Motivation comes and goes, for all of us. Like any sensation, it arises based on need. For example, if our sense of safety is in jeopardy, we are motivated to take action. If that threat is gone, we lose motivation. Staying motivated to perform daily tasks is difficult for everyone, especially when there’s no tangible reward. It can be especially difficult for those with lower levels of intrinsic motivation, writes Sonia Gibson.
Motivation can be developed
If you don’t naturally feel motivated, you can develop your intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to that sense of achievement you might feel from fulfilling a task, like completing a puzzle. It’s not necessarily about the outcome but rather the satisfaction of the process. It relies on external motivators, like reward or punishment, to inspire action. Intrinsic motivation is independent and makes it easier to remain productive. Fortunately, it is something that can be developed over time and with persistent effort and often happens as a result of implementing regular actions inspired by extrinsic motivators. Basically, this means you can teach yourself to do chores for the satisfaction of the task by starting out with external rewards for doing them.
What motivates you?
A leader is someone who will identify what makes you “tick”, understand what gets you going and use that to inspire you into action. As your own boss, you have to do this for yourself. Identify what motivates you and plan your mundane tasks around this. It still requires discipline but when you find your reason for wanting to do something, it gives you the inspiration to get it done. Look at these different motivators, one (or more) will inspire you to take action when there’s a boring task at hand.
Do you find it rewarding when you are seen as a valued member of a group? Affiliation motivation means you are willing to put in more effort to contribute to the well-being of the group and enjoy a sense of belonging. Develop a rich company culture and allow that brand image to form part of your own identity, you will feel more motivated to make a success of your business.
If you like to get recognition for your skills and abilities, competence motivation might explain what gets you going. If you enjoy studying, improving your knowledge, and building on your skills for the sake of adding to your resume or capabilities, you have competence motivation. Keep yourself focused on your business by expanding your knowledge and skills and ensuring you always implement the new information you learn, rather than just moving on to the next topic of learning.
This form of motivation is extrinsic, it wants external recognition. Examples include getting an award or being publicly acknowledged for efforts and results. Employee-of-the-month programs are a form of achievement motivation. If you find that acknowledgement of a task well done helps you to feel motivated, find a business mentor, a coach, or even a fellow entrepreneur you can share your success with. Post it online and share it with the world, working towards achievement motivation is a great way to keep yourself focused and accountable.
Incentive motivation means you want some sort of positive outcome from your efforts, a reward. When the completion of the task naturally gives you a reward (like getting paid at the end of a job), it’s easier to stay motivated. Knowing you have to do your invoicing before you can get paid motivates you to do your invoicing, even if it’s tedious and time-consuming.
Growing a business is one of the biggest commitments you can make. It can be exhausting to find the resilience to stay motivated when times are tough. Understanding what keeps you focused and where your sense of reward lies can help you to motivate yourself when you need it most.
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