“How do you stay so motivated?”
That is a question I’m asked on a constant basis -- by friends, business connections and readers of this column -- and it’s a question that all entrepreneurs should address on a regular basis.
You see, we are often so consumed by motivating our teams, employees, business partners and customers, that we sometimes forget something extremely important -- our own motivation.
Here are six ways I stay constantly motivated -- hopefully they can help you as well.
1. Build a business around your passion.
When you do something you truly love it’s not hard to find the motivation needed to succeed. If you are involved in an industry that bores you it will be hard to dig down and find that motivation when you need it because you aren’t truly passionate about what you are doing.
I started my marketing agency after several failed businesses, because the marketing aspect of each business was the only thing I really enjoyed doing. I wake up every morning motivated simply because I love what I do. But, passions can change and it’s important that you pivot with them. For example, after five years of providing marketing services, I’m currently pivoting into more of an online marketing consulting agency. Over the years I’ve grown fonder of consulting with in-house teams and helping them build and scale, rather than just providing various services. Follow your passion and you will never experience a lack of motivation.
2. Always have long-term and short-term goals.
I’m a big fan of goals, both short-term and long-term -- they give you something to work towards, and including short-term goals ensures that you are able to taste victory on a regular basis, providing further motivation to push hard towards achieving the long-term goals.
Everyone is different, but I personally like to see my goals written down, and I like them to be in front of my face as much as possible. I write my goals down on one of the whiteboards in my office, and they stare me in the face daily. This constant visualization keeps me motivated and 100 percent focused on crossing each goal off the whiteboard. Setting clearly defined goals will help you monitor your progress and provide constant motivation.
3. Be extremely optimistic.
When you are constantly optimistic you focus on just the positives, which helps you stay motivated and focused on reaching your goals. The minute you start to bring negative thoughts into your mind is the moment your forward momentum will come to a screeching halt.
Does the possibility of failure exist? Of course, but you can’t think like that. Entrepreneurs need to think like elite athletes. Do you think for one minute LeBron James was thinking about losing during the NBA finals? I’m willing to bet that the possibility of losing and not bringing Cleveland a title never entered his mind. His optimism dominated his thoughts, blocking out all negative thoughts.
4. Commit to the end goal.
Success often comes to those who take big risks, and big risks can result in epic failures. There are very few one-hit wonders, as most successful entrepreneurs have experienced failure at one point.
Even if you have failed in the past, commit to your end goal and don’t think about those past failures or the possibility of failing again. It could happen, yes, but you could also be the next success story. This circles back to the point above -- you must remain extremely optimistic at all times, and if you do get knocked down you have to bounce right back up, 100 percent focused on your end goal.
5. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
The company you surround yourself with has a direct influence on how you behave, both in your personal life and in the workplace. This quote by Michael Dell from his commencement speech at the University of Texas back in 2003 sums it up perfectly:
“Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room. In professional circles it’s called networking. In organizations it’s called team building. And in life it’s called family, friends, and community. We are all gifts to each other, and my own growth as a leader has shown me again and again that the most rewarding experiences come from my relationships.”
6. Establish a personal reward system.
It’s always nice to be rewarded for your hard work, and we can all benefit greatly by implementing a personal rewards program. It doesn’t have to be lavish, either, as sometimes simple rewards can go a long way to push us harder.
Friday afternoon pizza for the office if all goals are hit for the week is a great way to keep a team motivated and pushing hard, while you might reward yourself with an early Friday departure from the office if specific personal performance goals are reached.
Trips, cars and material items can be used for larger goals and they can spark that little bit of extra motivation needed to taste victory. Experiment with different rewards to see what works best for you and your team.