What drives you? Such a commonly asked question, yet it is so hard to answer. Trust me, every company is going to want to know: “What motivates you?” Do you know why? Because they are looking for one, very specific, and very straightforward answer: “I am self-motivated.” I wanted to explore what it means to be self-motivated, and if you are lacking in that department, how to give yourself a little kick in the ass.
What does it mean to be Self-Motivated?
1.) Drive. This is the most crucial aspect of self-motivation. Without drive, you cannot go anywhere. Drive gives you a direction to head in. It allows you to set milestones for yourself and to strive to reach those milestones. Drive is similar to focus, but not quite the same. You can be driven without focus; this just means that you are working towards goals, but can be distracted easily from those goals. Combining the two creates a powerful force.
2.) Passion. I am passionate about passion. I believe you should do something you absolutely believe in. If you aren’t, it’s very difficult to become self-motivated. Like focus, it is possible to be motivated without passion, but then why are you really doing it? For a paycheck? It’s hard to be COMPLETELY passionate about solely money (if you are, you MIGHT be destined for a fiery afterlife haha). No, but having a reason for doing what you are doing is going to make going to work everyday that much more worth it for you.
3.) Focus. Focus is the ability to completely immerse yourself in your work. Shut out all distractions, and make work the only thing that matters at the time. Focus isn’t the most important part of being self-motivated, but it helps in becoming efficient with your time, which allows you to get more done, and to have more time for yourself (See my post about Time Management).
4.) EFFORT. Duh. Don’t be a talker. Be a doer. If you aren’t doing anything, if you aren’t working harder than the next person, then there’s no way you will stand out as someone who is self-motivated… or even ‘hireable.’
Now that you know what self-motivation actually IS, and what it means to possess this trait, I can teach you how to get up off your ass and do something. No one likes a couch potato.
1.) Procrastination. Motivating people can be extremely difficult, but motivating yourself is the hardest; because of a little thing called procrastination. This is the first place to start if you want to start becoming self-motivated; because you will no longer be putting tasks off. This is tied to effort, meaning that when you put in effort EARLY, you can avoid doing tasks half-assed, and more importantly; your boss will see you completing work before they asked for it and give you more. This is a VERY good thing.
2.) Actually CARING. If you’ve ever seen the movie Office Space, you know that sometimes you just don’t care about your job, or school, or appearance, or even hygiene. This is where passion comes in. Passion gives you that edge that most people don’t have. If you wake everyday dreading going to school or work, how do you ever expect to enjoy your life? We spend a good 70-80% of our waking lives at either work or school, so make sure you believe in it! Why do you think it took me 4 different majors before I graduated college? I wanted to have PASSION in what I was doing. And guess what; I make the world a better place everyday at my job and I love it.
3.) Setting goals. With deadlines. Here we talk about drive. Little milestones (a goal with a deadline) will not only make you feel more accomplished as you hit each milestone, but they will create momentum in your work that will only lead to more work being completed in less time, and usually with better results. Why do you think video games have achievements now? So you’ll play until you get ALL of them! Make your life a video game, and set little achievements for you to hit; it’ll be much more fun.
4.) Focus on the BIG PICTURE. Focus obviously is important here. But not just on the tasks at hand. The big picture ties into what your passion is. If you know what your end goal is, and the TRUE meaning behind what you are doing, then you will be able to pick yourself off the ground when times get tough. Focusing on minute details and all of your to-do-lists when you’re down in the dumps will only de-motivate you further. If you focus on your big picture though, then you trick your mind into thinking that’s all that matters. The daily tasks and grind become just a byproduct of your efforts towards the end goal.
5.) Enjoy yourself! Just have fun. This combines all of the steps into one. Getting work done early leaves you more time for fun. Caring about your work makes it more enjoyable for yourself. Hitting goals you have set for yourself will cause you to intrinsically feel like you are more accomplished because you have something to show for the work you’ve put in. And of course, when you know what your end goal is, then you can see your big picture, which is what keeps the drive; the passion; the focus; the effort; and the MOTIVATION alive.
Taking a step towards self-motivation is crucial in doing well in school, and especially when you are looking for a career and performing in that career. If you need a drill sergeant breathing down your neck 24-7, well then perhaps you should join the army. Business owners don’t want a slouch; they want someone who is going to get all their work done before the boss even thinks of something for you to do next. That’s what gets you ahead, and that’s what will get you the BIG BUCKS. Kick ass this week, and make sure to MOTIVATE THYSELF!