Starting your own business or working on a new skill (like learning to play guitar) requires you to stay motivated at most times. You cannot start a business overnight. It requires countless hours of work and maybe some sleepless nights. When all your friends are partying on Friday nights, you have to pull an all nighter! It requires lot of self-discipline.
Self-discipline is to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. – Brian Tracy
When we were studying at schools and universities, there were teachers, parents, friends and deadlines to “motivate” us. They kept on pushing us to get good grades and to overcome those milestones.
It’s the same when we are working for someone or a company. Your superior is always behind your ass to see if you are actually getting the work done. That is the reason why despite everything (your cat’s funeral, girlfriend’s birthday and your favorite movie) you somehow miraculously meet those deadlines.
We have always had someone or something to push us and make us get that work done. It has been the situation for about 25 years.
But the scenario is different when it comes to starting your own business. Suddenly it’s just you vs. the whole world. When you want to start a business, there is nobody to push and motivate you. This is one of the reasons why many don’t start their own business (or give up half way).
We have been conditioned by society to be accountable. But when you’re on your own, there are no deadlines, no teachers, no parents, no friends and sometimes even your cat can leave you!
To make things worse, people who are around you “know exactly” why your business idea will not work! They come up with very “rational” reasons why you shouldn’t start your own business. Reasons like how tough the competition is, lack of funding, no customers to buy your product, and not having enough time etc.
Imagine you somehow started your business. Then things become worse. Now you have to continuously keep adding things and innovating on the go. Starting Jump.lk was easy. I watched some tutorials and bam! The site was up and running.
But creating content and growing the number of readers is not easy. Sometimes, I start doubting myself. Will this ever work? Am I doing it right? Why don’t I have enough Facebook page likes? Why isn’t anybody commenting on my posts?
In such erroneous moments, when everything doesn’t go according to the plan, you need motivation to keep going. When you feel down and low, you need something to uplift yourself. When you get that feeling of “just f*** it” and watch the next Game of thrones episode you need motivation to write a post like this. When everybody is chilling on their beds on a Saturday morning, you need to sit in front of your laptop and keep on hitting that keyboard.
So how can you stay motivated and get that work done? Here are some of my best hacks to stay motivated.
Books have been my best companion for years. It’s the books that made me start Jump.lk and it’s what’s giving enough motivation to keep things going. When I wake up in the morning, I prepare my tea and open a book. I read for about 20 minutes (if I wake up on time!). Some of my best morning reads are
- The magic of thinking big by David Schwartz
- Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller
I must have read these books over and over again. Whenever I doubt myself, I keep on coming back to them. If you haven’t finished a book in years, I highly recommend you these books. They are easy to read and most of all, will get you motivated to stay on track.
This is a principle I learned from Mark Manson. It’s so simple but so profound at the same time. When I ask my friends why they are not working on those projects they’ve been talking about for years, this is what they say. “I don’t feel motivated to do it. When I get motivated, I will start on it”. If you’re someone who is waiting till your motivation returns, you will wait forever.
The road to someday, gets you to a town called nowhere. – Tony Robbins
Don’t wait until you’re motivated to start. First start! Do something. If you want to start your own clothing line, go check out what the market offers. Research the new trends. Prepare a plan and identify the first 5 steps to get started. Think of a name to your brand. Do something.
Remember that actions are the fuel to your motivation. When you start on that first task and finish it, you will feel motivated to do the next task. And the next and the next…..and in no time, you will be motivated to keep at it. So next time when you’re waiting till that motivation hits you, DO SOMETHING. In fact, do something right now!
When nobody believes in you and when everybody is negative around you, you can feel quite lonely and terrible. In such times, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people. People who have chosen the road less traveled.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
Go out and meet new people. People who have already started their business or working towards it. There is a high chance that they face the same problems you’re facing right now. Talk with them and share your ideas. In return, they will help you to stay motivated. Live your legend is one such platform if you’re interested. It’s filled with Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and you will find enough motivation to hold on to your goals. If you want to join it, here is the link.
Checking out movie trailers and watching new Selena Gomez videos are not bad, to kill time! But there are lots of motivational and educational videos to help you stay focused and learn new things. Like right now, I have written almost 1000 words in this post and my motivation is dropping. In such times, go to YouTube and watch something that will get your spirits up! Better yet, subscribe to such channels so your feed will be filled with great videos.
Check out my favorite channels so far
Podcasts and audio books
This has been a game-changer for me. I never believed in audio books and I didn’t even consider trying them until one day, I started listening to 59 seconds by Richard Wiseman. I started listening while I was commuting. Since then, I have filled my phone with so many audio programs and podcasts. Rather than listening to radio or repeating the same playlist for years and years, I listen to something new every day.
My mornings have become so productive and by the time I reach office, I have learnt a heap of things while others are complaining about traffic and other B.S. Suddenly I have started enjoying traffic (Am I the only one who likes traffic in Colombo?).
Check out some of my favorite podcasts and audio books. If you want to know how you can get free audio books, drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would happily answer.
- Personal Power II – Anthony Robbins
- The $100 startup – Chris Guillebeau
- We are all weird – Seth Godin
- Money Master the game – Tony Robbins
- Four Hour Workweek Podcast
If you have taken something out of this post, don’t forget to share it on Facebook or any other social media. One of your friends might benefit from it!
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