In my last post I explained intrinsic motivation and how important it is to creativity as discussed in  Daniel H. Pink’s book  Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Intrinsic motivation is based on the idea that the challenge in itself is the best form of motivation. In fact, motivation by fear of punishment will only push someone to do the bare minimum required to avoid the punishment, and motivation by reward creates tunnel vision that stifles innovation and outside-of-the-box thinking.

Intrinsic motivation is what inspires creativity and at the same time brings us the most satisfaction.Intrinsic motivation that inspires creativity and creates the highest job satisfaction is made up of three parts: 1) self direction, 2) personal growth, and 3) greater purpose.

Your personal level of fulfillment, success, happiness and creativity, not only in your career but life in general,  is in direct relation to what level of freedom, growth and purpose you have in your day to day life.  For most of us, a good portion of our day is invested in our career.  Therefore the amount of motivation and drive we have in our career will reflect on our overall quality of life.

So the question is, “what can you do to have more intrinsic motivation in your web development career?”  What steps can you take to ensure that you have a high level of freedom, growth and purpose in your day to day tasks.

1. Know Thyself

What are your strengths, weaknesses, and limit?, what do you love doing and what do you dread having to do.  What tasks and projects energize you and which ones drain you of energy.

Usually what you enjoy doing most will depend upon two things:  First, you will like to do things that you are good at, and second, they usually involve a high level of intrinsic motivation.

2. Be Choosy

Limit the type of jobs that you take based upon the positive elements discussed in #1.  Try not to be so desperate for work that you take everything that comes your way.  Of course this is easier said than done, try saying this to a starving web designer.

It may be difficult, but not impossible.  The fact is, most of us act, not based on truth, but based on fear.  There is a good chance that you CAN passover that life sucking project that your afraid you can’t make rent without.  If you are so desperate for more business, check out my articles on how to get more web design business and start alleviating that issue.

3. Challenge Yourself

Make sure that each project you take stretches you, but not too much.  One key aspect of personal growth is that it needs to push you beyond your limits, but not so far that you are overwhelmed by it.

This is another opportunity to utilize the 80/20 rule.  not more than 20% of any new project should be beyond your current limits.  80% should be what you already know.  Chances are, the 20% will end up being much bigger than you think anyway.

You need to be challenged in order to grow, just not overwhelmed.

4. Understand The Big Picture

In order to instill purpose, refer back to #1 and #2, but you also may need to change your world view a bit.  It is somewhat hip and trendy to be down on business, the free market, and capitalism these days.  While I agree that consumerism isn’t good, business does not equate to consumerism, greed, corporate theft, and all those other negative things.

Business is a good thing.  It keeps the world from being poor.  It provides jobs which allow people to support themselves and their families, it creates value and increases the quality of life for everyone around the world.  (I will now step off of my soapbox).

My point is that providing businesses with a much needed website, online marketing, better visibility, etc. is providing a valuable service for real people, with real families, and real lives.  They have hopes and dreams that their children will be better off than them and they provide valuable services and products for others who are also real people… web design and development has a great purpose and I hope that you can be encouraged by that.

5. Discover Your Purpose

When I first started designing websites I lost site of the true purpose.  Designing websites had became an end in itself.  I had customers with no real vision for their website and no knowledge of how to use it for their business.  They were only getting a website because that was the thing to do.

My customers had no greater purpose, and so my job had no greater purpose, except to earn a paycheck.  That is okay, we all need to make money to live, but it is extremely un-fulfilling and ultimately not very career sustaining.

It wasn’t until years later that I realised I had been ignoring the real purpose of a website for a business.  The real purpose was to drive more customers to their business in order to make more sales, AND I needed to be the one to help them do it.

Be More Than Just a Web Designer

At this point you become more than just a web designer or developer.  You become their online presence manager or Internet marketing consultant.  This gives you a much broader, but more meaningful purpose.  Think about how much more that is worth than just a website.  Think about how much more you can be paid by being more than just a web designer.

What do you think of this idea about being more than just a web designer?  Let me know in the comment section below.  I will be discussing this idea more in my newsletter and upcoming website articles.  If you don’t want to miss out you can sign up here.  I promise to not overwhelm your inbox.

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