"I'm sorry, I just can't do this anymore," Janet said to no one in particular as she leaned back in her chair and put her head on the table.
It had been an unproductive and challenging day and all she wanted was to be left alone so that she could think about what went wrong and why she's feeling so down on herself, AND most importantly, why she's feeling so isolated and stuck in her founder's journey.
"It's not you, it's me," Janet said out loud to her cat while looking at the ceiling for answers. "How am I going to motivate myself?"
As an entrepreneur, you will face days when you don't feel motivated to take action. It can especially be difficult to maintain your motivation when things are tough and the workload feels overwhelming.
Feeling challenged and unmotivated at times is normal, but it is my hope that you'll never get to the stage that Janet is at. Which is why I want to encourage you to think about how you'll navigate the challenging times before you find yourself like Janet, feeling down on yourself or unmotivated to continue your startup journey.
An entrepreneurial how-to I’ve learned from entrepreneurship communities is that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who know how to motivate themselves, even when things are not going their way. The good news is that there are many different ways you can do this!
I hope this blog post will give you a few new ideas that you can start using to motivate yourself and stay focused on acting on your business goals.
Building motivation into your routine
The end goal of any entrepreneur should always be to create a successful company, and there are many ways to motivate oneself in order to achieve that.
One way is to visualize the success one will experience once they have reached their goals, which can help them stay motivated when times get tough.
Another option for motivation is setting small attainable milestones throughout your day or week so you feel like you're constantly moving towards another goal—no matter how small it may seem at first glance.
If neither of these methods work for you, try considering what has been most motivating in your life up until this point and then use those same tactics as inspiration!
No matter what you choose to do, it's important that you plan what you'll do to keep yourself motivated and then build it into your routine! One of the main things I’ve learned over the years is that it’s important to have a plan for things you can do to stay motivated, and to start doing it, BEFORE you feel you need it.
In my experience, there are a number of ways you can plan motivation into your routine by adopting some or all of these activities:
- Make a list of your specific business goals and keep it where you can see and review and update it every day.
- Create a daily "to-do" list that is connected to your bigger goals and cross things off as they're completed. You want to keep track of what you've accomplished at the end of each day.
- Find ways to disconnect from work - take a short break, go outside, or just talk with someone about something other than work.
- Take time for yourself to relax and recharge; you'll be more productive if you're not stressed out all the time.
- Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem! And be sure to reward yourself in some way when you reach milestones you planned for.
- Find a community of likeminded peers that you connect with regularly for support. Others who are also trying to be successful entrepreneurs can be a great comfort on encouragement during times of challenge.
- Find a mentor who can offer support and advice.
- Don’t compare yourself to others who have already succeeded. Learn from them, yes! But do catch yourself if you're comparing where you are at now, to the success they've already achieved. This is not fair to you. They've worked through times of failure too. When you fail at something, don’t think that you’re a failure or that you will never succeed at anything again. Do regular journaling to catch any negative thoughts or lies you've come to believe that could be holding you back.
How do you already like to motivate yourself?
One of my favourites ways to motivate myself is by creating a weekly check-list when I do my weekly planning which lists activities that motivate me that are connected to my goals, and then checking them off as I achieve them. At the end of each week, I reflect on what worked to motivate me and what didn't, and then I use this self-reflection feedback when planning for my upcoming week.
Do you have a favourite way to motivate yourself? What works best for you? Or what are you excited to try? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to hear more on this entrepreneurial mindset?
Do you want to hear more about this topic with specific examples? Listen to this related podcast episode, 5 Steps to Keep Your Motivation Level High Consistently, for more:
We discuss in this episode, on how to keep your motivation level high:
Common reasons why new entrepreneurs can feel like giving up. (4:00)
5 steps you can take to keep your motivation level high consistently. (8:00)
What to do if you're not sure if you should give up on your business or continue on. (18:22)