Self-motivation is a key to overcoming life challenges and achieving success. It means we don’t have to wait for our bosses to motivate us; we are the drivers of our own lives. The ability to motivate oneself is not only crucial for achieving professional success but also for maintaining personal well-being.

I will provide you insights into the role of self-motivation in personal development, specific challenges faced by Filipino professionals, practical strategies for enhancing self-motivation, and the numerous benefits it brings to both our personal and professional lives.

After reading this, I encourage you to see more learning opportunities in the Personal Development Guide.


What is self-motivation?

Self-motivation is the ability to initiate and persist in achieving one’s goals without the need for external reinforcement or pressure. Self-motivation is intrinsic motivation. It comes from within you. It involves setting clear and realistic goals, maintaining a positive attitude, staying committed, and continuously working towards self-improvement. 

A self-motivated person is proactive, resilient, and capable of overcoming challenges and setbacks to achieve success.

Stories of Success Due to Self-Motivation

Now, let’s look at some real-life examples of Filipino professionals who have succeeded thanks to their self-motivation.

Jasmine, a teacher

When I was doing workshops for the teachers, I met Jasmine. She is a missionary teacher who always wanted to make a difference in her students’ lives. 

In order to teach, she has to travel seven hours via motorcycle every Monday morning to teach in a far-flung barangay in Mindanao. 

Despite facing challenges such as a lack of resources and support, Jasmine was determined to provide the best education possible for her students. 

Her self-motivation drove her to seek out additional resources, create innovative teaching methods, and ultimately improve her students’ academic performance.

Carlos, an Engineer

Carlos is an engineer who is determined to advance in his career. Carlos was determined to succeed despite facing challenges such as a highly competitive job market and high employer expectations. 

His self-motivation drove him to seek out additional training, continuously improve his skills, and ultimately land a prominent position in a top engineering firm.

Carlos supports his two siblings who are now in college. He said that it was not so much intelligence that brought him success but willpower.

Maria, a Healthcare Worker

I met Maria in one of my team-building workshops. She is a healthcare worker who is determined to provide the best care possible for her patients.

Despite facing challenges such as long working hours and a high-stress environment, Maria remained committed to her patients. 

Her self-motivation drove her to continuously seek out ways to improve her skills, stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements, and ultimately provide the best care possible for her patients.

Success Seminars

The Role of Self-Motivation in Personal Success

Many people use the lack of motivation as an excuse for failure. I do understand. Self-motivation is incredibly important for personal development. But I know also that we can strengthen our self-motivation. 

So, keep yourself motivated. Self-motivation helps us set and achieve goals, build self-confidence, and overcome challenges.

Set and Achieve Goals

Self-motivation drives us to set clear and realistic goals and work diligently towards achieving them.

Setting goals gives us a clear direction and purpose. It helps us stay organized and focused, and manage our time effectively. It also makes our goals feel less overwhelming and more achievable.

I am not referring to ambitious dreams here. We must dream bigger dreams, but when it comes to goals, we can set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

Additionally, completing smaller tasks and checking them off our list gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps build momentum toward achieving our larger goals.

Motivation makes you start. Starting builds momentum. Momentum builds unstoppable momentum.

Build Self-Confidence

Acknowledging and celebrating our achievements boosts our self-confidence, reinforces our positive behaviors, and keeps us motivated.

When people ask me how to become a confident speaker, I often say that they have to commit, muster courage, and become competent. Commitment, courage, and self-motivation are interlinked.

Take time to reflect on your achievements, acknowledge the effort you put in, and celebrate your success. This will boost your self-confidence, reinforce your positive behaviors, and keep you motivated to achieve your next goal.

Remember, every effort counts, and every achievement is worth celebrating.

Overcome Challenges

Staying positive is crucial for maintaining a high level of self-motivation. Focus on the positive aspects of your life, practice gratitude, and maintain a positive mindset.

This does not mean that you become blind to the realities of the world. There are good and bad. Recognize the bad, but focus on the positives. Focusing on the positives will propel you forward.

Staying positive enables us to view challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles, fosters resilience, and ultimately leads to increased self-motivation and success.

Practicing gratitude regularly can boost our mood, increase our self-motivation, and improve our overall well-being.

Self-Motivation Among Filipino Professionals

Filipino professionals face particular challenges and pressures, and self-motivation is essential to overcome them.

Long Working Hours

Many Filipino professionals work long hours, often exceeding the standard 40-hour work week. This can lead to burnout, stress, and a decrease in productivity.

Additionally, consider the hours spent commuting to and from the workplace. Many professionals call themselves “boarders” to their own homes because hours related to work may extend to 12 hours.

When I was still working in Makati, I had to leave Cubao at 5.45 so I would be in Makati by 6.10 in the morning. Yes, I was too early for work.  But I did that because I learned that when I leave later than 6.20 in the morning, I will be late for my 8.30 am work.

But there is much I can do from 6.10 to 8.30 am. I can read books. I can even go to the Gym.

Self-motivation is crucial to managing our time effectively, staying focused and productive, and ultimately achieving our professional goals despite these challenges.

High Employer Expectations

Employers often have high expectations for their employees, which can lead to increased pressure and stress.

Some years ago, though I was the President of the company, I felt that the pressure was too much. It is easier to quit than stay. And because I was no longer motivated, I quit.

But when I am very motivated, no amount of pressure can make me quit. Because I find ways.

Self-motivation is essential to continuously improve our skills, seek out additional training, and ultimately meet or exceed these expectations.

Competitive Job Market

The job market in the Philippines is highly competitive. Many qualified individuals are vying for a limited number of positions.

There are many jobs. But there is a huge gap between what the market needs and the graduates we produce. Many of our colleges offer courses which are trending.

Self-motivation drives us to continuously improve our skills, seek out additional training, and ultimately stand out in this competitive job market.

I know of many professionals who take online courses on LinkedIn and Coursera to learn acquire skills they need on the job.

Cultural Expectations

Filipino culture often places a high value on community, family, and social connections. This can sometimes lead to pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations.

Many individuals sacrifice their personal development to fit in the social norms. 

Self-motivation is crucial to staying true to ourselves, setting and achieving our own personal and professional goals, and achieving success on our own terms.

Strategies for Enhancing Self-Motivation

Here are some practical strategies to improve and maintain a high level of self-motivation.

Set Clear and Realistic Goals

Setting clear and realistic goals is the first step towards achieving them. Of course, the term “realistic” is subjective. I know many people who think earning 10x their income is impossible. This despite the fact that there are individuals who are less talented who do.

You can make your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, engaging, and rewarding. (SMARTER).

Break Down Your Goals

Breaking down our goals into smaller, more manageable tasks helps us stay organized, and focused, and manage our time effectively. 

It also makes our goals feel less overwhelming and more achievable.

I break down goals because I know I can only work at the moment. I may have 100 goals, but I can only work on one small goal in the next 15 minutes.

Finishing one goal boosts confidence. You will keep yourself motivated by accomplishing one small goal after another.

Celebrate Your Achievements

It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate our achievements, no matter how small. Celebrating our achievements boosts our self-confidence, reinforces our positive behaviors, and keeps us motivated.

You don’t have to wait for others to praise and reward you. Praise and reward yourself. You have done something for your personal development. Honor that.

Stay Positive

Staying positive is crucial for maintaining a high level of self-motivation. Focus on the positive aspects of your life, practice gratitude, and maintain a positive mindset.

When I was young, we called this concept PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. It is not difficult to do this if we are looking for things to learn from our experiences.

These days, I encourage people to embrace a growth mindset too. This mindset enables us to maintain a positive attitude even in the face of adversity.

Remember Your ‘Why’

Remind yourself of the reasons behind your goals and the benefits you will gain by achieving them.

One book that I suggest is The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren. The book is designed for a 40-day reflection. Chapter 1 is about your purpose.

I like the Hedgehog Concept too. It helps us define what will make a business (and life successful). I see that it is somewhat related to Ikigai. Perhaps, Jim Collins based it on Ikigai.

Find your purpose.

Benefits of Self-Motivation

Self-motivation has numerous benefits, from personal well-being to professional success.

Personal Well-being

Self-motivation is crucial for our personal well-being. It fosters a positive mindset, increases our self-confidence, and ultimately leads to improved mental and physical health.

Professional Success

Self-motivation is also key to professional success. It enables us to stay focused, committed, and work diligently towards our professional goals.

Making a Difference

Because self-motivation comes from within, it drives you to do something beyond your personal gain. Self-motivation is never selfish. The irony is that many people who have strong self-motivation are often selfless.


Self-motivation is incredibly important for both personal development and professional success. It drives us to set and achieve our goals, build self-confidence, overcome challenges, and ultimately achieve success. 

It is particularly important for Filipino professionals who face unique challenges and pressures. 

By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, we can improve and maintain a high level of self-motivation, and ultimately achieve both personal and professional success.

Recommended Reading

To learn more about self-motivation and personal development, we recommend the following books:

  • Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House.
  • Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Scribner.
  • Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Free Press.

Share Your Thoughts

I would appreciate your thoughts on this article. 

Do you have any additional tips or strategies for enhancing self-motivation? Have you faced any particular challenges as a Filipino professional? 

Please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

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