Published on July 20, 2021

5 Reasons Why Affiliation Motivation Is Important

5 Reasons Why Affiliation Motivation Is Important

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

Have you heard of this quote before? Social behavior is contagious. Maybe you want to believe you have your own will and you’re completely independent of the people around you, but the truth is that we are human beings, and we want to belong. It’s called affiliation motivation. It’s the urge to have personal relationships with other people and to feel like you belong to a group or community.

Even though it’s hard to admit when our ego gets in the way, we want to be liked, and we’ll often go along with whatever the group is doing just for that feeling of belonging. It’s often not a conscious thing. We don’t actively think: “I will do what they do because I want them to like me.” No, it’s our subconscious need for affiliation that drives us to automatically copy the behavior of the people around us.

The “Three Needs Theory”

David McClelland expounds on this subconscious need for affiliation in his “Three Needs Theory,” especially in the context of a workplace. Here, he categorizes these needs into three:[1]

  1. The need for achievement
  2. The need for affiliation
  3. The need for power

You might think it’s obvious that we want to achieve our goals in life and track our progress, that we want to feel somewhat powerful like we have things under control, and that we enjoy winning. But it’s the need for affiliation that happens most subconsciously.

  • Did you ever cross your arms during a conversation with your friend, only to realize he’s sitting with his arms crossed as well? Whoops, affiliation motivation.
  • Did you ever just follow the crowd when trying to find the exit of a building but you had no clue where you were going? Whoops, affiliation motivation.
  • Did you ever decide to be kind to someone who belongs to the team while you actually couldn’t stand this person? Whoops, affiliation motivation.

We all feel these three types of needs, but one might be stronger for you than the others.


Do You Have a Strong Need for Affiliation?

You have a high motivation for affiliation if you recognize yourself in the majority of these statements:

  • You love working in groups.
  • You seem to easily blend in.
  • People tend to like you from the start.
  • You prefer collaborating instead of competing.
  • You avoid high-risk situations and uncertainty.
  • You like spending time socializing and networking.
  • You might feel a strong desire to be liked and loved.

Are you feeling like this is a bad thing? Like you want to be more independent and unaffected by others? Let me show you five reasons why affiliation motivation is actually important. We wouldn’t be able to survive as a society without this need for affiliation. Read on to learn why.

5 Reasons Why Affiliation Motivation Is Important

Here are the five reasons why affiliation motivation is important and how it actually benefits you.

1. Affiliation Motivation Is Necessary for Teamwork

When you have a high need for affiliation, you will automatically fit well into any group setting. You’ll be more adaptive, and you won’t try to stand out, be the leader, or be different. People will call you ‘the glue’ of the group because you think of everyone’s good. Being the middle man comes naturally to you as you know how to take everyone’s needs and wants into account and make sure everyone’s getting along well.

We all want to feel involved in some way, to feel part of a community, and to feel like we get our team’s approval. We are social creatures, after all. So, whether your need for affiliation is high or low, you will find it important to feel like you bring value to a group.

If you are higher in the other needs, don’t worry. Every group needs a leader who has a higher need for power to take the group in the right direction. If your need for achievement is the highest, you will be the team player who encourages everyone to create an efficient plan to reach the group’s goals and measure the group’s achievements.


2. You Develop a Higher Social Intelligence

Bonding with others and maintaining good relationships requires a higher level of social intelligence. You create this ability to almost feel what others are thinking and adapt to them. People with a high need for affiliation often have a more advanced level of empathy. You just know how to talk to people and make them happy. And more importantly, apart from easily making new contacts, you know how to sustain them.

If your need for affiliation is high, you’ll feel very good at networking events. You’ll also be the perfect employee for jobs in customer service or any other job with a high level of social interaction. People naturally feel good around you. You know how to maintain a healthy relationship.

If your need for power is higher, people will tend to look up to you, respect you, and see you as their leader. You will naturally act more from a place of authority. If you have a high need for achievement, people will see you more as the competitive person of the group, which can negatively influence the feeling of connectedness.

3. Affiliation Can Affect Your Healthy Habits

Research shows that increasing similarity between spouses in their health behaviors after marriage positively affects their marital satisfaction.[2] The reason both spouses are happier when they copy each other’s healthy habits is that they’re satisfying each other’s affiliation needs.

The same counts for your group of friends, your colleagues, family members, or roommates. If your friend is a heavy drinker, you’re more likely to increase your intake of alcohol as well. Luckily, the opposite is also true. If you’re eating healthy and taking good care of yourself, you’ll see you will positively influence the people who are close to you.

Our need for affiliation can be so big that we are willing to adopt unhealthy behavior just to belong to a group, even when we know it’s not good for us. Our subconscious mind and our instinctual drive to belong are bigger than our conscious thought process.


Whether you have a very strong need for affiliation or not, this advice counts for everyone: Choose wisely who you spend your time with.

4. Bonding With Others Is a Natural Remedy Against Anxiety

During stressful situations, our need for affiliation increases. Think of the biggest world events and how people all of the sudden take initiative to come together, create a new hashtag, gather donations, and support one another.

When stress is high, we tend to put our differences aside and look for that feeling of unity. We come together and find security with one another. Anxiety decreases when you feel connected to others, knowing they are going through the same situation, feeling the same fears, or understand what you’re going through.

When you connect to a group, you somehow forget about the racing thoughts and fears rushing through your head because you’re part of a greater whole. At that moment, you are the group, not just your own being.

5. Affiliation Makes Us Want to Give Back

It’s the connection and trust we feel towards others that makes us feel like we want to give back whenever they do something nice for us. This sense of reciprocity builds more trust, confidence, and fairness in the relationship, and it’s deeply ingrained in our natural reactions.

Without our need for affiliation, we wouldn’t enjoy it so much when others do something nice for us, and vice versa, we wouldn’t feel that instant urge to give back and be liked and loved by others. Giving makes us happy because we know we’ll be accepted, appreciated, and loved by the other person.


Start to Fulfill Your Need for Affiliation!

Now that you understand that affiliation motivation isn’t just about fitting into the group or wanting to be liked by others but about teamwork, social intelligence, physical health, anxiety, and reciprocity, how can you actively fulfill your need for affiliation?

Here are eight quick tips you can start implementing today!

  1. Do something nice for someone.
  2. Choose wisely who you spend your time with.
  3. Dare to share your fears with others. They might feel the same way!
  4. Join a community that has the same interest like a book club, a language exchange, a hiking club, etc.
  5. Play a game that involves teamwork with your best friends like a treasure hunt!
  6. Find a healthy buddy and team up to change your eating habits, or start exercising together, or start a meditation course.
  7. Tell your friends and family why you appreciate them. Try to get comfortable with mentioning your appreciation more often.
  8. Give hugs!

Follow these tips and start to fulfill your need for affiliation!

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via


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Maya Lombarts

Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach and founder of Healthy High Achievers

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off. Do you know how to get motivated at that moment? What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes? 

Are you excited to get up and go to work, or are you dreading the day and week ahead?

Whatever your response may be, ask yourself this question:

“What is it that makes you feel unmotivated?” What’s driving you to feel negative or positive about your Monday ahead? If you want to know how to get motivated, keep reading.

The Two Types of People

You likely know of people who have been doing the same thing for years and seem to not have any problem staying stagnant. Whether it be in their marriage, job, or personal endeavors, they seem to be getting along just fine without progressing towards anything “better.”

On the other hand, I’m sure you also know of individuals who focus on the positive, goals setting and are constantly pushing themselves to greater heights. Be it promotions at work, building a family, celebrating marriage milestones, traveling more, or going to school again, these individuals seem to constantly progress towards something that improves or enhances their life.

So what’s the difference between these two types of individuals?

What you feel capable of doing comes down to one thing: motivation. It’s the force, or lack of, that keeps driving you forward to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve your goals.

Without motivation, you’ll give up after a few failed attempts, or even on the first tough challenge that comes your way. Or you’ll just remain where you are: unhappy yet not doing anything to progress ahead.


What Is Motivation, Really?

Whether you realize it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life, and it needs to be harnessed in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis. If you find yourself thinking, “I need motivation,” there are specific steps you can take.

Unfortunately, many overgeneralize the word motivation. We think of being either motivated or unmotivated as a simple “yes” or “no” state of being.

But motivation is not a switch. As discussed in the Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, motivation is a flow. To feel motivated, you need to dive beyond the surface. Just reading a motivational quote, being encouraged by your friends or mentor, or writing out a short to-do list won’t help you build sustainable motivation in the long run.

You can think of the motivation that we want to achieve like the Sun (self-sustaining and long-lasting), which supplies a constant influx of energy to all life on Earth. Just like the Sun, your “motivation engine” has different layers, starting from the core and spreading out to the surface. The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core (your internal motivation); and that’s the most important part.

If you can create a self-sustaining motivation engine, you’ll be able to find more meaning in your life and enjoy every minute of what you’re doing, which will make your roles and responsibilities less of a chore. 

Let me help you understand this motivation flow better by breaking down the motivation engine into 3 parts:

  1. Core – Purpose
  2. Support – Enablers
  3. Surface – Acknowledgement

The Third Layer: Surface

The outermost layer, also known as Acknowledgement, encompasses any type of external recognition that might give you motivation. It may come in the form of respect or recognition, such as compliments and praise.

Or it could be emotional support through encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. It could also be affiliation, where you have mutual companions or buddies sharing the same goal or burden with you.

One recent study pointed out that “rewards had a positive impact on work motivation but no significant relationship existed between reward and job satisfaction”[1].


Therefore, it’s important to recognize that rewards will motivate you, but they won’t necessarily make you happier in an undesirable situation.

This is generally what you see on the surface when you look at other people. You see the external acknowledgement, respect, and recognition they’re getting.

The Second Layer: Support

In essence, the second layer of the motivation engine (also known as Enablers) is what supports your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build. Basically, they create favorable circumstances for things to go smoothly.  

If you want to know how to find motivation, positive enablers are key. This could include friends and family, or any support network you’ve created in life.

The Innermost Layer: Core

But what’s most important, and the true driving force behind your motivation flow, is the innermost core, your Purpose. Your purpose is what differentiates the motivated from the unmotivated, the achievers from the underachievers, the happy from the unhappy.

Your motivational core is your Purpose, and it is sustained by two things: having meaning, and forward movement. With these two as a foundation, you’ll have a power source that will feed you motivational energy indefinitely.

If you want to learn more about the Motivation Flow, join our Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation for free now!

How to Sustain Your Purpose

Having meaning is simple. If you want to learn how to find motivation, just ask yourself a question: Why?

Why are you pursuing a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. While motivation provides you energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere. So without meaning, there is no direction for your energy to focus.


Yet, having a meaningful objective doesn’t mean you have to change the world or have a huge impact on society. The secret to meaningful work is simple: it should contribute value to something or someone that matters to you.

One study suggested creativity as one possible path to meaning, saying: “Many of the core concepts in work on the meaning of life, such as the needs for coherence, significance, and purpose or the desire for symbolic immortality, can be reached through creative activity”[2].

Next up is gaining forward movement. In short, this means to just keep moving. Like a snowball, motivation from having progress creates momentum. So to keep this up, you have to keep moving.

The good news is, your progress doesn’t have to be huge for you to recognize it. Small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming. Like driving a car, you may be really impatient if you’re at a complete halt. But, it lessens if you’re moving forward, even if you’re moving slowly.

Creating a simple progress indicator, like checklists or milestones, is a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

This is why video games are so addictive! They’re full of progress indicators everywhere. Even though the progress is completely virtual, they’re still able to trigger the motivation centers in your brain.

Find out What Drives You Today

Why not take some time today and do a quick reflection of where you’re at now? Take one aspect of your life that you’d like to progress further in.

For example, it may be your current job. Start with your why. Write down your reasons for why you’re in the job that you’re in.

Then, think about your Motivation Core: your Purpose. Write down what it is within your job that gives you meaning, and what are some things that will help push you forward in life.


Once you have those points, it’s time to do a comparison. Does your current job help you make progress towards that purpose that you’ve written?

If it does, you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t, or if you’ve realized your life isn’t going where you want it to, don’t panic. There’re tools that can help you get through this. The Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook is one of those effective tools that can help you always stay motivated. Get your own handbook and never lose motivation again!

Do your best to not focus on the negative. Review your goals and aim yourself in a positive direction, even if it means that you start small.

Final Thoughts on Staying Motivated

Happiness doesn’t need to be a vague term or illusion that you’re constantly chasing after with no end in sight. By finding your true motivation, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your happiness and finding meaning in everything you do.

You may have tried many solutions to help you stay motivated and found that none of them really have any impact. That’s because they bring about incremental changes only, and permanent change requires a holistic approach. It requires more than just focusing on one area of your life or changing one part of your routine or actions.

You want to make a fundamental change, but it feels like big, unknown territory that you can’t afford to venture into at this point in your life.

The truth is, taking your life to the next stage doesn’t have to be this complicated. So, if you’d like to take the first step to achieving your life purpose, the time to learn how to find motivation is now!

More on How to Find Motivation

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via


[1] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Reward and Recognition on Job Satisfaction and Motivation
[2] Perspectives on Psychological Science: Finding Meaning With Creativity in the Past, Present, and Future

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