Lack of motivation is the primary killer of any bootstrapped business. I’ve talked about this in the past in my post regarding the desire to succeed. It’s not enough to just go through the motions of starting a business, or even running it. You’ve got to be motivated, and for those of us born into a world of instant gratification, this is a really tough attitude to maintain.
I’m not going to claim that even the most motivated individuals (think Tony Robbins dancing over a bed of hot coals) don’t have their down days, but I can probably assume that they don’t carry that lackadaisical attitude into the next day, week, or month. Many of us find excuses to avoid the inevitable hard work that is necessary; whether it be for our business or for another chore we’ve put off, we come up with an excuse about why it isn’t getting done.
Without you doing hard work, any work, it does not succeed. Your business does not live.
Some of these excuses might actually be more important to us at the moment: Spending time with loved ones, taking care of important family matters, personal events, etc. These are all higher priory items over a business; and in almost all cases always should be. I would however suggest that your business is also a part of your family. It is a part of you; you are the soul of that company. Without you doing hard work, any work, it does not succeed. Your business does not live.
Some of you might even be running your business part-time, and are limited even further on time each day because of this. So how do we get back on track? You might feel overwhelmed by the large amount of work ahead of you. Let’s be real, that work will not get done if you give it lower priority to watching TV with the significant other. We must remember this; more importantly, our loved ones and family must understand and remember this as well.
So how do we change the current path of lethargic enthusiasm? We must pivot (to use a ‘lean’ term) how we are living our lives. If something isn’t going as planned in our lean business we pivot and go a different path. We must do the same with ourselves when we find we’re not succeeding in completing tasks for work or elsewhere.
My assumptions are that you’re in the rut you are because you aren’t following a structure that helps and promotes the motivational spirit to succeed with your business or goals. With that in mind we should follow some simple steps to help stoke our desires once more and get back to succeeding in business and life.
Step 1. Visualize your end result. This might sound corny, but you want to mount a bulletin board in a visible place within your office or home (or you can use the fridge w/ magnets too) filled with photos and phrases of all the things you desire for your business, your family, and yourself. Don’t be shy about it; put a Ferrari or Corvette on there, a big house, a check for $100,000 made out to your business, photos of a beach resort you want to visit, places to travel to, children in college, etc. What these will do is offer a visual reminder of your original desires and goals, so when you walk by them each morning, you’re passion to achieve these goals is ignited.
Step 2. Get Organized. Scrum is an Agile software development framework that among other things, promotes a way to meet goals within a time-boxed environment of uncertainty and change. It doesn’t just work for software development however. Create three columns on a whiteboard labeled: To-do, In Process, and Done. Write your goals down on post cards and affix them to the board; then break these goals down into manageable tasks and sort them by priority and effort. If you can’t get a task done within two weeks, perhaps it needs to be broken down further into smaller tasks. Then, take one or more tasks and plan to finish them within two weeks; what is called a Sprint. If it doesn’t get done in that two-week period, it goes back into the to-do column. What this process does is allow you to clearly visualize your work goals, be realistic about the tasks and time needed to finish the goals, and create a visual plan to work toward those goals within a two-week period. I really like the Scrum framework for software development and task planning in general and it really does help keep your focus on the smaller parts of the big picture, which in turn helps reduce any feeling of being overwhelmed with work.
Step 3. Get Inspired. Find a mentor, or follow someone (ehh emm) on Twitter/Facebook/Blogs who you aspire to be like. Subscribe to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc. magazines for inspiration. I follow everyone from ABC’s show Shark Tank on Twitter. Mark Cuban in particular via his Blog and his book. The stories of successful entrepreneurs inspires me to succeed. I follow successful people. Not to be envious, but to keep reaffirming with myself that if they can do it, so can I.
Step 4. Publicly Commit to a goal. When you announce to everyone you plan on doing something, you usually hold yourself accountable to getting it done to avoid the embarrassment of failing. I haven’t been doing a good job of that myself. This blog was intended as a way to do just that, and I plan on doing more of this in the near future. There, see, I did it! Post about your goals on Facebook or Twitter (assuming you have an account and friends) and let the feedback fuel your desire to follow through on your intentions.
Step 5. Don’t Quit. When you fail at meeting your goals, don’t give up. Everyone falls down. It’s how we continue after failure that gives us the empowerment to succeed. A business venture I was invested in closed recently but we haven’t give up. I plan on pivoting the business into a new venture with a new direction and plan on that being a success. Roll with the punches and reach out for help if you need it.
The most important part of these steps is to make them habit. Like a healthy lifestyle, this is not something that you can just do for a few months and then everything will be different. You must commit to changing who you are and how you act by following these new steps. Your old methods weren’t getting you motivated so you need to pivot and change your life for the better. This will not be easy. Just like starting a workout regiment every day of the week (I’ve done P90X3 for 3 months now) it’s tough work to change for the better. Once these attitudes and life changes are habit (It should take a few months before it’s a real lifestyle change) you’ll find yourself more motivated than you ever felt possible.
I’m no Tony Robbins, but I know dancing over coals isn’t about magic, but about a positive state of mind. Get going!
These are a few steps to get you motivated. If you know of any other great motivation tips, feel free to add them below in the comments!