Motivation is the key to everything we do. If we don’t want to do something (or feel like we have to), then we won’t do it.
Customers have to feel things in order to want to buy things—they make an emotional connection with products and services before they decide to purchase.
Similarly, employees have to feel something about their company—or believe that it makes them feel something about themselves—in order to emotionally invest in their organization. Without that, they can’t truly buy into what the organization is selling, like company culture, community awareness, great benefits, impeccable customer service, etc.
Everyone is motivated by something different, which means inevitably someone will be disappointed.
I think this is where a lot of workplace dissatisfaction comes from. Executive leadership is motivated by money—they have to ensure the company is profitable so it stays alive. But many employees are motivated by things like appreciation.
If you’re not satisfied at work, if you don’t feel like you’re making a difference, you shouldn’t just quit (if you can). Many people who feel dissatisfied start to job-hop—they’ll go somewhere else for a few years, but the newness always wears off and they fall back into dissatisfaction.
You see the result of this in every area of your life. When you’re feeling dissatisfied, it may look like boredom, a light depression, or exhaustion. You probably use escape mechanisms like TV, movies, and alcohol to distract yourself from how you’re feeling.
You can even grow resentful of having to work and dream about never working again. But that wouldn’t satisfy you either, especially after a few weeks or months of doing nothing—eventually you’d long for a project or something to do with your time. You’d want to feel productive and needed.
The trick is to find out what motivates you—and motivate yourself.
We can’t control others—only ourselves. So, if things at work aren’t going to be any different, the only thing you can do is change your perspective.
Think about the things you love doing. What is it about them that you enjoy? How can you bring those things to light at work? Can you be more creative? Can you bring more humor into the workplace? Can you gain satisfaction from a job well done or completed ahead of schedule?
Learning to motivate yourself to see your work and your work environment differently can bring satisfaction back into your life. You can look for ways to feel proud to be there, to be happy about a project, to enjoy being around your coworkers.
And don’t forget to celebrate your—and others’—accomplishments. The more you feel like you’re making progress and part of a team, the more connected and happy you’ll feel.