The business dictionary defines motivation as the “internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.”

So, beyond monetary incentive, what are some things that can sustain our motivation? Here are five common sources of motivation that can keep us going, even when challenges seem insurmountable.

  1. Passion. Passion is the internal fire that burns within us, the desire to do what we love. It could be passion to produce, passion to help others, passion to create. Whatever the case, underlying passion pushes us to succeed. If you find you are fizzling out, it’s helpful to remind yourself what you love about your job and why you chose to work in your chosen field.
  2. Learning. Learning is an external motivation stimulant. If we are passionate about what we do, we want to learn more about our industry and how to succeed in it. This in turn helps us to set goals and excel. The nice thing about learning is we can choose how we do it, mixing and matching between getting job experience, attending classes and workshops, reading, whatever satisfies our curiosity.
  3. Desire to excel. Related to passion, this internal desire pushes us to become the best at what we do. When we love what we do, we naturally want to excel in this area. Sometimes comparing ourselves to other professionals in our field and challenging ourselves to compete can carry us through the tough times.
  4. Goal setting. The external act of physically setting goals – writing them down, saying them out loud and consistently acknowledging them – not only provides direction but inspiration. Goals give us something to reach for and a feeling we can be bigger than ourselves if we know and recall what we are moving towards.
  5. Encouragement from other professionals. External encouragement sends the message we are not alone, and it can fuel our desire to succeed. Having our own little cheering team lets us know we are cared about and that others acknowledge what we do is important. Business associations and networking groups are excellent sources of motivational encouragement.

It’s important to recognize that motivation is not stagnant. In5 Reasons Motivation is Important,” author Coleen Torres says that types of motivation can fluctuate, which is fine, so long as we stay motivated.Like the flickering of flames – one minute yellow, the next orange – motivation can change. Your reason for accomplishing your goals may change as you go along. Maybe you start out with one reason, change reasons halfway through, and then finish with a third reason. Whatever the case may be, keeping and staying motivated is the key.”

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