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Intrinsic motivators feed your success

Motivators Feed Your Success
By Jacquelyn Ferguson

Losing weight, getting out of bed some days, not screaming at a customer; the list of responsibilities and tasks that require motivation to accomplish is a long one.

But what is motivation? Where can we get some?

The thesaurus says that it’s incentive, inspiration, drive, enthusiasm, impetus, stimulus and impulse.

You may lack these for something you don’t want to do but you’re full of them for what you love to do. Think about:
* Something you dread doing;
* Something you love to do;
What motivates you to do each?

For what you dread it may be an external force that’s pressuring you to complete it. Like the threat of losing your house if you mess up on your job or the perceived or actual disapproval of family members if you somehow fail to tow the line.

Consider the vast difference in what motivates you to do what you love. Maybe it’s caring for your grand-kids on a weekend. You love those kids so much that there’s no real motivation that you have to work up; it’s just there. Or perhaps it’s your favorite hobby that you dive into after the work day that exhausts you. Your energy miraculously returns because your hobby captivates and challenges you.

An important difference is that you’re probably intrinsically motivated by what you love to do and have to depend upon extrinsic motivation (threats, pressure, guilt, money, etc.) to force you to do what doesn’t excite you.

The trick to creating motivation for tasks that you don’t feel like doing is to look for and create intrinsic rewards for finishing them.

Intrinsic motivators represent who you are at your core. They’re associated with better mental health and lead you to greater persistence, creativity and life success. They include:
* Your positive values, which are natural motivators;
* Making a contribution;
* Pride in your work;
* Personal and professional growth;
* Meaningful relationships;

Extrinsic motivators and rewards come from outside the self and are associated with poorer mental health, even depression, and create a façade that you must then invest energy into to carrying on. These include:
* Wealth and the stuff it can buy;
* Beauty;
* Fame and adulation;

Self-esteem works in the same manner as motivation: if your perceived value is dependent upon external things like a hot car or a big house, your self-worth will be fleeting. What happens to your confidence if you lose these things? Intrinsic self-esteem based on positive values like love, connection, growth, giving, etc., gives you meaning. These values don’t leave you in hard times like your income and your looks can.

So, what is something you procrastinate doing? Or dread? Or a task that bores you? Which intrinsic motivators could help you accomplish these? Sometimes your only motivator will be a threat, money or other external rewards or punishments. Just know that mental health and success are nourished when intrinsic motivators significantly outnumber your extrinsic ones – more on this next week.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple.

Let Your Body Win