“Because self-motivators are used to constantly learning new skills and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone, they are able to quickly adapt to changes in the world around them because they are used to dealing with these challenges.” – Jon Guerrera

In our last post we took a look at the importance of being self-motivated and productive in today’s labour market. Whether you’re the boss, work in a large company, or work for yourself, being motivated is an essential skill if you want to get ahead.

Isn’t All Motivation Self-motivation?

Motivation is a theoretical construct used to explain behaviour, the reasons for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is what causes a person to want to repeat a behaviour – as when we form habits.

There are many perspectives on motivation theories, and working adults are familiar with rewards programs, bonuses, and organizational incentives designed to encourage performance. But external motivation works only for a limited time and not in all situations.

Many people are familiar with Maslow’s Pyramid or Hierarchy of Needs. According to American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow, people are motivated by unsatisfied needs. The needs, listed from basic (lowest/earliest) to most complex (highest/latest) are as follows:

  • Physiology (hunger, thirst, sleep)
  • Safety (security, shelter, health)
  • Belongingness and Love (intimate relationships, friends)
  • Esteem (prestige and feeling of accomplishment)
  • Self-actualization (achievement of full potential – can never be fully accomplished)

While this list of needs explains why people become motivated, it doesn’t provide applicable tips as to how to use this information to boost your own self-motivation.  It is helpful, however, for linking meaningful values to goals, as discussed further on.

Self-motivation involves higher levels of personal involvement that motivate us beyond contracts or expectations of others. When we are driven to express our own desires, interests, values, and strengths, we can achieve incredible levels of development and performance. It’s termed intrinsic motivation because it comes from internal sources.

Nothing is stronger than intrinsic motivation, and when we connect with it, we exert considerable effort without any expectation of reward. The performance itself becomes its own reward. When we use internal capabilities of self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-motivation, we act in ways that enhance knowledge, trust, and personal power–all fundamental to success.

In your own experience, what do you find a more powerful motivator – external rewards such as bonuses, or internal motivation such as the pleasure of a job well done? As always I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, you can reach me here or on LinkedIn.

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