Intrinsic motivation – your career drivers

by 15 Sep, 2015Career Planning0 comments

Intrinsic  motivation and your career

Intrinsic motivation refers to an inner force, an inner energy, or drive which results in us engaging in behaviour which we find personally rewarding.

It means we do something simply for its own sake, instead of being motivated by the desire to gain a reward of some kind, or… avoid some type of negative consequence.

detailed illustration of a compass with motivation text, eps10 vector

Intrinsic motivation – your career compass

Examples of us acting as a result of intrinsic motivation might include things like:

  • playing a sport we love
  • getting fully involved with a particular hobby

Understanding what your intrinsic motivations are in relation to your career is an extremely helpful exercise in career planning, for several reasons:

  • It will assist you to choose a job, or to continue to follow a career path where the work you do is rewarding to you, for its own sake
  • You will have a better understanding of your own work motivation
  • You will be better able to evaluate your levels of job satisfaction

Intrinsic motivation Vs extrinsic motivation

To help you to better understand your own work motivation it will be helpful if you understand the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

As we have seen, intrinsic motivation comes from within us.

Extrinsic motivation on the other hand arises outside us – we do things in order to obtain a reward, or to avoid punishment, or negative consequences. For example:

  • playing a particular sport because of the prizes or recognition we might receive from others
  • turning up to work on time each to avoid being told off by your boss
  • working a 100 hours a week in order to win your company’s top salesperson award


Intrinsic motivation –  is this best type of motivation?

A strong argument can probably be made that intrinsic motivation is best. However, this type of motivation may not apply in every situation. For example, a person may simply not have the desire to engage in an activity.

Regarding your career however, I would strongly argue that strong intrinsic motivation and enjoyment of the work you are doing will be a major component of your job satisfaction.

Extrinsic rewards are important too. People are motivated by the opportunity to:

  • earn a good, or great salary
  • be eligible for promotion
  • enjoy the status that comes with a particular job title or level of responsibility
  • work in good surroundings
  • etc

However, it has been my experience, personally, and in dealing with my clients – that sometimes there is simply not enough money to be earned in a job to keep you motivated.

We are all different, of course!

So, in reality your work motivation and job satisfaction is likely to come about because there is a good balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors.

This short video will also help you to understand these different aspects of your motivation:


Identify intrinsic motivation for your career

Your key career drivers are a reflection of your intrinsic motivation as it applies to your career.

A career driver is the inner force, or energy that influences your behaviour in getting what you want and need from you job or career.

To help you better understand your career drivers please download and complete this free career-drivers-questionnaire.


Intrinsic motivation – summary

When it comes to your job or career, the intrinsic motivation you have towards this are known as your career drivers.

Hopefully you will now have a better understanding of what the key drivers are in your career.

In an ideal world, we all would have the opportunity to enjoy intrinsic motivation about the work we do – I trust this is the case for you.



Please share your experiences:

  • are you intrinsically motivated about your career?
  • which is the best form of motivation in your experience – intrinsic or extrinsic?


Till next time – Anthony

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