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I was recently introduced to Tony Robbins’ work on the Six Human Needs. I thought it was worth sharing with you.

The context for me was a coaching session where I was the client. I was exploring a relationship breakdown and my contributing behaviours and needs. My coach used the framework to explore the situation with me and it helped pinpoint an underlying need which I had been meeting with some very controlling behaviour.

Many of you will have heard of Tony Robbins. He and Cloe Madanes developed a model which suggests there are six basic human needs, which can be met resourcefully, neutrally, or unresourcefully. In brief, they are:

Certainty – the need for safety, security, stability, comfort, order, predictability, control, consistency

Uncertainty/Variety – the need for variety, surprise, challenges, excitement, difference, chaos, adventure, change and novelty.

Too much control, for example, may create a need for change or chaos.

Significance – the need to have meaning, special, pride, needed, wanted, sense of importance and worthy of love

Love and Connection – the need for communication, unified, approval and attachment – to feel connected with, intimate, and loved by other human beings.

If you spend too much time gaining significance, you may have trouble forming deep and connnected relationships.

The first four needs are described as needs of the personality. The next two are described as needs of the spirit:

Growth – the need for constant emotional, spiritual and intellectual development

Contribution – the need to give beyond ourselves, give, care, protect and serve others.

In my case, I discovered that my behaviours around certainty (moving in, getting married etc) were driven by a lack of emotional safety. As opposed to my partner whose needs for emotional safety were met by variety, novelty and surprise. It’s a work in progress.

I’ve shared all this with you because I came across a quote which provoked my thinking. It has inspired me to trust that I’ll be safe if I’m not always in control. To do the unexpected, and be open to uncertainty, adventure and change.

“Courage is a love affair with the unknown.”