How to Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
Picture Credit: Sean Malloy - Videographer, Surfer & Peak Prosper Member
As an entrepreneur, you may have launched your business to a rush of excitement around creating something that you’re truly passionate about and really good at - something that serves a need in your chosen market and gets you pumped to get out of bed in the morning. Whether you’re new to the world of entrepreneurship or a seasoned business owner, you know this feeling all too well.
In the beginning, your motivation for building your business seems unlimited as your mind begins teeming with the prospect of working for yourself, choosing your work hours or setting your own salary. But as time moves on and your business begins to take shape, it’s all too easy to lose steam and lose the ‘why’ that got you into what you’re doing now in the first place.
Working on your business is a long game that requires a clear intrinsic motivational stack, allowing you to thrive and prosper over the lifespan of your business. Without clear intrinsic drivers, you run the risk of shortchanging your potential with diminishing your chances of success and experiencing entrepreneurial burnout when the going gets tough.
It’s important to know what motivates you and what lit the initial spark of entrepreneurship within you. We’ve written this article to inspire you to keep going and to guide you on your journey to building a thriving business over the long-haul.
- What Is Motivation?
- What is Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation?
- How is Motivation and Flow State Related?
- Where Does Motivation Come From?
- How Motivation Affects Business Performance
- Resources to Help Entrepreneurial Men Stay Focused and Motivated
What Is Motivation?
“He who has a strong enough why can bear any how.” - Friedrich Nietzche
Neuroscientific findings have shown that what we know as motivation stems from an individual’s cognitive-emotional connection to something or someone.
It is this driving force that underpins your willingness to set a vision for your business, improve your product, notch up the quality of your marketing efforts and refine your sales funnel for example. It is your ‘why’ and without a clear definition of what yours is, you’re likely to feel unmotivated and uninspired at different stages of your business growth.
Why you started your business stems from either an intrinsic or extrinsic motivation - the former type being infinitely more powerful for your efforts.
What is Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation?
Extrinsic motivation has at its core a focus on outcomes: doing something for the sake of money, prestige or the desire to be praised or acknowledged.
This driver causes you to take action based on what you’re going to get as a result of your efforts. It’s waking up with the Monday blues to grind on initiatives within your business you’re not wholly aligned with or showing up in a certain way because society, your peers or family expect you to.
Unfortunately, extrinsic motivation is only great to get you going, but it soon wanes, leading to burnout, fatigue and low motivation. Because the energy and passion for the work no longer sustain it, inspiring projects that are initially exciting don’t get executed as the weeks and months drag on. In contrast to extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation is what is needed to successfully run a business over the long-haul.
Intrinsic motivation is defined by doing our work for the sheer pleasure of doing it and to experience deeply aligned work satisfaction. It’s ultimately fueled by your personal and professional life purpose. Your life purpose mixes what you are passionate about with what you were put on this earth to do. It is the reason you exist. Your purpose becomes monetizable when you mix it with your natural skills, strengths and passions and apply them in such a way that it benefits others.
Author Steven Kotler calls this “alignment of purpose, passion, curiosity, autonomy and vision an intrinsic motivational stack.”
How is Motivation and Flow State Related?
Intrinsic motivation drives the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain - two critical hormones required to enter ‘flow’. You probably know what it feels like to disappear into your bliss for hours on end, tuning out the world around you as you become immersed in the exciting project at hand.
Coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow state is the highly focused mental state you enter when you’re completely absorbed in your subject of choice.
Where Does Motivation Come From?
Becoming aware of the tell-tale signs of your purpose can be daunting when you’re bogged down in the mundane details of everyday life. But if you look closely and try to recall the last time you felt truly alive and excited about something, you’re likely to track this experience to a memory of a particular activity you enjoyed in early childhood that you may have forgotten as you entered adulthood.
Your intrinsic motivation lies here, at the intersection of what you’re passionate and excited about and how your unique skill set serves the world. Without a robust sense of purpose, your days can easily turn into a never-ending, lukewarm grind. Losing sight of your purpose leads many entrepreneurs down a path of increased anxiety and even depression. A work-life without meaning can sap away your best energy and potential.
On the flip-side, if you’ve found your purpose and aligned it with your Massively Transformative Vision (MTV), you’ll more readily enter flowstate, have greater confidence as a result of a stronger sense of identity, have clarity on what you want and find fulfillment in your personal and professional life.
How Motivation Affects Business Performance
When you’re intrinsically motivated your productivity will skyrocket and the seemingly impossible will become achievable. And instead of the brain fog and crushed morale indicative of low motivation, you’ll see the potential challenge in every problem as you start to work on world-class solutions.
10 Ways to Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
1. Become a Burnout Proof Entrepreneur
Characterized by depleted energy, exhaustion and mental strain, burnout is one of the leading factors for why entrepreneurs experience negative feelings and anxiety when it comes to their work. It comes as a result of overworking yourself without due concern for your mental or physical health. The good news is that it can be prevented.
Frequent breaks of about 15 to 30 minutes after a 90 minute burst of work activity throughout your week, is much better than resting only at the end of a workday or once a week. Coupled with healthy intrinsic motivation and the right type of work (aligned with your purpose and vision), consistently taking a break will prevent burnout from finding a foothold in your life.
2. Revisit Your Why: What Motivated You to Become an Entrepreneur?
As mentioned before, finding and knowing your purpose and letting that inform the choices you make in your business is paramount. Keeping your ‘why’ front of mind will keep you from losing sight of the reason you started your business to begin with.
A good way to keep your mind clear of distraction and zone in on your purpose daily is to practice some form of meditation, as this builds awareness, confidence, and clarity - helping you to live in the present and rid yourself of mental noise that sends stress signals to your body. Your meditation practice will quiet you and build confidence in the vision you set for yourself, while also tuning out unwanted distractions that rob you of the clarity required to show up as your best self.
3. Revamp Your Business Vision
Your vision is a vivid mental image of where you see your business going in the future, based on your internal motivation. Writing down a crystal clear vision statement helps you stay focused and stops you from going off track. In our free Business Mindset Secrets Mini-Course you’ll learn how to reprogram your mind and set a vision that leverages your unique and authentic skills, strengths and passions to create a business that you love.
4. Create a 90-Day Performance Improvement Plan
Successful entrepreneurs are incessant goal setters who map the path to their destination way ahead of time. In order to get to where you’re going, you’ll need to set goals and create an action plan that maps a clear path to achieving them. Your plan of action should be crystal clear resulting in a decrease in cognitive load, which in turn triggers flowstate, and fuels a positive feedback loop - the more you get done, the more motivated you feel.
5. Level Up Your Exercise Routine
To circumvent low motivation and lethargy, create and stick to a consistent exercise routine that works for you. Exercising first thing in the morning decreases the stress-inducing hormone cortisol which is at its peak at the start of the day. Exercise releases BDNF—brain-derived neurotrophic factor which repairs brain cells damaged by stress and accelerates the formation of neural connections - turning your brain on and allowing you to think better and process faster. We recommend a 10 to 20-minute workout twice a day, once in the morning and once in the early evening.
6. Double Down on Your Strengths
Low motivation is often driven by doing things we don’t want to do or are not good at. This is why it makes more sense to focus on your strengths - the unique super powers that light you up. By delegating the work you are not a natural fit for, you stay in your Natural Operating State so that you can increase your income and impact.
7. Optimize Your Sleep Performance
The average adult needs 7 hours of sleep per night - anything less begins to affect your work performance for the worse. Creating a pre-sleep ritual that starts about three hours before you go to bed will get you off to a good night’s rest.
Make sure not to consume alcohol during this period (as it takes your body a long time to metabolize), take a warm or cool shower to wash off the day’s concerns and then unplug yourself from all digital devices. Spend some time reading and/or meditating, get in quality time with your loved ones and optimize your room for the time of rest ahead. Make sure your room is completely dark and even wear an eyepatch if needed. The key is to eliminate any form of distraction so that you can be at your best in the morning.
8. Join A Mastermind
At Peak Prosper, we’ve cultivated a community of high-performing entrepreneurial men who each are turning their business visions into a reality. The accountability these robust relationships provide help to keep each guy on track and committed to their success. When you surround yourself with like-minded individuals and the joint knowledge, resources and networks therein, you’re more likely to achieve what you set out for than if you were to go it alone.
9. Focus on the Process Rather Than the End Result
“Trusting yourself has little to do with the outcome. Instead, we can learn to trust the process…the practice is its own reward” - Seth Godin
Once you clearly define your goals and where you want to get to, it’s time to focus on the process. The right series of habits will get you from where you are to where you want to be. But in following this logic, it’s important not to get too attached to the outcome (remember external motivation), but rather focus your energies on the tiny actions and steps you can take now, today.
Logging these incremental steps daily leads to the goal you envision. The more you cling to a desired result, the harder it is to make it happen.
10. Simplify Your Strategy & To-do List
To achieve more, first do less - this will reduce overwhelm and procrastination. Too many items on your to-do-list is a breeding ground for procrastination because you’re not clear on where to start. Rather focus on three to five highly important, needle-moving action items per day and pre-block time to tick these things off your list. Doing this daily will gradually reduce a monumental task into bite-sized chunks.
Resources to Help Entrepreneurial Men Stay Focused and Motivated
Get Instant Access To The Business Mindset Secrets Mini-Course
- Build your motivational stack to elevate your business performance
- Eliminate negative thoughts, fear, doubt, & frustration.
- Increase profit and impact.
- Create more mental and time freedom in your life and business.
Books To Help Entrepreneurs Become More Motivated
- Motivation Manifesto - Brendon Burchard
- You Squared - Price Pritchett
- Start With Why - Simon Sinek
Now that you’re clear on the importance of staying motivated and how to go about doing so, you’re set up for creating and sustaining world-class performance in your business and personal life. If you’re wanting to level up and get clear on your ‘why’, book a 1:1 clarity call and take the first step toward realizing your entrepreneurial dream.