Someone asked me the question "How does the NLP idea of stating goals in the positive work with people who have an 'away from' motivation?"
Put simply, people who have "away from" motivation are motivated to avoid what they don't want (Eg. an accountant focusing on avoiding mistakes, or an insurance assessor focusing on avoiding paying out cash).
In contrast, people who have "towards" motivation are motivated to move towards what they want, or the benefits of getting it (Eg. an entrepreneur who is focusing on creating a certain lifestyle, or a teacher who is focusing on their students being able to demonstrate certain skills.)
The question above was raised in response to the NLP idea that a "well-formed" goal should be stated in the positive, ie. saying what you want rather than what you don't want.
Here's an analogy.
Two chaps walk into a pub, both wanting a pint.
Biff wants a pint because he’s had a rough day at work, & wants to stop feeling stressed (an “away from” motivation).
Skip wants a drink because he’s celebrating closing a big deal, & wants to lift his mood even higher (a “towards” motivation).
But when the barman asks what they want, they both say “A pint of lager”. They recognise intuitively that saying something like “To not have a dry mouth” will not get them what they want. They realise that in order to get what they want, they need to state their goal in the positive, telling the barman what they want rather than what they don't want.
The two men have different “motivation directions”, and that’s absolutely fine, but they still state their goal in the positive in order to get an effective result.
Let me be clear: Biff has not changed his motivation direction; it’s still “away from”. It’s his GOAL that’s stated in the positive.
(By the way, neither Biff nor Skip has received any NLP training. They are not aware of metaprograms, & haven't in fact given any of this any conscious thought. Their neurologies have automatically sorted all of this out without them even thinking about it consciously).
The distinction is between the goal, & where the person gets the motivation to achieve it.