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How to Find Your Inner Motivation at Work

“How’s at work?” it is a question that is often asked to us by our loved ones and when we answer, we probably think about the difficulties we face or the discomfort/distress we feel towards our work.

If this is your case, don’t worry because you are not alone.

The work environment has changed a lot in recent years and has become a source of stress and anxiety. Lack of future objectives, frequent changes within the organisation with consequent change of bosses, external and internal competition, digitalisation that transforms working methods and requires the acquisition of new skills, managers who sometimes are incompetent but under pressure for corporate objectives, excessive workload and stress are some of the issues you may experience.

People look for motivation at work, an inner motivation more than extrinsic (namely money, even though it plays a big role).

Two factors are particularly conducive to the development of intrinsic motivation: competence – being good at what you do – and autonomy – the possibility of organising your working day and tasks as you wish.

Think at the times when you can you engage in something that requires effort even without any apparent reward. Why, for instance, would apprentice pianists spend hours alone on their keyboard? Most probably because they are motivated by the regular discovery of new sensations. Inner motivation is nourished by the cerebral circuit of reward, that is very sensitive to novelty and positive feedback. Ultimately, it is rooted in the pleasure you experience in performing certain tasks.

There are some skills that may help you feel better at work, but not only, and find your own inner motivation. Have a look:
  1. Accept imperfection: your own, the one of others and the one of the environment. Perfectionism is an important source of your suffering. Being 100% consistent, rejecting your own failures, setting too ambitious goals, all this may lead to a situation of permanent dissatisfaction. A step towards serenity would be accepting the obstacles of everyday life, making choices, asking what the best future path would be rather than thinking about what could have been.
  2. Stimulate your own initiative and your ability to act. At work, but also in life, you can decide to be pro-active or reactive. The reactive person is affected by what happens and follow the signals of the environment, both negative and positive. The pro-active person takes the initiative and chooses how to respond to the events. Faced with a difficulty, the reactive person will say “I can’t do anything about it” while the pro-active one will say “let’s see what options we have”. Developing your own pro-activity means being inclined to action and putting your creativity, intelligence, and energy at the service of what you can do here and now.
  3. Strengthen your self-esteem. You are the first responsible of yourself and the first sponsor of your well-being. This may seem obvious, but it is essential to love yourself, listen to your needs (body and soul needs) and try to satisfy them. It is also important to respect yourself despite your own defects, fragilities, and imperfections, to appreciate and recognise your own values ​​and qualities, to celebrate successes and achievements. Furthermore, in difficult situations, it is essential to protect yourself, to learn how to say no, and to communicate your limits, so not to put yourself in danger.
  4. Develop empathy and learn to communicate effectively with others. Most of our difficulties at work are related to relationships. Whether they are with managers, colleagues, customers or suppliers, the relationship with the others can be a source of frustration and sometimes of real suffering. For this relationship to become healthier, more effective, and more serene, empathy may be the solution. First, respect others and avoid judging them. You do not know them. They may have the same or even more serious problems than you. Then try to get in touch with them by understanding their experience, their feelings, and their needs but at the same time trying to identify the points that you have in common. Communicate sincerely also your emotions, and your needs while maintaining an open mind towards that person.
  5. Cultivate a learning attitude and practise the ability to learn. To face the unexpected and the difficulties, it is essential to always learn. The attitude of the person who wants to learn consists in accepting that the learning path always goes through a phase of incompetence and confusion. Before mastering a subject or finding a solution to a problem, it is normal to feel lost in uncertainty and doubt. Therefore, you need to learn to manage these moments as calmly as possible. Remember that you learn from your mistakes. A failure is not a decision or a judgment, but rather a result, an answer to an attempt you have made. From this unexpected result, you can learn lessons that will serve as a basis for making other attempts that will then lead to the solution of your problem. You also can learn from the others. Moreover, it is important to accept feedback, if you want to improve. Do not hesitate to question yourself and try to find important or useful information from the exchange with others. The person prone to learning considers all experiences as an opportunity for personal growth, ultimately for their evolution.

Hopefully, this post has motivated you!

This post is a re-editing version of the one previously published on my personal blog

close up photo of person playing piano
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on

5 thoughts on “How to Find Your Inner Motivation at Work

  1. Wonderful advice Cristie – I think it’s important to specialise in what you are. Make sure the job is suited to one’s personality. Otherwise it can feel like you’re constantly pushing a boulder uphill. We Understanding ourselves goes a long way to finding that inner motivation. 🙏

  2. Great post! I especially agree with the learning aspect of the advice. Learning whatever you can helps overcome fears, failures, and addresses curiosities. This is why we should never stop learning

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