It seems like a lot of small business owners are trying to just push through these days. I am hearing so many stories about loss of motivation, overwhelm, and exhaustion.
My post “The Grind, Sh*t Sandwiches, and Other Inconvenient Truths” was a tough love post about surviving the slow slog. In this post, I want to explore what can be the engine for sustaining motivation.
Inspiration causes motivation
Mark Manson says, “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.” This made me stop dead in my tracks. The order he puts it in is different from the way we usually think about it. He uses this visual representation:
“Action –> Inspiration –> Motivation” ~ Mark Manson
Clarity comes from engagement
Have you ever found yourself in analysis paralysis when launching a new product or service? If you were a client of mine, I would be pushing you to talk to people, prospects, and others LONG before you felt you were ready.
Here’s the thing: What you are thinking or writing may appear brilliant and inspiring to you, and what actually comes out of your mouth as you talk to someone may fall flat.
Talking to people and seeing how they react, what they take away from what you say, and how it hits them emotionally will get you farther faster than wordsmithing and perfecting.
“Clarity comes from engagement not thought.” ~ Marie Forleo
Progress is hard
Staying the course can take all the energy you can muster. Is running your own business “the dream”? Some days yes, and many days no.
It can be helpful to remember what pain you are actively moving away from and what dream you are trying to move toward.
“Making miracles is hard work. Most people give up before they happen.”
~ Sheryl Crow
Despair is spiritual
Like many entrepreneurs and creatives, I struggle through anxiety and depression. It’s helpful to try to keep some perspective during these times and remember that life goes in cycles: There will be bad times but also good times.
It can help to switch things up. Try doing something different or changing your location – anything to make a tough day not the same as the previous tough day(s).
“Despair is a spiritual disease that tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today.”
~ Rob Bell
Action is the key
Whether it’s my career transition or solo consultant clients, I am constantly reminding them that doing one or two small things each day will lead to big progress over time.
If you’re having a bad day and can’t engage, just do one thing so you don’t start the next day beating yourself up for not doing anything the previous day.
The human animal is designed to solve problems and learn and grow. When we reach a goal, we feel good for a bit – and then make another goal.
Often when we reach a goal, we may not have the overwhelming sense of joy that we thought we would. Frequently, we say to ourselves, “Is this it?”
Why is this? It’s because the day-to-day joy is in doing the work, feeling like we are moving forward toward something.
“Progress equals happiness.” ~ Tony Robbins
Discipline tends to disappear over time. Motivation is sustained by staying in motion, learning, and growing. This is the engine that will drive your success.