Wouldn’t it be great if you could wake up in the morning wanting to work? In this scenario, you wouldn’t consider work a burden. Instead, you would consider it a source of happiness and fulfillment. Wouldn’t that be a great way to live?
The problem, of course, is making that a reality. Doing so requires you to understand the factors behind work motivation.
In his book Drive, Daniel Pink wrote that – based on studies – there are three factors for work motivation:
- Autonomy: the control you have over your work. The more you can control what to do and when to do it, the more motivated you are.
- Mastery: the sense of progress you get. The more you think you are getting better at what you do, the more motivated you are.
- Purpose: the meaning you get from your work. The more what you do matters to you, the more motivated you are.
In Money and Happiness, I wrote that once you reach the middle class, you should focus on how you make money rather than how much. The way becomes more important than the amount. Related to the three factors above, this means that you should aim to improve your autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Let’s now see how to improve them:
Autonomy could be difficult to achieve if you work for someone else. The solution – according to So Good They Can’t Ignore You – is to increase your bargaining power by being very good at what you do. Your company will be willing to give you more freedom if it really needs you.
Another way is to build your own business. Be careful though: not all kinds of businesses will give you autonomy. If you choose the wrong kind of business, you might find that the one who controls your time is not you but your clients.
In my case, I chose to build a lifestyle business. It took a long time to build, but once it began to work, it gave me both time and location independence.
For this, what you need to do is take new challenges to expand your personal capacity. Don’t settle where you are. Instead, keep taking new challenges to maximize your personal growth. It’s not easy, but you will have the satisfaction of seeing yourself grow over time.
The important thing here is that you do something that matters to you. What is your cause? How do you make the world a better place?
Even if your work seems boring, you can still find meaning from it. How? By changing your perspective. Look at it as your way to contribute rather than to get something for yourself.
Improving these three factors takes time, but it’s worth the effort. You will get something that even money can’t buy as your reward: inner fulfillment.
Any thoughts on how to improve work motivation? Please share them in the comments.
Photo by JD Hancock