EQ Series – Tapping into motivation

Tapping into motivation

Just like a majestic mountain in the distance, any outcome we’re aspiring to like climbing any peak, needs to entice us from within, to move toward it.

Motivation from without

Getting someone to do something from any outside force, like someone telling us to climb the mountain in an old command and control style of communicating … will occur as someone simply telling us what to do. Most people resist being told what to do and we won’t be motivated.

Offering a carrot (reward) like money, praise, status and power, along with a stick approach (threat) like fear, loss, of status and punishment, should we not make it, only creates anxiety and won’t build sustainable motivation.

Telling someone what to do and offering the carrot and stick approach are both forms of extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation means being motivated by things outside ourselves and is generally driven by others. If we require external reinforcement to be motivated, we will always be at the mercy of others. 

Motivation from within

Intrinsic motivation on the other hand, is gaining energy from our own personal values and commitments versus being driven by others.
This is where the real power of motivation lies. This skill lets us discover and engage lasting inner motivation that lets us make change and grow.

This is about our level of effectiveness, our ability to get stuff done, our fire in the belly, our fuel, our motivation.

When we are willing to solve our own problems and create our own aspirations … this is the power of intrinsic motivation.

In a work environment it means we get together with our team so everyone can understand the why and where they fit in.
The team will create their own plans and goals and most importantly feel good about what they discover in the creation of them. It will forge positive neural pathways as they connect to pleasure and good feelings about performance.

So what can we do to engage intrinsic motivation more effectively?
3 practices for engaging intrinsic motivation


Emotions are energy and our strongest emotions come from our deepest commitments. Intrinsic motivation exists … the challenge is to tap it.

Ask yourself what is motivating you in different moments?


Reflect on a time when you were operating from your strongest possible self, then think of a time when everything seemed all wrong for you.
How was your motivation impacted? This is the source of getting underneath when you have been operating from your core values and when you have not.

To move out of dread and despair try this exercise:
1. Look at the source of those feelings and take a look at the opposite feelings. 2. When looking at what the source of ‘dread and despair’ feelings may be, it could be losing something or losing a core value.
3. What you may discover is when you are violating your own core values it is a huge message to your choices.

Once you have uncovered any concern it will enable you to make a more empowering choice.

Look out for more upcoming posts in this EQ Series.

You are invited to share any comments in the comment box below.

Image: Xuemin Guan
Source: sixseconds

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