Sometimes, the drive to keep moving forward is hard to find, particularly for entrepreneurs, who often feel like they are on their own. Fortunately, there are a few things that entrepreneurs can do to maintain their motivation and propel them forward, even when the desire to ‘push through’ is waning.
Craft a mission statement.
Fans of the late-1990s movie Jerry Maguire will recognize the power of a well-composed mission statement. The impetus of a fundamental career and life-change, the lead character’s ‘mission statement’ propelled him to leave his job, strike out on his own, and reject the status quo of his profession. For many entrepreneurs, their own journey toward self-reliance began in much the same way: they wanted to do things differently, so they left the constraints of the corporate world behind. Few entrepreneurs, however, develop a personal mission statement to guide their organization.
Writing a mission statement helps to provide direction for an organization and can be a reminder of why you became an entrepreneur. Keep your mission statement in a prominent location for a quick ‘motivation refresher’ as needed.
Write a plan.
Use your mission statement to develop a personal plan. Similar to a business plan, this should include your personal and professional goals, as well as how you will achieve them. Include both short- and long-term goals—and be specific! ‘Be successful’ is too broad. ‘Travel abroad for one month every year’ is precise and gives you a target to work toward.
Establish a routine.
The first step in getting motivated is getting started. To ensure that you start every day in the right frame of mind, establish a morning routine. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, a few moments of reflection or meditation, and a review of the upcoming day’s tasks. Your routine may include working out, a brisk walk around the block, or a few moments of stretching exercises (such as yoga) to get you ready for the day. By building a routine into your morning, you are telling your brain to get ready to work and be productive.
Take time for yourself.
It is easy to get bogged down in the work of becoming successful. Make sure you set aside time for yourself every day, even if it’s just for a few moments. Take a walk in the afternoon, unplug from your computer (or phone), and enjoy a cup of coffee. In other words, find a way to carve out some time to recharge. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can recharge with just a short break!
Everyone likes to be rewarded for their efforts. Try tying small incentives to your goals to help you make progress toward your larger purpose. Giving yourself small rewards will help keep you motivated and help you keep pushing forward.
Look for outside motivation.
Find inspiration in the success stories of other entrepreneurs. Look for motivational books, movies, or documentaries. Listen to podcasts while you go for a walk, or watch a TED Talk during your lunch break. Set aside a few moments each day to look outside your circle of influence.
Build a core group.
Support groups or other ‘accountability’ groups are an excellent way to use positive peer pressure. Build your own group of peers for support and encouragement and help each other stay motivated. Your core group can consist of friends, colleagues, and mentors. While there is a benefit to meeting regularly with your support group, it’s not necessary. You can communicate via text or email; sometimes a quick ‘Keep at it’ text when working toward a goal is all you need to stay motivated. Share your goals and milestones with your group so they can help keep you on track.
Remember the past.
Often, entrepreneurs get so caught up in ‘the work’ of business that it becomes just a job. It can seem easier, at that point, to simply give up and return to working for someone else. To prevent this from happening, take time to remember why you chose to become an entrepreneur. Visit friends or colleagues who are still employed in a traditional office so you can see what you’re ‘missing’.
Avoiding burnout and work fatigue can be challenging. The secret to staying motivated is to have a motivational framework built . . . before you actually need it. Surround yourself with positive thinkers who are motivators. Write a mission statement and post it in a prominent place. Develop a plan for success and detail how you will achieve the plan. All of these steps must be done while you are not in need of motivation in order to be available for when you are. When the need for motivation strikes, you will simply need to take out your mission statement or reach out to your support group to get the extra motivation you need.