Skip to main content

Discover your motivation and use it

Find what motivates you to figure out what you want to do

What motivates you?

Finding out what motivates you, can help guide you in the direction of the types of jobs or industries you should go for. Everyone is motivated by something different and we find different things exciting. If everyone liked the same things, the world would be a boring place and everyone would be interested in the same job. Fortunately, that is not the case.

Find what motivates you:

1) Think back on the last time you were motivated to do something

What was motivating about it? Was it the subject, the community, the process, or something else? 

Would you like to work in that same way or with the same type of people? Where can you do that and how?


2) Think about your dream job or a type of job that you find interesting

We often have a job or some type of job that we would really like to do, no matter if it's realistic or not. Break down the job and note down:

  • Which tasks would you have?
  • What would the work hours be like?
  • Which tasks would you find exciting? Which would you find less exciting? 
  • Are there any other parts of the job that attracts you? Which? 

Which other types of jobs include some of the things that you have noted? 


3) Ask others what they think you’re good at

What do other people thank you for? What would they say characterizes you? What do they say you are particularly good at? What do they think are your greatest strengths? You can also try taking a test to find your strengths. 

Do you agree? How can you use this in a job? 


4) Test it

Now you have gotten an idea of what motivates you, tasks you would like to do, and your strengths. Use this knowledge when you look for jobs. Look beyond the title: what are the tasks? The work hours? Your colleagues? What would motivate you ind that job? What wouldn't?

To be sure that you got it right and you actually know yourself, try to test it. You might want to do an internship, volunteer work, or get a student job in a field you think you like. Do you know someone who has an interesting job? Talk to them about it. 

When you test your ideas, you'll find out what suits you.


What are you studying to become? 

In the nursing program, you study to become a nurse. When you study English you study to become... an Englishman? Not really. 

Vey few of Danish university programs educate you for a specific job. But that way of thinking still sticks. And this is why as a student you might get the question: “What will you become when you graduate?” from naive family members at Aunt Oda’s 80th birthday. For the 4th time. Because they do not understand that this is not how it works at the university. 

“But how does it work then?"you might think. Thanks for asking. There is a simple but complicated answer: It's up to you.


What is a career to you?

What do you think when you hear the word 'career'? Visualize it: What does it look like? How does it feel? We all associate 'career' with something different. There is not just one way to look at and shape a career.

Some researchers have tried to put some of the most prevalent career conceptions into a model, based on what what people are motivated by. Take a look at it.

Ask yourself:

  • Where does your conception of career fit into the model?
  • How do you think your parents view careers? The same way as you?

Sometimes the way we see or think about careers and how we actually act is different. Maybe your parent think about careers like the Expert pattern, but their working life has in fact looked more like the Spiral pattern.


We all have different conceptions and starting points - and that's okay

Many of us like more than one thing. We want to be good at something we like, just like the Expert. But maybe we want to do it for a shorter period of time, like the Transitory pattern. And there is nothing wrong with that. You decide how your work life should look. However, your thoughts about it may change over time.

We have different starting points and different understandings of what working life looks like. There is not one right way to look at it. Maybe you could bring the model to the next family birthday and explain your view of what your working life will look like. That might put a stop to the stupid questions.


Have you found your passion?

You have probably heard stories about people who feel a calling to something that they become really skilled at. Just like the Expert in the career model above.

Do you feel a calling or a strong passion for something? Yes? Cool, keep going - get help to achieve your dreamNo? Do not worry. You are not alone. And there is nothing wrong with you. You can be good at many things. And maybe you do not have to focus on just one of them.

Maybe you are what Emilie Wapnick calls a “multipotentialite”. Have you ever heard of it?   See if you're a multipotentialite too:

Are you like Wapnick?

It's perfectly fine to be interested in many things. It is also OK if you would rather focus on one thing. As Wapnick says, it is rarely bad to go for something that attracts you. It all gives you skills you can use many places. It's about your understanding of what your career should look like.

Next step:

SDU RIO University of Southern Denmark

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense M - DK-5230
  • Phone: 65502022

Last Updated 03.09.2021