Inner work is motivated by the longing to be free of boundaries - psychological and physical limitations - to live optimally, happily.
Work is mental or physical effort done to achieve a purpose or result. Inner and outer work are intertwined in our lives. The way we do this work makes the difference between a life of continuous growth and healthy living and one of going round and round in a circle of habitual behavior that perpetuates our limitations.
Inner work is the work done to overcome the tendencies, mental models and habits that get in the way of happiness. It is introspection and the commitment to personal perfection.
Turning inward is the process of using mindful awareness to know your own mind so you can make the effort to cut through programmed living to live creatively.
Outer work is the activity you do to manage relationships, earn a living, clean the house and all the other things involved in living in the world. Outer work is normal and inevitable. Just about everyone does it.
Not everyone does inner work. It is optional. It is only necessary if you want to be free of the limitations that keep you from optimal living and experiencing unconditional happiness -the subtle innate satisfaction with things as they are.