Developing your inner motivation

This coronavirus crisis will end. Just like any other crisis. And when we get to the other side, will you be prepared?

What can you do now to position yourself to emerge stronger on the other side?

Perhaps it’s time to end your dependence on extrinsic motivation.

The majority of education and work is organised around extrinsic motivation. For years, grades and academic achievement, followed by pay and status, were the carrots motivating us to advance as individuals.

Now that we are all forced to be at home, will the quality of our work be affected? Is working and studying from home impacting your productivity?

There might be more distractions at home, especially when trying to work when you have family members around under the same roof the entire day. But perhaps if you really reflect on yourself, a large part of it has to do with your inner motivation?

Do you wake up later? Do work slower? Or procrastinate even more? I surely had. And no, I wouldn’t want to have to resort to having a boss or authority figure check on me all the time.

Developing your inner motivation

I’m glad that during my only real employment that wasn’t an internship, I wasn’t micro-managed at all. All I had was my boss’s vision, and I had to figure out how to execute it. Of course, there was a process of feedback involved. And we worked together as a team towards the outcome that we were all invested in. And through the process, I learnt the importance of inner motivation in the work that we do.

If we are not self-motivated, no amount of KPIs, bonuses and other rewards are going to help us do great work. In fact, incentives might even be detrimental. But the following 4 points might help you in developing your inner motivation.

You must take responsibility

Be responsible for your work. You might not be able to share in the profits of the business. But learning to take responsibility for your work will help you take ownership of the work you do.

Yes, some companies might use you up and toss you away if you become more and more responsible. But that doesn’t mean that you should try to get away with doing as little as you can while still keeping your current job.

You need to be interested in what you do

Work helps us to pay the bills. There is no doubt about the practical aspect of it. But beyond that, are you able to develop a passion for what you do? Sure, not everything is enjoyable. But if you have nothing but complaints, then why stay in the job?

Some progress is better than none

Sometimes, it’s hard to make progress. Especially when working alone. Online interactions just don’t feel the same as working and learning with each other in person. With every day that passes, just try to improve from the previous day. Some progress is better than nothing. So don’t stress yourself out if you don’t see the kind of progress you expect.

Stay curious

Everything might not go back to what it was like before this crisis. But that’s ok. Even if we shift towards a new normal. You can continue learning. And to reinvent yourself.

In fact, there are some free courses (here and here, and many more) that you can check out (courtesy of a friend who sent those links). They might help you as you pivot towards doing your work online. You could try learning to code too.

A time to refocus on what’s important

This Easter weekend is important for me as I refocus on what’s important for me: the messages of hope and life.

It might be a good time for you to refocus on what’s important for you too. Instead of relying on external punishments and rewards to get you through the future, why not start developing your inner motivation to position you to thrive in the long run?

After all, as we’ve seen during this COVID-19 crisis, jobs can disappear overnight. But what your employers can never take away from you are the skills that you’ve developed and the drive inside of you that keeps you going.

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