One of the biggest misconceptions about motivation is that it’s possible to motivate people. Truth is, we can’t really motivate others.  We can guide, inspire, and teach people; even give them a boost in the short-term, but we can’t motivate them. Motivation comes from within and once we understand what we need to motivate ourselves, we can take steps to get there. 

Have you ever grown a

plant from a seed?

If so, what did you do to the seed? You made sure the soil was right, that it received the proper amount of light, water, and food, and that the temperature was adequate.  In this finely-tuned environment, the seed became a plant and the plant grew. Simple, right?  

The same is true for motivation. Motivation is the natural consequence of working in an environment designed for your specific drivers. Thanks to research from behavioral science and positive psychology, today we know which factors lead to motivation at work. You might be surprised to discover that they’re not what you think.  

There are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. 

Extrinsic Motivation is external to the task, meaning we are motivated by an external incentive that has nothing to do with the task itself.  Extrinsic motivation drives us to perform activities that are not particularly pleasant or appreciated. 

A good example is when parents pay their children an allowance to take out the rubbish.  A child probably wouldn’t volunteer for this duty without the external incentive. 

In the professional world, companies use salary and perks as extrinsic motivators. The down-side of extrinsic motivators is that they lead to more focus on short-term reward and less on long-term benefits.

Intrinsic Motivation comes from within and is activated whenever we do an activity for the pure pleasure of the action itself, regardless of purpose, results, or rewards. 

An example of this is gaming. We play games because they are enjoyable and fun. If we win, great, but it’s the quality of time spent on the activity that actually motivates us.  

We developed Beaconforce to cultivate Intrinsic Motivation at work so that work becomes something you want to do rather than something you have to do. 

Self-reflection: Which type of motivation do you experience the most at work?