Achieving financial progression at work is great but if deeper levels of satisfaction do not exist, sooner or later we will begin to see and feel negative effects.

I’ve recently been working with a couple of clients who have described their current work situations as being ‘Red Circled’ in their job salary, meaning that every time they were dissatisfied with work conditions or somewhat demotivated, their boss slung them a rise and eventually, over the years, they have become highly paid and under skilled with stunted personal and professional development. As a result both have found themselves trapped, having achieved a salary rise but not developing the skills or confidence required to find another job at the same level.

Both of my clients expressed a lack progress, purpose and passion for their roles(and lives). This type of situation is happening everyday and is a byproduct of poor performance management and we could do worse than to be extra vigilant and intelligent when planning our own career paths and those of our employees.

I want to share a tool with you that I find highly practical, insightful and useful for dealing with the challenges I have laid out in this post. It is a tool that broadly highlights the ease of achieving instant gratification against the more time consuming but sustainable achievements that are much more fulfilling.

It is important to consider how we are motivated, the difference between what we want and what we need, and how sustainable different motivating factors are. To do this we need to understand the following three levels of motivation.

Pleasure, Passion, Higher Purpose

  • Pleasure – Instant gratification, a Rock Star high, an acquisition, a pay rise, booze, food
  • Passion – when high levels of competence meets high levels of engagement, Being ‘In the zone’ or in a state of ‘flow
  • Higher Purpose – Being part of something bigger than us, having a deeper reason ‘Why’

Teamwork – working in concert with others, paying it forward

Understanding this concept can have profound and life changing effects. It can help us make more informed choices when it comes to sustaining motivation and prolonged fulfilment.

As Illustrated in the picture I’ve provided, The ‘Pleasure’ motivator is quick but achieves lower and less sustainable levels of satisfaction. The ‘Passion’ motivator takes longer to achieve and is less instant but will provide a slightly more fundamental sense of achievement and fulfilment. Finally, the Higher Purpose’ motivator takes much longer to achieve and figure out but when we do and it is combined with the other two motivators it can be deeply fulfilling and provide long term satisfaction and intrinsic rewards.

If you are interested you can read more on this concept in these two books which are among the places I’ve drawn on for this post. Both Books tackle the challenges of increased productivity, conditions for happiness, and stellar leadership. They come highly recommended!

Google’s ‘Search Inside Yourself’ by Chade-Meng tan
Zappos ‘Delivering Happiness’ by Tony Hsieh

I hope this post shines some light on some of the complexities of sustained motivation and I’d love to hear your comments.

Thanks for reading
Ross Trigwell