This guest post was written by Tim Paige, Host of The Awesome Podcast.
Entrepreneurship isn’t the easiest route in the world. Most of us don’t choose it because it seems like an easy way to earn a buck. Rather, we choose it because it excites us and allows us opportunities that we might not otherwise be able to take advantage of.
The problem is, even with a business that we’re so passionate about we can hardly sleep at night, motivation can be a funny thing. It can be here in an instant and gone again in a flash, and it always seems to leave at the absolute worst time.
Here are some tips that I’ve found help me regain motivation in tough times:
Take a break
This is counter-intuitive advice for a lot of people. Everyone around you will tell you to suck it up and get to work. After all, you’re an entrepreneur for a reason, right? But honestly, I’ve found this advice to be ineffective.
When I recognize my motivation waining (or bailing completely), I take a minute away to refocus. Sometimes it’s just quiet time alone to allow all of the clutter in my brain to dissipate. Other times I’ll do some type of physical activity. How I always end it, though, is with a reminder of why I’m doing whatever it is that I need motivation to do.
In business, and in life, the exciting things are sometimes accompanied by some not-so-exciting things. It’s incredibly easy to lose sight of the RESULTS of our activity when the activity itself isn’t something we particularly love doing or one that suits our skillset.
The best way to deal with this is to envision the results that we’re trying to achieve. Draw out the finished product. Imagine yourself skinny or muscular. Hear yourself talking to your happy customers. See your relationship strengthening. Then, weigh that against the uninteresting work we have to do to get there. Is it worth it? Of course. Use that imagery to get back to work.
Talk it out
A lot of the time the best way to overcome lack of motivation is to drop the anchor. When I’m struggling with actually doing something, it feels like I’m nailed to the floor. I almost feel incapable of action. So I’ll talk to a mentor or accountability partner about what’s going on. The right person will be able to listen and understand what’s happening and provide you with that verbal support that will keep you on track.
Most of the time, the simple act of letting loose a little bit will dislodge the weight holding you down and allow you to get moving again. When that’s not enough, make sure your partner is prepared to talk you through it all. I’ve had people point out that I’m focusing my energy entirely on things that only end up completely sucking all my energy out. When that happens, it’s not too difficult to pivot and regain momentum.
Reassess what you’re doing
Even with the most noble, fulfilling tasks, it’s possible to lose momentum. Sometimes, though, it’s a sign that what we’re doing isn’t what we’re meant to be doing. Seth Godin writes in The Dip, “The old saying is wrong – winners do quit, and quitters do win.” Godin goes on to explain the meaning of “the dip”, noting that those who achieve the greatest success are those who have the ability to “escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.”
Recognizing when you’re in a dip that you should escape, and when you’re in a dip that you should muscle through isn’t easy. But if you’re doing something that you feel isn’t what you’re meant to be doing, then maybe taking Godin’s advice and quitting isn’t a bad solution.
For example, prior to starting The Awesome Podcast, I started working on building a website to help people struggling in their marriages. I began collecting email interviews with people who I felt had great marriages, and I put them all together in a Word doc. I sorted through them to find the most valuable pieces of advice and then turned that into a series of blog posts.
Then I got stuck.
I started to realize that I wasn’t truly passionate about what I was doing. I LOVE my marriage, and I wish the best of luck to other people in their relationships. But the idea of building this site and hoping to be able to help others obtain successful marriages and the experiences that come with them didn’t light a fire in me. Every task I tried to complete was so difficult for me that I finally quit.
But once I quit, it freed me up to do the thing that I’m absolutely in love with, and that’s what got me to where I am now. I knew I was in a dip that I would never get out of, and I’m so thankful that I recognized it and moved on.
I hope this advice helps you become motivated when you’re feeling anything but. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a sure-fire way to stay motivated all the time. Sometimes the only way to get motivated again is to dig deep, force yourself to get to work, and hope that momentum will be in your favor again.
What’s one thing you do to get motivated when you’re feeling anything but? Help out your fellow entrepreneurs by letting us know in the comments section below!
Tim Paige is the Founder of Make My Intro.