Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Power of Intrinsic Motivation

What motivates you? What drives you to do your best each day at work and/or home? Is it something internal - a desire to accomplish your personal goals and perform something truly meaningful to you? Or is it something external like a big salary, a nice car or a fancy house?

I read an interesting article the other day on building and motivating teams. It focused on the importance of intrinsic motivation - the motivation that comes from within a person, as opposed to extrinsic motivation, which is tied to external rewards. According to the article, the best way to motivate a team is to fill it with people that truly care about what they do. Not because of the great benefits, but just because they really love it.

After thinking about it more in-depth, I'd have to agree. When I'm at work I'm motivated by working on projects that inspire me, things that I care about and believe in. I'm happier when I work on those types of projects and in the end that makes me want to work harder. One example is diversity. It's a passion of mine, probably because my family is diverse by having a child with special needs.

I've had the opportunity to work on a few projects that focus on diversifying the workforce in our company and I really enjoyed it. Connecting with all types of people, and seeing how their unique talents can come together to make an organization stronger, really inspired me. I wasn't paid any more to do the work (most of it was actually done after-hours on a volunteer basis) but I was motivated.

I think everyone is still motivated by money and job titles (there wouldn't be a corporate ladder if we weren't!) but doing what you love is just as important. If you don't believe in what you do, or what you sell, then no one will believe in you!


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