Text -- 304-412-4065 Danny@DannyPettry.com

Do you need motivation?

This is your motivation to get up and go to work every day?

The Old Approach to Motivation:

Extrinsic rewards and punishments might buy short-term change, but they don’t buy long, heartfelt changes.

  • Rewards may include: salary, recognition.
  • Punishments may include: suspension, being fired, and losing salary and recognition.


Rewards and punishments are like the dangling carrots (rewards) and using switches (punishment) approach to getting a stubborn donkey to move.

That approach might work on animals, but you’re not an animal.

You’re a human being with a larger pre-frontal cortex compared to animals.


So what works for humans?

It has to do with a higher level functioning in the brain.

Aaron Skonnard (2020, Aug 13) had written an article for Inc. titled: The One Word That Can Make You a Motivational Leader — “Why”-centered leadership can help motivate your teams from within and create better business results

The word is: “why.”

Skonnard cites Simon Sinek’s popular book, Start with Why.

Why do you do what you do?

What Focused

People with low levels of motivation may be operating on carrots and sticks.

They ask what questions. In example:

What do I have to do today (in order to avoid punishment and to earn carrots).

Why Focused

Those high-achievers are people with more of an intrinsic approach. They start with why.

  • Why am I getting up today?
  • Why am I driving or getting to this work?
  • Why is this work so important to me and the world?

They’re part of something bigger.


Recreational Therapist Examples:

What-based Rec Therapist:

What do they do? Provide activities for clients.

A “What” recreational therapist might say: I take clients to the café, the gym, and the rec room.


Why-based Rec Therapist:

Why do they do this? To help a person make a transformation.

A “Why” recreational therapist might say things like:

  • Why am I taking them to the café? I’m teaching them interpersonal skills and how to be successful in society.
  • Why am I taking them to the gym? I’m teaching them healthy ways to stay fit and to regain physical abilities.
  • Why am I taking them to the rec room? I’m teaching them healthy ways to cheer up and to practice improving interpersonal skills.
  • Why am I taking them on an outing to the mall? I’m teaching them how to get back to fully participating in society.



Start with WHY.

Why do you do what you do?



Are you the kind of rec therapist who loves learning and growing? If so — check out our self-study continuing education courses.

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