Motivating yourself is an extremely difficult skill to hone. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say if you can’t self-motivate, you probably shouldn’t own your own business. If you have the skill of self-motivation, however, nothing can hold you back.
Once you’ve stepped up to be your own boss it can be lonely at the top. Instead of taking direction from a supervisor, you are setting the pace and direction at your business. And while controlling your own destiny can be incredibly freeing, it can also lead to doubts, uncertainty and unfocused decisions.
See when you own a small business—hell even if you own a large business—every decision is important. We already discussed the importance of hiring the right team—critical. Your physical location, the appearance of your office, pricing, branding, marketing, whether or not you upgrade your toilet paper—all of these things add up to what your business is about and what clients you are trying to attract. When every decision is important, you don’t want to make the “wrong” decision. And fear of making the “wrong” decision often leads to making no decision at all.
With the stakes so high, how is it possible to stay motivated to grow your business and also keep your employees focused on growing the business? Simple. All you have to do is ask yourself: “What do I want?”
Whoa! Time out. Big T. What?! How is asking the question, “What do I want?” going to help me stay motivated?
Stay with me here…if you ask yourself “What do I want?” you’ll have a vision for where you want to get in business or life, whatever. But if you don’t have that vision, you won’t get anywhere.
I once had a boss that said, “You should always know what your next job is before you even accept your current job.” It was hard for me to understand the point he was trying to make because he would often get so angry at the office and yell at everyone that his nose would bleed. (I have since developed a slightly different management style—yelling without a bleeding nose. Less messy. Just kidding.) But after I stopped working for him, I actually realized what he was saying. You have to know your end point and make sure that every decision leads you in the direction of that final vision.
Ok. Great. I’ll figure out what I want and that will keep me motivated to get there. Not quite. You’ll want to take it one step further and create a Vision Board.
A Vision Board is a collection of images, words, or small trinkets that define your dreams and goals. I have one—I actually had one in high school without knowing it. I would tape cool pictures, magazine cutouts, and inspiring articles on my bedroom wall. I also wrote out quotes on the wall with Sharpie. Every day I would read one or two and it helped me stay motivated to get up for swim team in the morning and go back to practice in the afternoon.
My Vision Board now is similar but it also has pictures of the kind of kitchen I want and places I want to travel—all things that I’m working towards by growing my business.
What’s so interesting is that once you define your goals, they seem easier to reach. You’ll stop coming up with excuses for trying to reach them. And nothing will be holding you back.
Next post will discuss how to take it one step further and keep your team motivated.
Until then, stay on your toes!