Part II of my “Ease the Overwhelm” series is about figuring out what calls you.
Last week I talked to you about not adding anything to your plate that wasn’t a “HELL YEAH!
This week, we’re looking at what is already on our plate and assessing what motivates us to keep it there.
In “Hell Yes, or No”, I mentioned that it was hard for me to give up coaching the high school robotics team, but that I had a bigger YES! inside of me.
The high-brow term for this is intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards; the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within you.
The opposite is extrinsic motivation. You can tell if you are extrinsically motivated if you want an external reward (such as prizes, money, or praise) or you want to avoid negative consequences.
Remember last week I told you that I never say “Hell yeah! Let’s file our taxes!” That’s because I’m extrinsically motivated to do it. I engage in filing my taxes merely to avoid the consequences of an IRS tax audit.
I call extrinsic things the “haftas”. As in I hafta do laundry, or I hafta get groceries…
Intrinsic motivation is the bigger YES!
When you pursue an activity and enjoy it, you are doing that because you are intrinsically motivated. If you can make a living at it, consider that a gift.
When I left technical leadership five years ago to do leadership development, I didn’t know that I would find my calling. But I did and I absolutely LOVE what I do! Every now and then, work rumbles about appointing me into another tech leadership position and I fight back. I get so many intrinsic rewards with my current assignment, I couldn’t possibly give them up!
Because intrinsic rewards create positive emotions within you. Activities generate such feelings when they give you:
a sense of meaning (like participating in volunteer or church events)
a sense of progress (seeing that your work is accomplishing something positive)
a feeling of competence (learning something new or becoming more skilled at a task)