Whether you are motivated by extrinsic things – money, accolades, promotions — or intrinsic feelings – the satisfaction you feel when you reach a goal or the desire to improve yourself – or, ideally, both – these can help determine how successful you will be at your job.
The best motivation comes from a combination of both factors. Consider that if you are in sales, you really want to beat your goal from last month, but you also appreciate the increased pay check that comes with more commissions. Those two outcomes in tandem will help you do your best.
But what about the times that you don’t feel motivated? Maybe despite your best efforts and your hard work, the sales aren’t coming easily, or the economic climate means that your entire department or company is struggling. That’s when you have to look inside yourself and look to the finish line – the ultimate silver lining that things will improve. It’s what we call the “hang in there” moment.
A positive attitude can be a major asset in your motivation. If you start each day feeling positive that you will achieve your goals, you are far more likely than the pessimist who is constantly seeing obstacles in his way. If you see setbacks as temporary, rather than permanent, it is easier to maintain that state of mind.
And there are times when work is not going your way and you have to pick another point of motivation. Maybe it’s doing the best you can but working as fast as you can, so you can leave work on time and see your friends or family. Perhaps it’s achieving a tough goal for the monetary bonus that might come with it, and envisioning what you will do with that bonus.
Setting SMART goals is a big part of the motivation process. If you aren’t consistently setting goals – both big and small – that are Specific; Measurable; Actionable; Realistic; Time Bound (that means they have a deadline), you won’t be able to measure your progress. Progress is motivating!
Setting clear cut goals, especially for small pieces of a project, and reveling in satisfaction when you achieve them, can be a huge motivator. It can help keep you going when a process seems long and challenging, to celebrate those small successes. And remember that helping the entire team celebrate little victories can help keep everyone motivated. If you’re the boss, don’t underestimate the importance of helping motivation by doling out praise and congratulations. And even if you’re not the boss, you can contribute to a culture of motivation by being the team member or employee who is consistently positive.
By setting clear goals, staying focused on them and celebrating steps toward reaching them you can help keep yourself and the team on track for success through motivation – whether it’s intrinsic, extrinsic or both.