April 29

 The Motivation Within


Intrinsic motivation, the motivation that comes from inside us, refers to the drive to engage in activities for their own sake, for the pleasure and satisfaction derived from the activity itself, rather than for some separable consequence. This competency is particularly significant in the Six Seconds Model of EI, which focuses on actionable aspects of EI that promote personal and professional growth.


I have a good friend who I have come to admire. I just met him a few years ago, but his story is one of strength found through pain. The type of strength I am talking about is internal strength. Strength that comes from his beliefs, values, and the standards he has for himself.

When he was in high school and college, he was an athlete. He played football along with other activities. Unfortunately, like many athletes, he suffered an injury that ended his athletic career. While that was a huge disappointment, this was just the start of his journey. After knee surgery, things were still not right. He had pain and ongoing challenges with his rehabilitation. The next years would see him go though a total of 7 knee surgeries.

If you have ever had a significant injury that required surgery, then you have experienced not only the physical pain, but the emotional and psychological pain as well. My friend has been through many cycles of this...and the pain continues even today after all of the surgeries and rehab. I cannot imagine the toll this has taken on him throughout his life.

But this is where the story turns into something inspiring. Even though he has dozens of "pain incidents" every day, where the pain is so great that he has to catch his breath, he has taken that pain and turned it into something to help other people. He has created a program called, "Plan To Be Your Best...As You Navigate Pain". He is taking his pain and turning it into something good to help others in pain.

This can only happen through growing the emotional intelligence skill of intrinsic motivation. Think about it. The amount of drive and energy it takes to navigate the almost constant pain, and then to go beyond that to help others navigate their pain, that can only come from inside my friend. He is an overcomer in the truest sense of the word. If you would like to learn more about my friend, his name is Rick Cram. His website is simply rickcram.com.

The reality is that we all have pain in our lives. Sometimes it is physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes psychological, and sometimes it can be spiritual. If we choose to allow circumstances to control how much motivation and energy we have, then we are probably going to find we don't have very much, especially when we need it. That is why this focus on intrinsic motivation is so critical...it can literally change your life!
Rick Cram
Rick Cram
Plan To Be Your Best

Motivation Foundations

Do you find yourself having all the energy you need and want for the entire day? Or, do you have days when you seem to run out of energy and it becomes a real struggle to get things done? The amount of motivation you have will be determined by some key factors.

I have learned that our internal resources like intrinsic motivation are the key to navigating challenges and opportunities, and getting greater success and satisfaction in life and work.

That is the key. Internal resources. One of the most critical internal resources is internal motivation (intrinsic motivation).

There is a specific "pathway" that helps us understand how our internal motivation works. Here is one way to think of this:

  • We all have things we believe to be true about ourselves and our place in the world.
  • From these beliefs, we create a set of rules we live by.
  • From our beliefs and rules, comes our self-talk.
  •  Self-talk has a massive impact on our motivation. Here is a podcast episode with more insights:  The Power of Self-talk
girl drawing water from well

When you are motivated, you get energy to do the things you need and want to do. That is why motivation is so important.

One of the key indicators of motivation is self-talk. If your self-talk around a specific situation is draining you of motivation and energy, then consider how you might want that self-talk to be in the future to give you better results. Let me share some examples of self-talk in a way that might drain internal motivation and in a way that might enhance internal motivation:

Draining Self-Talk

I hate this.

What an idiot.

I can't do that.

Another failure.

Motivating Self-Talk

I don't enjoy this but I know it is worth the effort.

I am curious why that happened.

I may not be good at that yet, but I will try.

Another learning experience.

You get the idea, but please do not miss the profound impact self-talk has on your internal motivation. External motivators are unreliable and generally last only for the short term. Internal motivation is the motivation you control. It is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Defining Intrinsic Motivation

Within the Six Seconds Model, intrinsic motivation falls under the larger umbrella of "Engage Intrinsic Motivation" — one of the key competencies of emotional intelligence. This competency involves pursuing meaningful goals and values without being swayed by external rewards or pressures. It reflects a deep-seated passion for one's pursuits, leading to perseverance, creativity, and sustained interest in activities.

How Intrinsic Motivation Manifests in Daily Life

 In everyday scenarios, intrinsic motivation might manifest as a commitment to pursuing a hobby even when it becomes challenging, continuing education for the joy of learning rather than for the potential increase in salary, or consistently volunteering for causes that are meaningful to the individual. In the workplace, it shows up in employees who take initiative and are engaged, driven by their alignment with the company’s values and their role’s impact rather than just a paycheck.

Consequences of Low Intrinsic Motivation

A deficiency in intrinsic motivation can lead to several negative outcomes:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for daily tasks both at home and in professional settings.
  • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills because the individual is less likely to engage deeply with challenges.
  • Increased susceptibility to burnout as tasks are performed out of obligation rather than personal satisfaction.
  •  Dependence on external rewards for motivation, which can be inconsistent and lead to unstable performance.

Benefits of Enhancing Intrinsic Motivation

Enhancing intrinsic motivation can significantly improve both personal satisfaction and professional performance. Benefits include:

  • Increased job satisfaction and loyalty, as individuals connect deeply with their work.
  • Greater resilience in facing setbacks, powered by a strong internal drive.
  • Enhanced creativity, as a motivated individual is more likely to explore innovative solutions.
  •  Improved overall well-being and mental health, stemming from engaging in fulfilling activities.

Identifying Low Intrinsic Motivation

Identifying low intrinsic motivation can be reflected through:

  • Frequent job-hopping or lack of clarity about career goals.
  • A pattern of starting projects or hobbies and not completing them.
  • Expressing feelings of emptiness or dissatisfaction despite external achievements.
  •  Reliance on rewards such as bonuses, promotions, or other external validations to stay motivated.

Strategies to Strengthen Intrinsic Motivation

Developing intrinsic motivation is a transformative process that involves:

  • Self-Discovery: Engaging in activities that help uncover personal interests and passions, such as varied hobbies or new professional roles.
  • Goal Alignment: Ensuring personal values and professional work are aligned, which can naturally enhance motivation.
  • Autonomy Enhancement: Seeking out environments where autonomy is encouraged, allowing for a personal approach to tasks and responsibilities.
  • Skill Building: Developing competencies that enable successful engagement with chosen activities, which can enhance the intrinsic enjoyment of these tasks.
  •  Reflection Practices: Regularly reflecting on what brings joy and fulfillment, and making adjustments to incorporate more of these elements into daily life.

Maintaining Growth in Intrinsic Motivation

To maintain and grow intrinsic motivation, it is crucial to continually reflect on personal goals and feelings of satisfaction. Regular self-assessment and feedback from peers or mentors can help recalibrate actions to ensure they remain aligned with intrinsic desires. Setting personal challenges that are enjoyable and align with deeper values can also sustain motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is a vital element of emotional intelligence that fuels passion, persistence, and personal growth. By nurturing this competency, individuals can enjoy increased satisfaction in their personal lives and professional achievements, driving a fulfilling and engaging existence.

Copyright © 2024 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: info@gscfit.com.


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