Have you ever asked yourself what motivates you? Do you want to impress other people? Do you want to make your parents proud? Do you want to make the world a better place?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably never really given it any thought, and yet, motivation is what drives us to do everything we do, every day.

I wanted to impress other people.

Interestingly, I learnt a lot about what motivates me in my second session with my Know You More coach (to find out more about the coaching that Know You More does, head on over here)

My coach, Anita, asked me to write down what values I felt were important in a career.

Coming out on top were

  • Doing something that made me proud,
  • Doing something creative
  • Doing something that has value or helps people in some way.

I realised that it didn’t matter to me how much money I earned or finding a job that others saw as impressive or enviable.

That was an interesting turning point in my job search. I had been frustrated for months and months about not finding a job whilst I watched my other friends seemingly slip with ease into their dream jobs or onto that first rung of their career ladder. Having discussed my worries about finding the ‘right’ job, I was told by a close friend to just go for any job that I found interesting or sounded good or was professional, and that that would be a stepping stone onto something better.

So, my motivation at that point was just to find any job. Any job that made me look like I was doing just as well as my friends. However, it’s hard to find the excitement to write a cover letter for a job that quite frankly, you aren’t even interested in. Finding just any job wasn’t important to me so I wound up not looking for anything for weeks, months even. My conversation with Anita helped me realise that my motivation was to impress other people, rather than to do something which I would enjoy.

I don’t think I’m the only person that does this. I think a lot of people get stuck doing things they don’t like because their motivation is all wrong.

Under the milky way in Cape Tribulation, Australia.

I am motivated by people like this!

Don't get stuck because you feel safe.

Of course, as you get older and your responsibilities change, your motivations change. I’m aware that as a 24-year-old, the luxury to choose a job that I enjoy rather than choose a job which might be boring but is financially secure, is a luxury which probably won’t last forever. However, it’s also the case that a lot of the older generation wished they hadn’t got stuck in a career just because it felt safe to them.

For some people, financial security is their number one motivation, and that’s alright. For others, having a good work/life balance is their number one motivation, and that’s cool too.

But, if you think you’ve embarked upon a career choice simply to satisfy your parents or because that’s what other people advised you to do, it’s time to start evaluating your motivations.

For me, what motivates me right now is to try out a lot different things while I can, while I’m not tied down to any place or job. I love to travel, so right now, I’m motivated to earn money so that I can make that a possibility (not to mention paying off my overdraft.) I am also driven to find a career, but it’s not my number one priority at the moment. Yes, I want to look back on my life and see that I’ve contributed to the world in a meaningful way. I want to see myself as successful, but I also want to look back and know that I made the most of the time I had in my twenties to travel the world.  It has taken me a long time to accept that my motivation is different to others and that that’s OK. The world would be a boring place if we were all driven by the same things.