Often, when entrepreneurs make the bold leap from employee of a corporation to leader of their own business, one of the first challenges they face is no longer having a person or group of people above them to set goals, deadlines and incentives. The responsibility of inspiration becomes a task of self-motivation.
This can be a challenge for many, especially when the experience is new and the entrepreneur is consumed with working in the business rather thanBeing working on it. Any lack of self-discipline and organization can also affect personal development and family, which are often the first to be put on the back burner.
So, how does an entrepreneur maintain focus on the business while also staying motivated to become a better person and business leader? The answer is simple: It requires time, dedication and practice -- just as you would expect from a business.
Here are 10 ways get yourself motivated and working toward your business and personal goals.
1. Set a personal mission statement.
Every business has or should have a mission or vision statement, something that describes the organization’s broader goals, culture and underlying core values. It is primarily used to set the direction of the organization and motivate stakeholders. For the these same reasons, every entrepreneur should set his or her own personal mission statement.
The important thing here is to write down your mission statement, carry it with you, read it aloud, memorize it and tattoo it on your forearm (the latter for the extreme entrepreneurs only). It should serve as a constant reminder about your purpose for becoming an entrepreneur.
2. Make a plan.
Just as in business, a mission statement is useless without a plan to execute on it. You too should develop and write down your personal and professional plan, including short term and long term goals. This plan will not and should not be penned and framed, as it is organic and will change as your personal and professional circumstances change. The purpose here is to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish personally and how you will achieve it.
3. Start with a routine.
Getting yourself motivated is about getting started. For this reason, you should start every day with a great morning routine, which will help your mind and body to be alert, focused and prepared to create new habits. As part of your routine every morning, you should spend time reviewing and refining your plan, or what John Meyer refers to as your 8 for the Day routine.
4. Set time for yourself.
Because entrepreneurs can often get completely caught up in their business, it is important to set personal time during the day for yourself. During this time, allow yourself the flexibility to take a walk, think and meditate or even exercise. As well, leverage this time to eat properly and drink water, two crucial habits that will go a long way to helping you stay focused.
5. Plan ahead and set reminders.
Even with a plan, it can be difficult to stay in a routine. For this reason, develop a habit of setting reminders throughout the day for the important tasks and daily goals you have set. Use your alarm, with a manageable volume, also to remind yourself to stay focused on task. An alarm that says, "Get off Facebook and back to work" would be perfect for some of us!
You can also stay on track using time blocking, or the process of setting specific durations of time in your calendar for specific work, projects or tasks. Need a little more help? Consider these unconventional motivational and productivity apps for the hardcore entrepreneur.
6. Set rewards.
We are naturally wired to react to incentives, so be prepared to reward yourself for accomplishing a goal or maintaining a habit. Just like in business, you should recognize and reward small victories along the way to long-term, broader goals.
And, if you need a more incentive, consider a clock that counts down your remaining life and reminds you to make the best of what time you have left.
7. Engage friends.
Sometimes the best motivation comes from peer pressure. Engage your friends and colleagues to help motivate you both toward individual and shared goals. Consider mobile apps that make the engagement fun, such as Make Me, ChallengedApp, KlashApp or simply text your challenge to your partner.
8. Indulge in inspirational activities.
Sometimes, you just need to look outside your circle for motivation. When this happens, re-match a movie that you found inspiring. During your lunch break, watch a TED talk. Or listen to an inspirational podcast during your commute, on your daily walk or while you are enjoying your personal time alone.
9. Stay positive.
There is no one-size-fits all answer to what makes people happy, with definitions, theories and opinions abound. For me, I have a simple mantra that I turn to when I need a boost. It is simply, “ Choose happy.” By saying that phrase and mustering up an authentic smile, I find my mood and motivation is elevated exponentially.
Finally, never underestimate the value of a good night sleep for personal motivation. After years of experience and self experimenting, I have found that, with few exceptions, no unfinished task or missed goal is worth the misery that comes with losing sleep over it. More important, with a fresh night of rest, these tasks and goals become infinitely easier to finish the following day.
What other ways do you stay motivated as an entrepreneur?