Where Does Your Motivation Come From?


Motivation is an integral part of life and work. Without it, we could never force ourselves to commute to the office in the morning or to even stay at our desks all day long. We would just go shopping and out for lunch instead. And without motivation to get and stay healthy and fit we would never see the gym and we’d stay on the couch instead.

But what actually motivates and inspires us is a personal thing and unique to each and every one of us. Check out the 5 places your motivation can come from and see if you relate to any of them.


It is completely possible to get motivated by competing with yourself. But you need to be specific when it comes to motivating yourself. Research has proven that simply telling yourself to "do your best" is a terrible form of motivation because it’s way too vague and it’s not obvious at all. And to make matters worse, it doesn’t line you up for success because what if your best isn’t actually your best? We can always do more and try harder so we should set goals and actually meet them. You can also motivate yourself by thinking about how good you feel after completing a project at work, or getting praise from your fellow employees or manager. Pretty awesome, right? Then compare that to how you feel if you ever take a sick day when you’re not actually sick or when you phone in a presentation when you got lazy and knew you could have done so much better. We all want to feel proud of ourselves and satisfied with our jobs, since we’re basically spending more time at the office than you do at home every week. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself, so inspire yourself every day. Do what you can to get going even on your most exhausting days, whether it’s writing a motivational quote on a post-it note on your bathroom mirror, reading an inspiring how-to book or listening to your favorite music on the way to the office.

Your love for your job/career

If you get inspired to get up in the morning because you truly love your job and have big dreams for your career, then you are destined for success. Think about why you got into this industry in the first place. It might have been during a certain class in high school, during a volunteer position one summer when you were a teenager or even after a few boring post-college jobs that made you realize what you truly wanted to do. We spend the majority of our time and many decades of our lives working so we might as well do what we love and make sure that we feel good about going to work every single day. If you’re not feeling so inspired these days by your current position, consider why. We all have off days or even off weeks, so you might just be feeling a bit burnt-out, which is nothing that some rest and relaxation can’t fix. But if you really struggle to remember why you even took the job then it’s time to talk to your boss about taking on more challenges at work or even think about changing jobs or even finding another field. Your job should motivate you because you like it and are satisfied by it, and your career goals should motivate you as well; every day you’re getting closer to where you want to be!

Your boss

You might think that your manager is out to get you some days, and maybe they are. We often have a less than amazing relationship with our superiors at the office. But bosses can be incredibly motivating, particularly during our yearly review meetings. If you are told that you are messing up and making too many mistakes and need to step it up, this could be inspiring or upsetting, depending on your personality and how you take the feedback. It could motivate you to become an incredible employee and prove them wrong. Or it could make you feel like there’s no point trying because you won’t ever hear anything positive. Feeling like you’re appreciated at the office is a powerful motivating factor because if you don’t think your boss even wants you there, you will find it hard to feel good about coming into the office.

Your co-workers

Researchers asked people to work on a puzzle. They were each in different areas but it was explained to them that they would be working on the puzzle "together." This was definitely not true since they were each working independently and had zero interaction with each other, but it was very motivating because it made everyone feel like they were in the same boat. You can be motivated in a similar way by the people that you work with. If you think of your company as a big team and yourself as one single member that needs all the other members to complete the whole, you will be inspired to be as productive and successful as possible because you will want others to feel the same way, too. There’s yet to be a company who has survived because only one person was actually interested in working there and doing a good job; a company needs everyone.

Your friends

Our friendships keep us feeling happy and connected to others, and a girls’ night out is an amazing way to unwind on the weekend after a long, hard week at work. But friends can also keep us motivated if they lead by example. You most likely have that one friend who kills it at work, volunteers in her free time and takes on freelance projects, too. Oh, and she’s also a committed vegan who cooks everything from scratch and never misses a yoga class. You might not be quite that perfect (because really, who is?) but you can take a page from her book and get inspired to be the best you can be and do the best job you can.


Motivation is a tricky and elusive thing and it’s not always present when we want it to be. But without it, we couldn’t get up every day excited to go to work. Check out this list of 5 places to get motivation and see if you get your daily get-up-and-go from any of them.