By: Yuliya LaRoe, Founder & CEO, Confident Entrepreneur Business & Leadership Coaching & Training (www.ConfidentEntrepreneur.com)
“I am SO excited about starting my own business! It’s going to be amazing – I will do what I am passionate about, help a ton of people, and enjoy the freedom of not having a boss. Woo-hoo!” This is what I told my sister Olga one evening back in 2011. Oh yes, I was thrilled! I was stoked! If there is a motivation mountain, I was at the top of it. I loved the prospect of creating something of my own and doing what I was naturally good at. It seemed like nothing could ever change my over-the-top level of motivation. I was committed, in it to win it. And then I got to meet the real world and quickly learned that keeping that motivation up was not as easy as I thought it would be.
The day-to-day challenges of running a business, the ups and downs of the economy, and the never-ending search for ways to grow the business can easily dampen your spirits. And once you feel down or unmotivated, it becomes so much more difficult to step outside of your comfort zone or to stay focused on your business priorities. But that is exactly what needs to happen on a daily basis to ensure your business’ future success. Luckily, simple adjustments to your day can help keep you motivated to stay on track:
1. Understand Your Goals
Did you have a vision for your business when you first began? Your vision is the seed of your business that will determine its future success. But how do you continue to follow your initial vision with every day challenges? Creating a vision board (or some type of visionary project) where you can actually see what it is that you want to achieve is a great way to boost your motivation and add a little inspiration to your day. Vision boards are great for representing long-term goals, because they remind you of what it is that you’re ultimately working for on a daily basis. Revisiting that vision everyday can help you stay motivated to reach your business goals.
For your short-term goals, writing simple task To-Do lists can help you stay focused on tackling the day’s demands and avoid distracting tasks. It really doesn’t matter how you do it – whether you use the tried-and-true paper and pen approach or more techie methods like EverNote or Asana (which is what I use). The only requirement is that you have to use it daily. Why? The victory of finishing a task and moving on to another not only keeps you motivated, it gives you a sense of fulfillment. The goal is to make your To-Do lists a habit and it may take some time for you to fully adjust to creating daily or weekly To-Do lists, but once you’re able to stick to it, you will notice a positive change in your productivity and enthusiasm for work.
2. Mix It Up
Have you ever found yourself losing motivation because you feel like you are stuck in a rut? Same thing, different day… This kind of attitude can certainly dampen your spirits and make it harder to continue to motivate yourself to do what it takes to grow your business. One way to avoid a rut is to mix things up! Mix up your schedule by performing a variety of different tasks in which you utilize different skills. Time management is an important key in this strategy because you will learn to better plan your tasks. Allocating a certain amount of time to do paperwork and a separate window of time to meet with or speak to clients will fill out your days. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished more in a day than you usually do, and little by little, you will tackle your least favorite tasks. This technique may take a little bit more planning, but it can help you stay enthusiastic throughout your day.
3. Reward Yourself
Many entrepreneurs fail to reward themselves for their business accomplishments because they focus more on what needs to be done, rather than focusing on what has already been achieved. Reward yourself and your staff (if you have any) after victories, not matter how big or small. Rewards can be in the form of positive comments after meeting your business goals or exceeding expectations. Tell yourself, “I am awesome!” Before ending your day, think of all the things you’ve accomplished that day, and congratulate yourself and others on a job-well-done. Even if you did not finish all of the tasks you planned to complete that day, focus on what you did actually accomplished and celebrate that. This is all about keeping a positive attitude throughout your days to enable productivity. A positive outlook can increase your motivation and maintain a constant quality of work. Remember, this type of attitude is contagious.
4. Read or Do Something Motivational
This is what I do when all else fails – I read inspirational quotes, motivational articles, and victim-to-victory success stories of other entrepreneurs. Check out TED.com for amazing talk videos, the Inspiration Station on Entrepreneur.com (http://inspiration.entrepreneur.com/) for inspiring business ideas, or TheOptimist.com for some intelligent positive news. I also do a gratitude journal. This puts things in perspective very quickly and helps me focus on what really matters, rather than letting my fears and worries overtake me.
In short, finding ways to keep your motivation up and reigniting your passion to remind yourself why you chose to be in business in the first place will help you carry on. Try to build this in as part of your daily practice so you can always stay motivated and on top of your game.
Yuliya LaRoe is an international attorney, the founder and CEO of Confident Entrepreneur, and a certified business and leadership coach, whose passion is to help smart and talented entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and professionals grow their business and achieve more – more profitability and productivity, more confidence and clarity, and more personal fulfillment, so that they can do what they do best while making money, having fun, and living the life and lifestyle that they always wanted. Send Yuliya an email.