Self-motivation is extremely difficult to define. Even though it is often described as one of the most important skills for employees to possess, no one has come up with a clear definition. Not even academics can agree on a precise way to describe it. But a rough description of it is having the drive to complete a task without being prompted or encouraged by an outside force.
It is an essential part of Emotional Intelligence which employers value a lot because it’s crucial to how we interact in the workplace. The higher your emotional intelligence, the more likely you are to get hired.
See the interesting facts below to find out precisely why self-motivation is the most important soft skill for career success.
1. Bosses Want Employees Who Make Their Jobs Easier
Hiring an employee who has to be told exactly what to do defeats the purpose. Managers don’t want employees who sit around waiting to be told what to do or who won’t make even the most minor of decisions without consulting the boss. Nor do they want employees who need constant reassurance. You need to take the initiative and make decisions.
2. No One Is as Invested in Your Career as You Are
No matter how much your company invests in employee development and succession planning, at the end of the day, you’re on your own. An official mentoring and coaching program with clear career paths might sound warm and fuzzy, but it’s really not about you at all. Those initiatives are focused on the company’s needs, not yours. You can’t sit around and wait for your boss to advance your career. You have to take charge of it yourself.
3. Telecommuting is on the Rise
More employees than ever before are working from home. In fact, the U.S. has seen a 20-percent increase in telecommuting since 2012. What does that have to do with self-motivation? A lot. Self-motivation is what keeps you going on that tough project when no one is looking over your shoulder, instead of curling up on the sofa with your Starbucks and Netflix. Only the self-motivated will succeed when it comes to working when no one is watching. You have to fight the urge to just curl up in your pyjamas.
4. The Rate of Change is Accelerating
“Things are changing so fast,” is a common phrase these days, but it’s not just a cliché; it’s a fact. Researchers have actually studied the amount of knowledge possessed by mankind in the year 1 AD and have calculated that it took about 1,500 years for that knowledge to double. Now, the total of accumulated knowledge doubles every one to two years. So, you can’t depend on your boss to give you a heads-up about information that affects your job. There’s new information coming out almost daily - more than any single person can process. Employees, who are proactive about keeping up with changes in their industry, will have a distinct competitive advantage. The key here is continuous learning and self-development.
5. Self-motivation Makes You Accountable
You probably know someone who blames everything on someone else. Their boss is out to get them, their colleagues are jealous, the compensation system isn’t fair, etc. The problem with that mindset is that it makes you a victim. And victims have no power. If other people are the cause of all of your problems, then you have no power to solve those problems. Self-motivated people, on the other hand, instinctively acknowledge their own mistakes. The corollary is that self-motivated people see themselves as having the power to make things better rather than just waiting for other people to stop mistreating them. It’s a mindset as much as it is an action.
6. Changing Careers Requires a Lot of Self-discipline
For those of who aren’t pleased with their current job, and want to change careers let me tell you this; it is not an easy task. You have to work nights or even weekends to get a portfolio ready and smoothly transition from one industry to the other. You have to adhere to a strict daily schedule to be prepared to change career. You’ll need to work harder, and with self-motivation you can increase your chances of having a successful career change.
7. Show Greater Work Ethic-Work Longer and Later than Others
Employees who are self-motivated are doing their job well not because it pays their wages, but because they want to. They want to stay longer and work later than other employees to finish a specific task and go beyond their job description. This is because they want everything they do to be of the highest quality, improve themselves and by doing so, making the company they work for even better.
Take charge of your career today by motivating yourself rather than waiting for someone else to do it for you.
Do you have any tips to help improve peoples self-motivation? Let us know in the comments section below…
This article was first published in January 2015.