Your alarm clock rudely informs you that it’s Monday morning – time to get up and go. You’ve spent much of the weekend working, and you’re asking yourself: “Remind me again, why am I doing this?”
Does that sound familiar? Entrepreneurs need to stay motivated. Creativity and problem-solving require a lot of energy.
On the good days you might feel invincible – as if nothing can stand in your way. You may feel like Edmund Hillary summiting the peak of Everest, or Rocky Balboa running up those stairs. But on those bad days you might need a little help. That’s when it pays to have a backup strategy to lift your motivation.
In this post we look at five ways to cultivate enthusiasm and fire up your drive to keep working at your peak. Let’s get cracking!
1. Surround Yourself with Entrepreneurs You Admire
“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”
– Reid Hoffman, co-founder, LinkedIn
Countless psychology studies have shown that we’re significantly influenced by our social environment.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to be the source of motivation for yourself and for your team. It can be draining. To keep your own spirits up, you need to connect in some way with positive inspiration.
That doesn’t mean you need to trade in your family and friends; we all need our support groups. However, you can actively expand your network and include more inspirational people in your life:
- Read biographies of entrepreneurs “who are already the way you want to be.” If you want to build the next world-changing startup, read the biography of Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.
- Attend events and conferences. Network, and get to know outstanding people.
- Find inspiring people on social networks like Twitter. If you identify someone you would like to connect with, take a quick glance at their replies and if they reply to tweets directed at them, then reach out.
- Find a mentor – someone who inspires you and extends your horizons.
- Stay open and friendly, and try to add something of value back to every relationship you nurture.
2. Don’t Put a Ceiling on Your Success
Neuroscience recognizes that “the real and the imagined share a physical source in the brain.” In other words, we play an active part in creating our own reality. We decide what “reality” means. When you decide that something is impossible, that’s what it will be for you.
Motivation is a mindset. Your inner dialogue sets the tone for your success, so you need to keep it positive.
There’s a place for common sense and critical thinking – both are healthy, as any entrepreneur knows. However, focusing only on problems alone can make you lose courage. Don’t sabotage yourself with negative self-judgement. Keep your mindset positive and look for opportunities, not just limits.
“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”
Here are a few practical ways to manage your motivational mindset:
- Track your journey to success in graphical format. Use a vision board to remind you of your goals. Include strong, positive images and words that trigger the right emotions.
- Use affirmations. It’s a great way to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This creates a nurturing environment in your mind where motivation can flourish.
- Create a personal mission statement. This is like making a promise to yourself, to your work and to your family. It can help you to remember that promise when you’re feeling discouraged.
3. Keep Challenging Yourself
Even if you’re doing something you love, when a task becomes repetitive, it can subdue your motivation. We all need variety and stimulation.
Challenging yourself to grow and learn can help keep the motivation levels up. Instead of feeling stuck in the same old rut, you can keep growing and evolving.
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had — everyday I’m learning something new.”
Why not challenge yourself? Identify the biggest challenge you currently face, and create a solid plan of action to overcome it. Alternatively, if you don’t have a challenge, challenge yourself to find one!
4. Exercise and Stay Healthy
It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for the body, the emotions, and the mind. A healthy body promotes a healthy, positive state of mind, and vice versa.
Your mind and your body are a team, so it’s important to get regular exercise. Besides that, exercise can make you a better entrepreneur:
“Exercise is, of course, great for energy levels and I believe it makes me more productive no matter what. But energy and focus naturally ebb and flow throughout the day.”
– Evan Williams, CEO, Twitter
Start with these suggestions:
- Commit to a good exercise routine. It hones your competitive edge, improves your problem solving abilities, and helps you stay balanced.
- Make healthy eating a good habit. Don’t skip breakfast, and carefully choose when, what, and how you eat.
5. Use Your Unique Strengths to Help Others
Although we work to earn money, that’s not always our chief motivation. Most of us earn money to take care of our families. Shifting your focus from the money itself to the people you’re helping is a good way to keep your inspiration at peak level.
Expanding from there, it’s good to think of ways to help and inspire other people with your work.
“Empower yourself and realize the importance of contributing to the world by living your talent. Work on what you love. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.”
– Catharina Bruns, Founder, WorkIsNotaJob
A great sense of reward comes from knowing you’ve made someone else’s life a little better. There’s nothing better than the inner satisfaction that comes from helping and inspiring others. Joe Reynolds, founder of Red Frog Events, shares his reasons for helping others:
“Because not only is it good business, but it’s also the right thing to do. And it just feels good.”
So, how do you go about using your skills to help and inspire others?
- Share some advice with others – become a mentor, or just share some of your wisdom and experience.
- Find a non-profit organization that matches your work, and contribute that way.
- Or find a creative way to make a difference – it doesn’t always have to be in the form of money.
When you’re working for yourself, it can be a challenge to keep going. For your business to remain healthy, you can’t allow your momentum to taper off. It’s important to remain enthusiastic and keep your motivation up.
To recap, we recommend that you consider the following as a means of keeping your motivation at peak levels:
- Actively manage your state of mind and weed out negative thinking.
- Keep challenging yourself to overcome problems and create solutions.
- Surround yourself with sources of inspiration.
- Don’t neglect exercise and healthy eating.
- Try to add something of value, help people and inspire others.
Do you struggle to stay motivated as an entrepreneur, or have you found a way to keep the fires of enthusiasm burning brightly? Share your secrets with us in the comments section below!