Entrepreneurship is a demanding job — and one that encroaches on your lifestyle. You’ll face long nights, working weekends, tough decisions and tougher consequences. So what is it that gets entrepreneurs out of bed in the morning? What motivates them to keep going, even in the face of adversity?
As you might imagine, there’s no single answer here. Instead, each entrepreneur has his/her own vision for what motivation is, and how you can summon it.
Fear failure and crave victory.
Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur and investor, claims in a Bloomberg article that his motivation comes from twin motivations: a repulsion toward failure and a constant desire to win. He understands that entrepreneurship is a constant competition. There are always younger, nimbler and more invested entrepreneurs in your field. Knowing that at any moment, a competitor could swallow you whole is motivation enough to keep moving and improving.
Be grateful for what you already have.
Gary Vaynerchuk, Belarusian American entrepreneur and famed wine critic, attributes his recurring motivation to being grateful for what he already has and has done. Instead of focusing on all the dreams you’ve yet to achieve or all the hardships you’re facing, take a moment to focus on what you’ve already achieved and all the advantages at your back. Your hard work has already paid off, at least in some ways, and that should be enough to keep you going.
Look to a mentor.
Warren Buffett, famed investor and one of the richest people on the planet, speaks with great admiration about his mentor Benjamin Graham and actively encourages newcomers to seek and follow mentors of their own. Go out and meet entrepreneurs more experienced than you. Not only will you likely learn something about business management and find new potential partners for your future endeavours, you may also find a source of recurring inspiration — someone who has been through it all and still come out on top.
Find your passion.
Chances are, you got into entrepreneurship because you’re passionate about creating new businesses or because you’re passionate about the industry you entered. Recall that passion, and remind yourself why you love this line of work. If you find that you’re no longer passionate, ask yourself what went wrong, and see if you can make changes in your approach to rekindle that passion. If you can’t rekindle that passion, it may be time to find another career.
Surround yourself with optimism.
A negative mentality can be contagious and energy-consuming. Instead of succumbing to it, surround yourself with things that inspire optimism, such as photos of your friends and family members, reminders of your long-term goals, or inspirational quotes from your favourite writers and entrepreneurs. It also helps to surround yourself with naturally optimistic people; you’d be amazed how easily that attitude can transfer from one person to another.
Stop overthinking things.
Richard Branson, founder of companies that include a record company and an airline and space travel enterprise, attributes much of his success to his six-word motto: “Screw it. Let’s just do it.” His style may be a bit brash, but there’s something important to learn here. When facing a difficult problem or a project he isn’t fully sure of, he doesn’t wait around for motivation to settle in. Instead, he just does something. Success and failure both allow you to learn something and move forward, so you might as well.
Don’t be motivated; be disciplined.
I was speaking at a high school recently when a student asked me that important question: how do you stay motivated? My answer was simple: “I don’t.” And it’s true. There are days where I wake up and don’t have any motivation at all. I want to stay in bed or browse social media, but it’s because of my self-discipline that I keep going. Motivation is fleeting. It comes and goes. Motivation gets you started, discipline keeps you going. Don’t be motivated, be disciplined and hold yourself accountable.
Toward a motivated future.
There are many different approaches to motivation, just as there are many approaches to entrepreneurship. Hopefully you’ve found inspiration or resonance with these entrepreneurs and have found some new strategies to keep yourself moving.
Image credit: Aurelien Meunier | Getty Images