January 12, 2022
Some mornings you wake up ready to conquer the world!
You bounce out of bed before the alarm, go for a run in the cool morning air, jump in the shower, and feel so energized that you skip the coffee because there are just more important things to do!
At least, we assume some people have mornings like that. A friend of yours probably has mornings like this. Anyway- we’re here to talk about the rest of us.
Motivation is tough to navigate because we always seem to be most motivated to achieve goals at the exact moment that we are unable to take actionable steps toward them. The sensation of motivation can be fleeting, and oftentimes, it vaporizes in the face of hard work, when it is most needed.
So, what do you do when you have big aspirations for your job over the weekend, but the energy isn’t there on Monday morning?
First of all, it’s healthy to recognize that even the most diligent workers will face challenges with motivation. Like any emotion, it simply cannot be turned on all the time.
The most efficient workers have substituted motivation for great routines and consistent habits. These are the things that get the work done on a continuous basis. These are things that can be relied upon, outside of your mood and the question of who showed up with a good attitude and a growth mindset today. It’s always beneficial to have parts of your workday standardized, but when it comes to truly growing and thriving in the workplace, what do you do?
If you’re serious about making changes to how you accomplish goals and rise to challenges throughout your day, the answer might be in an aspect of self-determination theory called intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is fueled by the thrill of doing an activity without being drawn to external rewards. It’s doing something new for the pleasure of learning, it’s exercising for fun, it’s working with curiosity. Intrinsic motivation is not task-oriented but is more effective in inspiring us to action than any carrot dangling from the end of the hamster wheel.
Working toward a specific goal is a noble thing, but sometimes that prize at the end just doesn’t look so shiny. When long-term aspirations seem out of reach we can stop striving for them. A little lack of sleep can make that long-term goal so blurry that we forget why we are working for it in the first place. Finding rewards within your day-to-day activity can keep you satisfied all week long. Compare this mindset to a person struggling to reach a five-year payoff plan. Workers that can lean on intrinsic motivation will know their purpose in the long AND short-term.
Work is a pivotal part of adult life. Intrinsic motivation can be the difference between seeing work as a satisfying and fulfilling means of life and a daily drudge. Finding the parts of your workday which are thought-provoking, require care, or creativity, and using those to energize your workflow can make that difference.
Having that motivation to learn something new, to work autonomously, or to find answers to new challenges can truly be the difference between getting lost in the crowd and standing out when it comes time to reward that work.
Motivation to work toward a single main goal can come and go. The reward of self-determination comes each time you show up and feel that little inspiration that comes with having learned one more thing or having solved one more problem.
Whether you have a particular end goal in mind, or not, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t take the opportunity to be a little bit happier at work. In the face of continuous organization, and ongoing flow of records and other information, it’s valuable to find your personal piece of satisfaction.
So what is it? The creativity it takes to solve client problems? The curiosity of how complex businesses run? The love of learning one new thing each day? Find the things that bring your personal rush of satisfaction and see how your workplace transforms right before your mind.