Saturday, July 9, 2011
What motivates you?
What motivates you? To find out, you really need to know what you value. Achieving (and holding onto) those things that we value is extremely motivating. Now, regardless of what motivates us, we’re all going need to have some cash for our journey…which means most of us need to work. Even if what motivates you is climbing Mount Everest or running in a marathon, you’ll have a hard time doing either if you don’t have any money.
Money is the exchange we use to express how much we value something else. That’s it! For instance, your boss values your 40 hours worth of work $___ much (your salary) and you value your $___ enough that you are willing to exchange your time to get it. You value food and exchange money to get it with farmers who have food and want money, and so on down the line.
So, we’re all somewhat motivated by money. I mean, without it you would have a tough time in life…unless of course you’re living off of the government or mooching off of someone else (DISCLAIMER: if either of these apply to you, I hope you found yourself here at this blog to change your situation!) In order to get this money, we work. But what motivates you at work? Do you know what you value within the confines of your professional life?
People value different things and in turn are motivated by different things in the workplace. Here are a few examples of things that motivate people in the workplace:
· Money- We’re all motivated by money to the extent it affords us our basic needs. But some people are much more motivated by money…and always having more of it. Jobs in sales or other positions that offer some sort of incentive based pay are great for people who are money motivated.
· Prestige- Some people are motivated by being associated with prestige. Some people only want to work for Fortune 100 companies, others like holding an executive position in a corporation or having an advanced degree or title accompanying their name. Prestige is a big motivator for many people.
· Fame/Recognition- Is 15 minutes of fame just not enough for you? Many people thrive on being recognized and having their accomplishments noticed. There are those who always want to be on stage or in the center of attention. Others are motivated by winning “Employee of the Month” or “Star Performer” type awards in the office (so that everyone knows what a great job they’re doing).
· Upward Mobility/Advancement- Climbing the corporate ladder is a big motivator for a lot of people. Never being satisfied with their current role, they always have their eye on the next position higher (or even several positions higher up the ranks). People who are motivated by advancement are often dedicated and hard working individuals who thrive on the politics of the office. They are usually very heavily identified with their careers on a personal level and attach their career ambitions very closely to their sense of self.
· Flexibility- Having a flexible schedule or the ability to work from home is another motivator. I personally have worked from home for most of my career. Although I don’t mind going into the office, I find that I am able to get more work done at home and enjoy the flexibility of a home office. Many working mothers and students are also motivated by flexibility in the workplace.
These are just a few examples. There are as many motivators as there are people. Once you’ve identified what you value and what motivates you, consider whether your current job is fulfilling those motivational needs. If it’s not, try to find a way to incorporate those things into your job. Volunteer for additional projects in the office, apply for a promotion or a bigger job within your company, ask whether you can have a flex schedule or the ability to work from home, etc..
If you can’t get these in your current job, find a job that affords them to you. Motivated individuals are more productive and tend to be happier. When your work life is in balance and you are motivated to be there, you will enjoy a better professional and personal life…and your work product will naturally be better (making for a happier boss, which is always good right?)
So, what motivates you?