Motivation for Working: 9 Motivation Boosts + Journal Prompts

woman at computer - Motivation for Working and Journal Prompts

Feeling motivated is a pretty important part of getting things done…but how do we find motivation for working if our work life is not our current dream life?

(P.S. this is a huge reason I love working for myself)

The first place I’d start is: what factors influence your drive to work hard, and what makes your work more? To answer these questions…

  • We’ll first look at what Forbes found were the five major ways to boost motivation that drive people’s actions at work. (Achievement, power, affiliation, security and adventure.)
  • I’ll each one to how you might apply it as an entrepreneur if you work for yourself.
  • You’ll get journal prompts along the way
  • Lastly we will look at other sources of information, and some things that personally help me

The 5 Major Motivations for Working

#1: Achievement

Are you motivated by achievement?

Forbes says,

People with a high need for achievement seek to excel. Their hunger for achievement isn’t fed by being better than others, but rather by continually reaching for a higher level of personal best. Achievement-motivated individuals avoid low-risk situations because the easily attained success is not a genuine achievement. Instead, they want difficult goals that demand intense effort and that challenge them to grow in new ways.

If this resonates with you, then take advantage of your drive for achievement by seeking out risks and challenges to drive your motivation for working.

Journal prompts:

  • Think of a time you felt a drive to excel. How did it feel, and what was the result?
  • What is one way I can challenge myself in my work?


satisfaction at work journal prompts

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  1. The #1 thing leading you to lack of confidence and self sabotage (that is blocking your consistency…)
  2. How to make more money ASAP and identify low hanging profitable fruit.
  3. How to avoid burnout for good, how to stay focused and motivated, and how to get out of the anxiety cyclone entrepreneurs face
  4. The most important factor for keeping your success and increasing it exponentially, without working more and without more stress.

#2: Power

Power is the desire to have control over your environment at work, or to be a leader.

Forbes says,

They love to be in charge and will even choose a high-ranking title over money. They want to direct others and to hold the authority to make decisions that impact others.

This could include influencing decisions within one’s team or leading projects with autonomy. It’s not just about being in charge. Having power also means having the power to make decisions that impact others as well as yourself.

If this resonates with you, then take advantage of your desire for power by looking for opportunities to feel in control.

Journal prompts:

  • What is something I have control over in my work?
  • Are there other opportunities for me to be a leader? What might they be?
  • Think of a time you worked for someone else. Even if you weren’t autonomous, what were some areas that required leadership or self accountability?


finding leadership at work for positive motivation journal prompts

#3: Affiliation

Affiliation refers to feeling connected to others in the workplace – whether colleagues or customers – through shared interests or experiences.

Forbes says,

People with a high need for affiliation want harmonious relationships with other people and they want to feel accepted by others. These individuals prefer work that provides significant personal interaction.

This kind of motivation for working comes from finding satisfaction in forming relationships with those around you. Supporting your colleagues on tasks can also provide a sense of camaraderie.

If this resonates with you, take advantage of affiliation by seeking out opportunities to connect with your coworkers, or initiate collaborations that matter to you.

Journal prompts:

  • How do you feel when you get the chance to work with others?
  • How can you seek out collaboration opportunities in your work?


creating collaboration to create boosts in motivation journal prompts

#4: Security

Security refers to feeling secure in your role. Not only financially but emotionally too. Especially during times of uncertainty (cough cough 2020 cough cough).

Forbes says,

People with a high need for security look for continuity, consistency and predictability in their job, work, and pay. They are driven by guarantees and may prefer to stay with the same company, or in the same position or department, for the long haul.

Having security in your role might be hard. As an employee, you never know what will happen with your role. As an entrepreneur, there’s always some amount of unpredictability.

If security is what motivates you for working, I would lean into practices that make you feel secure. Creating financial safety, creating a safety net, and making sure you always have options.

Journal prompts:

  • Think of a time you felt safe or secure. What does it feel like to you?
  • How can you create more feelings of security in work you can’t fully control?


journal prompts - security helps people feel more motivated in their work

#5: Adventure

Adventure involves seeking out experiences beyond one’s daily routine, providing new opportunities while pushing your boundaries. Adventure may come in many forms such as taking risks, challenging yourself professionally through extra responsibilities or even exploring possibilities outside your comfort zone.

Forbes says,

High adventure people often go out on their own. They may be entrepreneurs or freelancers. They are likely to change jobs and companies often, especially when they get bored or feel that they have “maxed out” their potential somewhere.

If adventure motivates you, seek out opportunities to do new things in your work.

Journal prompts:

  • What are some ways you can make your work more interesting?
  • What is something new you want to learn or try?
  • How can you add stakes to this new endeavor? (deadline, collaboration, or something else that might put some pressure on you)


journal prompts - feeling adventure creates motivation for productivity

Finding Other Motivation for Working

Aside from these five major motivations, there’s also some mindset work that might be helpful for tapping into motivation to do your work. Let’s talk about some tips around having a productive mindset.

Setting Achievable Goals

When you’re an entrepreneur especially (but this applies to working for someone else as well) it can feel UN-motivating if your goals are always out of reach.

So, one way to reignite lost motivation for working: Setting achievable goals. There’s a huge temptation for many of us to set challenging goals, and there’s nothing wrong with that IF it doesn’t affect your mindset to not meet the goal. But if you’re setting big goals and consistently not meeting them, you could be creating a story that success is out of reach.

The important thing is here: 1) breaking down large goals into smaller incremental goals and 2) be more patient with your timing AND celebrate all the small wins. When you focus on the small wins, you not only develop more gratitude. But you’re also more likely to build momentum and stay motivated longer term.

Additionally, reward yourself for completing tasks and reaching small milestones. This could be something physical like shopping for something new or taking yourself out for dinner. Or, it could simply be patting yourself on the back. Recognizing smaller successes creates an incredibly powerful motivating effect.

Positive Reinforcement

Another way to increase motivation? Positive reinforcement. Be kinder and more encouraging towards yourself.

One way to do this is by writing down positive affirmations around why you want to keep pushing forward even when things feel hard. You can also write affirmations that celebrate your successes and worthiness. Affirmations are a great way to renew your energy and enthusiasm.

Other ways to create positive reinforcement:

  1. Create a pleasant environment: Make your space comfortable, organize it to suit your needs, and surround yourself with things that inspire you. Making my office my dream space has been huge for my motivation! I love having plants, colors, and cozy textures as a part of my office.
  2. Stay connected: Get connected with other entrepreneurs, colleagues, mentors or coaches, and intentionally stay in touch with them. Offer feedback, advice, and encouragement regularly, and ask thee same from them too. Depending on your personality this could be: starting a group chat, meeting with colleagues online or in person for coffee, or having coworking sessions.
  3. Practice self-care: Take care of your physical and mental health. Get enough rest, exercise regularly, and practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. I also love taking breaks throughout the dat, making sure I eat AWAY from my desk, and moving my body every hour.
  4. Focus on the positive: Don’t get bogged down by setbacks or mistakes. Focus on the progress you’ve made and what you’ve learned from any challenges.

Creativity or Excitement

Finally, it’s essential to find passion in what you do.

I didn’t realize it until years later, but this was something I did really well in college. As you probably know, there’s lots of classes you have to take in college that are just required for the degree. (In other words: you don’t want to take them, but you have to). So, one game I used to play was always intentionally seeking out what I LIKED in each class. I sought out enjoyment in every class, and that made every class either tolerable or enjoyable.

You can do this with your work too. Even if you work for yourself, there’s always going to be aspects of your job you’re not obsessed with. Intentionally seek out what you DO enjoy, and get the tasks you don’t enjoy out of the way first.

Before working for myself when I was still an employee, I also found it super motivating to find ways to be creative. This is particularly how I discovered my love for marketing when I was an executive assistant in 2010, but you don’t have to be a marketer to find ways to be creative.

Create more meaning in your work (Job Satisfaction)

Another way to boost your motivation is by finding meaning in your work beyond your role and tasks. Here are 6 ways to use job satisfaction to become highly motivated.

#1: Identify your values

Take time to reflect on your values. What is important to you, and what do you want to contribute to the world? How does your work help you do that? Your work doesn’t have to relate directly to your values. For example, as a copywriter my clients’ job isn’t focused on her values, BUT making money as an entrepreneur allows her to spend more time with her kids, which IS a value. Use this as a guide to find opportunities align your work with what you value.

#2: Connect with your purpose

What inspires you and what are you passionate about? Think of ways to incorporate what inspires you into your work.

#3: Set meaningful goals

After you identify your values and what you’re passionate about, how can you align your goals with your value and purpose? For example, if your values are to spend more time with your kids but you’re working 60 hours a week, what’s one small change you can make to align your work MORE closely with your value of spending more time with family? My client, for example, decided to stop work at 3pm every day when her kids got home from school.

#4: Build meaningful relationships

Connect with colleagues, customers, or clients who share your values and purpose. This can help you feel more connected to your work and create a sense of community.

#5: Find meaning in the process

Focus on the positive aspects of your work, even if the outcomes aren’t always what you want. Find joy in the process of learning, creating, or serving others.

#6: Embrace challenges

View challenges as opportunities for growth and development. Even failure is a win and a step forward. Now you know one thing that doesn’t work! And that’s a step towards finding what DOES.

Journal prompts:

  • What is one goal you have in your work that I can break down into smaller goals?
  • What are 3 ways you can celebrate yourself? When will you celebrate?
  • What drives your desire to work, even when things feel hard?
  • What are some affirmations for your motivation for working?
  • What are some affirmations around your worthiness for enjoying work?
  • How can you create creativity in your work?
  • What is something you don’t love that you can try to find enjoyment in?

Types of Motivation

Now that we’ve covered the 8 boosts for motivation and some journal prompts, I want to talk about motivation in general. If you want to know more about how to motivate yourself, let’s first look at intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators

Intrinsic Motivation

People who are intrinsically motivated are driven by internal factors such as enjoyment, personal satisfaction, or curiosity. This type of motivation is associated with self-determination. People who motivate themselves need this for job satisfaction.

Intrinsic motivation can be further broken down into three types.

  1. Personal interest or pleasure in an activity
  2. Task identity or the need to complete tasks
  3. Task significance or perceiving an activity as having meaning and purpose beyond oneself.

People motivated by this are often highly satisfied with their work since it is an activity that resonates deeply within them.

If we look back at the boosts to help you get motivated above, you can kind of see which of them might be fueled by this motivation. The need for control, for example, could relate to this motivation to feel like what you’re doing is meaningful and has purpose. If you like creativity or seeking out enjoyment, you’re motivated by finding pleasure in the activity.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources, such as rewards and punishments, incentives, and pressure from others. It involves engaging in activities because they will either yield a reward or avoid a punishment.

Extrinsic motivation can also be divided into two categories:

  1. Positive reinforcement (receiving rewards for good behavior)
  2. Negative reinforcement (avoiding punishment)

Positive reinforcement motivates people through external rewards such as praise, money bonuses, gifts, promotions and other benefits. Negative reinforcement encourages people to take action to avoid consequences like penalties or demotions.

If we look back at the boosts for motivation above, you can kind of see which of the motivators might be fueled by extrinsic motivation. Writing affirmations and celebrating yourself for example, relate to your desire for positive reinforcement. Adding high stakes to a project you start because a desire for adventure might make you more motivated at work because you want to avoid the negative consequence created by adding stakes.

Make sense?


There is also amotivation. This refers to the lack of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Amotivated individuals usually lack direction and are not motivated by any form of reward or punishment which can result in poor job performance.

Each type of motivation has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. Understanding the different types can help you find ways to reignite your motivation.

Looking for more inspiration? Download the Aligned Wealth Roadmap

Enter your email below to get this free roadmap and learn…

  1. The #1 thing leading you to lack of confidence and self sabotage (that is blocking your consistency…)
  2. How to make more money ASAP and identify low hanging profitable fruit.
  3. How to avoid burnout for good, how to stay focused and motivated, and how to get out of the anxiety cyclone entrepreneurs face
  4. The most important factor for keeping your success and increasing it exponentially, without working more and without more stress.

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