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Self motivation is the path to career success

Julie Bauke Career Strategist & President The Bauke Group

Are you motivated to succeed in your career? If not, why not? If your answer even hints at your lack of motivation being someone else’s fault, well, I think we may have found the problem. Despite the bazillion or so books that have been written on how to motivate others, the fact is, your motivation is in large part your responsibility. Not only will your ability and willingness to motivate yourself in your professional life undoubtedly lead to greater achievement, you will experience a greater sense of control and yes, even career happiness.


Do know what is motivating to you, and what isn’t

We all are not driven to or by the same things. For you, it may be resolving a complex customer issue that others couldn’t, but for another person it may be having the opportunity to be wildly innovative and think big thoughts, then help bring them to life. Know what floats your own boat.

Do be willing to share what motivates you with others

Share what motivates you with people who have the power to influence how you spend your time. Your leaders are not mind readers. Speak up, volunteer for the stuff that you can get excited about do very well. You will shine and others will notice.

Do know yourself well enough to recognize when your motivation starts to fade

When motivation fades, so can your performance, then your reputation will likely take a hit and your professional opportunities will be limited. Take stock and figure out what has changed and what you need more of or less of to stay at the top of your game, and then go get it!

Do reach out to others

There is little, if anything, in life we can do as well alone as we can with input and support from others. Not feeling motivated? Sit down with a trusted friend and get some ideas on how you might turn that bus around.

Do consider that your personal life will impact your work

It is easy to dump all of your problems on your place of work or even your boss. Rarely is that the truth, however. It is impossible to leave all of your personal problems at the door when we walk into work each day. The key is learning that you need to fix the right things that are bothering you the most.


Do not play the blame game

It is so easy to point fingers at your boss, the organization, the economy, or your personal challenges for why you can’t possibly be motivated to do your best. If you are reading this, you are likely not in kindergarten, so make sure you aren’t acting like it.

Do not decide to coast

If you are in a job you don’t like, by all means, begin to look for another one. But by deciding to do as little at work as you can get away with, you are not being fair to anyone. Your commitment to “slackitude” will increase your chances of ending up on the layoff list.

Do not expect your job to fulfill your every need

Think of your career as a sum total of all of the ways you spend your time. I once had a client who was in marketing for an industrial machine tool company. She liked her job well enough, but the products bored her. It would have been easy for her to become unmotivated. Instead, she volunteered at a non-profit that she cared about that was in need of some marketing help to reach their donors more effectively. She jumped in with both feet, and was surprised when the lift she got from her new role carried back to her job. Overall, she was more fulfilled.

Do not underestimate the value of taking a break from work

What makes you truly happy? Look at ways to squeeze just a bit more of it into your life. And eliminate or reduce the time spent on low value activities. You don’t have to say yes to everything.

Do not beat up on yourself

Staying motivated and performing at your top level every minute is exhausting if not downright impossible. Managing this thing called a career is truly a marathon, and not a sprint. But if you find yourself resting more than you are running, it may be time for something to change.

Jumping cartoon

When our lives are filled with activities and roles that are a fit for us, and give us ways to use our gifts and our skills and pursue our interests, we are less likely to experience that lack of motivation that we too often blame on others. What motivates you? Not sure? Today is as good a day as any to start figuring it out.

More expert advice about Managing Your Career as an Employee

Photo Credits: Eye on the Prize by Flickr: jurvetson; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Julie BaukeCareer Strategist & President

Julie is a Career Strategist and President of The Bauke Group. She believes we all deserve to be “Career Happy,” and her business focuses on educating and motivating individuals to take charge of their careers. She is a dynamic speaker who has p...

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