M-CORE: Know Your Motivational Core

Motivational Core Assessment

The M-CORE® assessment is a product of more than 50 years of research into the achievement stories of human persons. This research, conducted by SIMA® International and its founder, Arthur Miller Jr., led to the discovery that when persons describe what they have deeply enjoyed doing and believe they have done well, they each express a unique recurring pattern of motivated behavior.

SIMA® (or the System for Identifying Motivated Abilities®), a narrative based process, results in a motivational pattern oriented around what we call central motivational themes, the driving purposes or motivated 'reasons' for why people do what they do.

M-CORE®, short for motivational core, is distinguished from other computer based assessments because it blends the personalized narrative approach of SIMA®—each client begins by briefly sharing four achievement stories—with psychometric constructs drawn from our empirical research.

This research has determined that there are about 27 different central motivational themes, expressed and combined in various ways. The M-CORE® report identifies the top three central themes out of this possible 27. They are ranked in order. The first expresses the most dominant central theme within three stories of achievement a client reflects upon while taking the assessment. The 2nd and 3rd themes follow respectively.


In the first place it is important to note that all of the founders of M-CORE are Christian men who desire that M-CORE be used for the building up of God’s Kingdom and the sanctification of the world.

Below are five aspects of how M-CORE fits into a Christian and specifically Catholic worldview:



The person is intended to be gift. We reflect God’s triune nature, at least in part, by pouring ourselves out for others in a relational context. M-CORE helps persons understand the kind of gift that they are and how they can best pour themselves out for others. The assessment is about self-discovery for others: How can I best serve? How can I best love?



There are universal norms (for example, the 10 commandments and laws of nature) that human persons must follow in order to flourish. But there are also individual norms, which can only be interpreted in light of the universal ones, that persons should understand about themselves in order to flourish. M-CORE enables people to gain insight into their own distinctive nature so that they can work “with the grain” of their own being and be oriented toward the kinds of action that will best fulfill it.



One of St. Thomas’ definitions of person is dominus sui – master of oneself. As persons we are not to be used as means to the ends of another. Rather we are ends in ourselves and even God in his Providence treats us as ends in ourselves. But to really flourish we must orient ourselves towards the truth. When we do so our freedom is expanded; we are opened up and see more clearly. Here again we must be grounded in the truth of the universal law and the particular contours of unique personal being. I can be more free when I work “with the grain” of my particular being rather than fight against it. Similarly, when I recognize the unique parameters of another person and, in deep empathy, truly see who that person is and act accordingly I can be more free in my dealings with her.



Agere sequitur esse, or action follows being, is a classic Aristotelian-Thomastic maxim that we adhere to. M-CORE is a self-reflective exercise, but it orients people to reflect upon concrete actions in which they were deeply immersed. It helps people understand who they are uniquely—for example, their individual essence—because it is emerges directly from their own authentic actions.



God manifests himself through the diversity of species that he created. The multitude of species, each with their wonderful qualities, gives some indication of God’s own vast beauty. Amen! This point is amplified when we see that each human person, uniquely created, reflects God in a distinctive way. By helping persons understand their own pattern of unique motivated behavior, we can help persons understand the special way that they image God to the world around them.