I believe motivation is highly subjective and that each person
has a unique motivational catalyst. So this post isn’t actually written to motivate you (LOL). What this post will do, however, is give
you 3 distinct suggestions on how you can generally stay motivated by yourself. These are based on
observations made in my brief time working with entrepreneurs. Of course, like
with anything, this is not a closed list.
1. Have Passion For What You Do:
You’ve heard this plenty of
times, I know, it’s annoying to me too. But we wouldn’t hear it so often if it wasn’t so
Steve Jobs, when addressing a
crowd at his alma mater, famously said “You’ve got to find what you love.
And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.”
Do what you love, and not in an airy fairy,
kumbaya kind of way. If you derive actual pleasure from what you do, you are
likely to be more motivated than the average person. It follows that people who
do what they love will approach their work with a guaranteed level of
enthusiasm. I don’t think this needs a great deal of explanation.
2. Find A Suitable Co-Founder:
Some of the best companies in the
world were started by co-founders (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble,
etc.). Often, a start-up is launched and maintained through a combination of
expertise, which, for complex projects, is hardly ever held by a single person.
Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 people to start a project. So the importance of
compatible co-founders cannot be stressed enough.
Like with every endeavour, there
will be challenges that dampen the passion. The honeymoon period WILL end, and
co-founders need to understand their effect on each other because this can
serve as the necessary spark to push each other forward. During a slump in
motivation, if you don’t feel more motivated after speaking with your co-founder,
he or she may not be the right person for you to work with.
Some questions you should ask
about your co-founder - When you are not feeling your best will they be able to
take control? Do they create a mood which is conducive
to productivity? How do you feel after talking to them about a hurdle you are
facing? Do they actually have the capacity to perform the tasks that are needed
to drive the project forward?
To achieve the best results, be
brutally honest with yourself when answering these questions. Based on your
answers, you may need to make some changes.
I left the first business I
started at University because I could no longer work with my co-founder. The
person whom I had originally chosen as my co-founder because of his technical
knowledge of the (media) industry became the reason for my loss of enthusiasm.
I am not sure what the root cause was, but my co-founder started developing a
habit of killing the business relationships I had worked hard to build (and other bad habits, which are best left unmentioned). In turn, our reputation as a
serious business began to take a knock. But this wasn’t yet the issue. The real
issue was his inability to realise his problem, and then act in accordance with
Needless to say, I was brutally honest with
myself - I just did not believe that he had the capacity to perform necessary tasks anymore, so I cut all professional ties with him.
3. Figure Out Your Motivational
I define motivational currency as: a
positive response which fuels the desire to be productive.
For example, I run a consulting business.
Now, as much as I love what I do, there are mornings which feel completely
hopeless (because - life) and my reason for continuing has escaped me. However, my mood suddenly
changes when I get up from my bed, check my mail, and find an email from an
entrepreneur requesting my services. After viewing this email, I feel a new
energy, a sense of purpose, which prompts me to keep going. I am motivated, and
the email is my motivational currency.
If you are an outdoor event organiser
whose event receives good reviews on social media and in the local papers, such
reviews are your motivational currency because they prompt you to repeat the
amount of effort put into your work, in pursuit of the same or an even better
response from your market.
This type of “currency” is different for
different businesses, and is usually controlled by external factors. We cannot
determine when motivational currency will be forthcoming, but the more work we
put in, the more motivational currency we are likely to receive. (i.e. the more good
work I do for my existing clients, the more likely I am to wake up to an email
requesting my services.)
Staying motivated is, in my
opinion, the most important thing for any entrepreneur. You can do anything you
set your mind to with the right amount of motivation. Conversely, you can do
very little without it. This is why it is crucial for entrepreneurs to find what motivates them, and have ready access to it whenever it’s needed.
print this. Put it on your wall, and highlight the points which speak to you
the most. Every time you feel demotivated, give it a quick read, and remind
yourself of the ways in which you can regain your motivation.
As always, thanks for reading. I promise to make it a shorter read next time.