Finding Your Motivation


I find myself the last several weeks becoming less and less motivated at work. There are more and more times I look out the window and think: Is there a greater purpose to what I am doing or is this just it? Maybe I'm starting to feel the signs of physician burn out and am in much needed of a vacation and a break from medicine...I'm not entirely sure. I know I am in still in training and perhaps next year when I can finally practice on my own, things will be different. However, I can’t help shake that feeling of not wanting to go to work, not wanting to wake up in the morning, not feeling happy. I refuse to believe that this is how everyone feels about work.

I look back at what my parents have done in the past -  commute to work for 1.5 hours everyday and back and stay at a company for 30+ years. How is that even sustainable? I hate my commute of even 30 minutes to work everyday - I can't even imagine driving 90 minutes one-way to work every day for five days a week for 30+ years!

I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way, but the feeling of being unmotivated begs the question as to how does one cultivate motivation?


I recently read an excerpt from Daniel Pink's book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us.

It's a four minute read (well, not that short, but it is a quick read), and writes about his ideas for what cultivates motivation.  Essentially, motivation is based on three things:

1. Autonomy

2. Competence

3. Relatedness


Motivation is based on the ability to have control over what you're doing (autonomy), the idea of knowing you're doing it well (competence), and being in an environment with similar-minded people to create a difference (Relatedness). Although finding a fulfilled career and life takes time to cultivate autonomy, competence, and relatedness, there are small things that can be done to add motivation to the work that you do. Examine your career and/or your job and look deeply into what you can do to change the level of autonomy you have (perhaps ask your boss for more control over certain projects), change the level of competence you feel (take a class on Coursera related to your work), or relatedness (perhaps start a company community service tradition - a for-profit company with a social agenda can also engage customers and is a good marketing too - we call that corporate social responsibility). 

No matter your industry, there are ways to get creative to start cultivating the three areas that bring on motivation - and get your motivation back!