Entrepreneurial motivation is the single most effective characteristic of successful people for obvious reasons. Without motivation of any kind, you might as well give up on achieving any of the goals you set for yourself.
Your personal and professional success will depend upon many different factors. Some of these factors may be within the realm of your direct control, and others may not. Although this may be a scary thought, the upside is that the most IMPORTANT factors are within your control!
Motivation is one of the key factors that you DO have control over, and that you can use to your benefit during difficult and challenging times. Having the proper motivation to take action is necessary for avoiding a paralyzing state of over-analysis.
The truth is, whether you are an entrepreneur or not, having motivation is directly related to your ability to succeed in anything you pursue, and managing that driving force within you can help you overcome the obstacles and adversity that will inevitably get in your way!
Therefore, during these difficult times (COVID-19), I’d like to discuss some ways that you can maintain and augment your entrepreneurial spirit and motivation for success!
Difficult times may occasionally put us down, that’s a given, but the way you decide to react to them makes all the difference in whether or not you will succeed in the end!
Not to mention the other inherent benefits of motivation that will affect you along the path to success, which include:
1. Improved Confidence
2. A Sense of Purpose
3. Personal Challenges/Growth
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the tips and tricks on how to maintain your entrepreneurial motivation and make it stronger over time!
Tip #1: Know Your “WHY”
Simon Sinek, the author of the widely successful business book Start With Why, mentions the innate benefit of acting with purpose. Having a “why” allows you to fulfill your own personal duty without getting stuck on the particulars.
Let me give you an example! There are three generic things that you need to succeed. You need a “Why” a “How” and a “What”
Why: The reason that you take action and create the “how” to make your vision a reality.
How: The course of action that you take to materialize your “why”.
What: The perceived results of your “How”.
Sounds a little complicated, but I’ll clarify right now! Without having or clarifying a “why” what good is the rest of the actions that you take or their results? The answer? No good.
Having a “why” means having a higher purpose for which you take action. Often times, a charity’s “why” is to increase the public benefit and welfare of people. “What they do is provide necessities to the less fortunate”. And “how” they do that is acting as a financial liaison between the common people and the people they try to help.
Imagine what would occur if a charity lost it’s “why!” It would have no sense of direction with which to take meaningful action at all and fulfill its purpose. It could be said that without its purpose, it loses its motivation.
Your motivation is no different. By reminding yourself every day of “Why” you do what you do, you will find yourself much more motivated and willing to complete the necessary tasks to do it. In other words, you create a “how” around your “why.”
To take advantage of this tip, try this: Put a small notebook or piece of paper (I use a whiteboard) to write down your “why” (the goal). As you wake up every morning, take a look at that goal and imagine the life you set for yourself once your goal is completed. This should spring you into action!
For example, my goal is to free myself from the “rat race” and use the time I have to enjoy life to the fullest. As I think of this goal, I imagine the benefits of having time to spare and use towards whatever fulfills me. This motivates me to start taking action and creating passive income channels to fulfill my goal!
Don’t focus on how far you have to go, focus on how far you’ve already gone.
Perhaps one of the most debilitating thoughts you can have is about how much work you have to do to achieve your goals. By creating this perspective around work, you inadvertently and subconsciously ask yourself whether your goals are worth all the effort.
This is a dangerous question. Although it has its uses on occasion (like when honing in your focus for example), more often than not this question causes you to choose immediate comfort over the successes you could achieve in the future.
Comfort is dangerous to motivation. In fact, it is rightly said that comfort is the direct enemy of progress and growth.
By being comfortable and choosing to forgo the work that it takes to succeed, you are essentially giving up on your dream or vision of a better future. Put simply, don’t do this. A goal that you truly want to achieve, that is in line with your “why,” will always be worth the effort.
As opposed to focusing on the progress that needs to be made, focus instead on how much progress you’ve ALREADY made. This can free you from the debilitating thoughts and comparisons that you make between yourself and others.
There is a reason why people become discouraged when they see others succeed, and it has to do with personal comparisons. Don’t compare yourselves with others, everyone has different skills, ideas, thoughts, and strengths.
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, the fish will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid” – Albert Einstein
Instead of comparing yourself to others, try comparing yourself to your former self. By focusing on how far you’ve improved, and not how far you have to go, you leverage the vision and confidence you have in yourself in the present moment, which happens to be the moment you can choose to take action towards achieving your goals.
This is why your motivation is benefitted from this comparison. It’s because you raise your present self up instead of putting yourself down with meaningless and arbitrary comparisons.
Don’t measure your trough with another person’s peak, there are challenges and adversity that you don’t see that every successful person faces. And everybody’s peaks and troughs are different!
Side note: This is why social media is harming us, people compare their own immediately present struggles with other people’s “perfect” lives. nobody shows the boring and mundane tasks that they take on social media, after all.
Tip #3: Establish the Habit of Follow-Through
It is commonly, and correctly, said that success is nothing but a habit.
“Success is a few good habits repeated every day. Failure is a few bad decisions repeated every day.” – Jim Rohn, father of personal development
The habit of follow-through means commitment. You must entirely commit yourself to your success and goals otherwise you face the risk of justifying comfort.
Creating the habit of commitment is essentially the same as saying “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” people who employ this philosophy choose a meaningful goal and stick with it until they are successful.
Creating the habit of follow-through is not easy, but it will be an extremely important step in dealing with your loss of motivation. The habit of follow-through offers protection against demotivation because you will have created the habit of taking action on your goals, even when it may be difficult or challenging to do so.
Being successful means being consistent, even if you feel like quitting every day, you must follow through to the end and achieve your goal, and creating a habit around it can only help!
Catch yourself before you try and justify why you don’t take action. For example, I write 3 quality blogs a week to remain consistent and become a successful blog in the SEO rankings. Even though I’m a relatively new blogger, I haven’t had much traffic.
I’d be lying to you if I said there weren’t days in which I feel like I wasn’t making any difference. In fact, sometimes it’s a struggle to wake up early and get to work writing a blog that you have no idea if anyone will ever read. That being said, I do it anyways because I want to develop the habit of consistency and follow-through.
This is a challenging habit to build, however, you can do so with some small simple steps at first! Choose a small goal, it doesn’t have to be big, just something you’ve wanted to do for a while. Learning a new skill is a great way to build this habit.
Take that goal and dedicate just 10 minutes each day to practicing it. Everybody has this much time to dedicate, it’s easy to get into with a little time, and that’s the point.
Even on those days that you aren’t feeling like trying, do it anyways. Justify it with “it’s only ten minutes” and over time you will begin to see your motivation build as you compare your beginning point to the progress you’ve made in the future!
You may even begin to add more time to your routine in order to increase your results! The small steps we take help us conquer big mountains, remember?
That’s why motivation is tied to the follow-through habit. You must combine the follow through habit with the personal comparisons that we talked about in tip #2 in order to leverage your motivation and make it last longer than it otherwise would!
Ultimately, with these tips in mind you can maintain and augment your motivation as an entrepreneur or a goal-setter and make the most of your livelihood!
Heres the simplified and summarized points again:
1. Know Your “Why”: People who take action with a greater purpose in mind are more effective, more resilient, and more motivated to achieve their goals from the very beginning.
2. Don’t focus on how far you have to go, focus on how far you’ve already gone: By comparing yourself to your previous self, and not those around you, you will develop the habit of lifting yourself up with growth and not putting yourself down in the present moment – the moment in which motivation and action matter the most.
3. Develop the Habit of Follow-Through: By creating the habit of consistency and resilience in times of struggle, your lack of motivation will matter less towards your end goal because you will take action towards achieving that goal anyways! This will ensure success!
Ultimately, your motivation will depend on how connected you are with your passions and interests, and how consistent you are willing to be in achieving the goals and livelihood that you envision for yourself! Go out there and begin taking action!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.