true nature with work and life choices that will help him be truly happy. Robert's situation is extremely common - in fact virtually everyone who works experiences success orientation conflicts and misalignments at some point in their careers - typically early on, as in Robert's case.

Step 1: Raise Awareness

Help Robert become aware of his natural success orientation mix and the fact that his natural orientation is neither "good" nor "bad". In this case, Robert is very goal oriented and a minor process orientation. He understands the time situation his head baker boss is stressing, though he enjoys being rewarded for achieving goals - the quality of his work and achieving 600 muffins in a day - not whether he is on time or not.

Cognitive awareness of his natural orientation and how that is different from the head baker and boss can help him get an "AHA!" insight.

From this insight an internal reflection cycle can begin, which is one of the most powerful benefits of the Success Orientations model - it drives reflection on relationships of all kinds - Parent-child, sibling, teacher-student, relationships to institutions, and other influential aspects of a person's life.

Step 2: Emotional Freedom

Releasing the emotional impacts of the internal conflict is the next step. The cognitive (mind) awareness can now be matched with an emotional release component that frees Robert from the "grip" on his mind that the conflict creates. Once he is free of the emotional grip, he is free to choose an alternative way of being for himself. Until freedom from the emotional impact is achieved, however, Robert may be "stuck" and all further discussion and work wasted.

Most people can get some or much immediate relief from the emotional impacts of success orientation conflicts and misalignments right after the cognitive awareness of the conflict is achieved. In this case, however, the years of being encouraged to focus on process may have left Robert with deeper emotional scars. Various techniques for releasing the emotions are available, but are not the focus of this case study.

Step 3: Options

Once the emotional impacts have been released or cleared, the underlying conflict can now be addressed. First, identification of options at a cognitive level helps Robert get a clear sense that like most situations in life, there are a variety of options available that he may not have considered before. In his more grounded and clear emotional state, Robert can now see his situation in light of the wider ranges of options and responses.

Options include one or more of the of the following:

  • Always planning on arriving at 9:45am so as to remove the issue of being a few minutes late
  • Talking to the head baker and the owner about Robert's wish to focus on quality and the goal
  • Not worrying about time but trusting that the quality of his work will speak for itself
  • Finding another bakery where Robert's natural orientations will be more supported
  • ...

Step 4: Action

Robert needs to make a decision about how he should deal with this conflict, based on the options discussed and any other considerations. He may be able to make an immediate decision or may have to consider the situation for a while.

In either case, Robert is more empowered and self-confident as a result of the insights, emotional release, and awareness that this situation is not his fault and that he has not done anything wrong. He likely can't change his boss' ways of thinking, though he can help them become aware of the conflicting values if they are open to discussing it and if he is feeling mature and confident enough to address it with them.

Step 5: Follow-up

Follow-up in future counseling and therapy is an extremely valuable step for reinforcing not only the specific learning in this case, but more importantly that most problems can be worked through systematically both at a cognitive and emotional level and there is no need to get to the point of nightmares. Issues can be dealt with quickly and effectively by getting practice at identifying root causes, seeing success orientation patterns, releasing emotional impacts and then creating new beliefs, mental "scripts" and desires for how we wish to go about life.

Follow-ups can also be done by a quick email or phone call, if a full counseling/therapy session is not desired. Even this quick contact with a client may be valuable for him/her in reinforcing a sense of empowerment.

Case Study - What happened later

Several months later Robert quit the job, wanting to work in another bakery where the values of quality and goal take precedent over time and process. He chocks his time in this bakery up to "another learning experience" and feels more empowered, self-confident, and aware that options exist. He also knows his own success orientation mix and understands that his mix is not "bad" or "wrong" - just that a good fit with the expectations of his future employer will likely help him enjoy his overall work experience far more.

Do you have a case study that resonates with this example? Please contact us through the Success Orientations web site and let us know so we can expand uses of this model. Thank you!

 

 

If we are not self-aware of our success orientations, then how we see the world shapes our emotional responses.

When this view is challenged or when we are faced with people and situations that do not fit with that view, confusion, stress, and conflict can result.

 

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