The Six Core Needs and their importance in business and life

I recently presented the Six Core Needs model at a business meeting and one of the attendees exclaimed: “Where was this a year ago when I needed it. This is great.” So it prompted me to share with my network. Hope you find it useful.


The Six Core Needs model was first developed by Tony Robbins and represents corner stones, foundations, the invisible driving forces that determine why you do what you do; why you like what you like; how you spend your spare time; why you are attracted to the career you have; it explains why we have the relationships we have and the quality of those relationships in our lives.

Everyone is motivated to satisfy their Six Core needs – their individual priority may be different for different people at various stages in their lives. This is relevant both in the business context and in your personal life.

Resourceful or Un-Resourceful Needs?

Before we look at the Six Core needs its important to note that one of the principles of the Core Needs concept of human needs psychology is that they can each be met in either a resourceful or an un-resourceful way by each of us. And that’s an individual choice.

They can be met with responsibility in a sustainable, high quality way, or they can be met irresponsibly with a victimhood mentality which is not sustainable, of low quality and un-resourcefully. So as we go through these needs thinks about both resourceful and un-resourceful ways you could satisfy these needs.

The Six Core Needs

So let’s go through the Six Core needs:

They can be classified into two categories: The first 4 needs are needs of the personality; and the last 2 are the needs of the spirit.


The first Core Need is the need for certainty – also known as our need for safety and comfort. We have a need to feel secure and content and a lot of our actions and activities are directed towards this need. This need is all about our need for structure, having clear directions, and knowing what’s coming next. In business, having a clear career path and stable income stream for example would be satisfying our need for certainty.

The second need which may appear as a paradox, is the need for variety and adventure, or the need of variety or uncertainty.
On the surface these needs appear as opposites, however they really are complementary to each other. For example, if you’re feeling bored – that pretty much is feedback that your environment is saturated in certainty and predictability. The antidote, of course, is uncertainty, adding some variety. So there is a balance required where both needs are met resourcefully.

The 3rd Core Need is our need for significance. Significance is our feeling of importance, of being recognised, our feeling of being validated, our perception of being important in the world. That’s an important realisation to have when you aSix Core Needs tablere with someone – everyone is driven to some extent by significance.

Everyone wants to feel validated…even if it’s simply complimenting someone or by acknowledging what they’re saying. If you can fulfil the need for significance in a positive, empowering, sustainable, resourceful way in your personal or business relationships, then those people are going to want to come back for more.

A lot of people are starved of significance and some may un-resourcefully do something crazy to get attention. An extreme example would be a suicide attempt, to get attention from those who love and care for them.

The 4th Core Need is our need for love and connection. In the absence of love most people will settle for some form of connection.

  • Resourceful connection is all about sharing, supporting, connecting through nature, through religion, and through relationships in general. Team activities like general sports, cycling teams, and other club or groups all represent ways of resourcefully meeting our need for connection<
  • Un-resourceful ways of meeting our need for connection include the feeling of being needy; self harm; immersing in unhealthy relationships. It’s is more about the drama and problem than the relationships and people.

So they are the 4 Core Needs of the personality: the need for certainty, the need for variety; the need for significance, and finally the need for love and connection.

The 5th and 6th Core needs are the needs related to the spirit; they are respectively the need for Contribution and the need for Growth.

Through personal development and learning we fulfil the need for growth in our lives. This core need is what compels us to mature and evolve as human beings. We need to constantly develop emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. There is a universal law about growth: everything is either growing or dying – there is no middle ground. Anything that you want to remain in your life – be it your wealth, your health, your relationship, your happiness, or your success – must be cultivated, developed, expanded, otherwise it will degenerate. As such, in order to keep what you have, you have to keep growing it.

Finally we all share the need for contribution which is manifested in our desire to serve those around us and give, rather than simply receive. Contribution is about sharing what we have with others. You observe this with philanthropists and millionaires who start charity foundations.

Through contribution of our energy, time, attention, focus, money etc to our partner, our family, the people we work with, and the society as a whole, we extend who we are.

How do you use this in Business?

Business_people_in_officeThe Six Core needs are just as relevant and useful in business as they are in life in general.

In sales for example, with you few simple questions you can determine what the driving factor is in a client’s motivation to purchase. By identifying their motivation, you can appeal to that factor and close the sale quicker.

In the purchase of a car for example:

  • is the buyer looking for safety and security (certainty) or
  • are they looking to escape the hum drum (variety).

As a sales person, you can more readily appeal to this need.

As a manager, gain a sense of which need is looking to be satisfied by your subordinate. This can vary throughout a career, so get a sense of where they sit and appeal to that need.

  • Are they looking for more certainty – security of role and pay increase?
  • are they looking for variety as they are bored – give them a broader role?
  • are they needing connection – have them work on projects with others?
  • or are they seeking significance where a simple thank you for a job well done can go a long way?

Overall though, keep in mind that we are seeking a balance in all six of these cores needs….at times some are more “needed” that others.

I hope you’ve learned something new and that it has helped clarify how appreciating the Six Core Needs model can influence how – and with who -you spend your time and gain the most satisfaction, whether it’s for your personal or business life.

Please share it with family and friends so that they too can gain from this information.