Motivation to take action and do the work is abundant when the idea is new and fresh. The excitement of starting something new and creating a dream can propel us forward to develop a plan with a deadline that is likely under-estimated and over enthusiastically envisioned. Daniel Kahneman, in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow”, is a psychologist and statistics champion has discovered in his research that we are more likely to expect to succeed in a new business venture than accept the baseline statistics of known success rates. Even when we know that only about 35% of all new business will last more than 5 years (based on USA stats) we do not give up. Since 70% of us are likely to fold by year 5, what makes the 35% different? Kahneman refers to this as the ‘Planning Fallacy” and we are all susceptible. This means that we are likely to overestimate our level of success and under estimate the time it will take us to complete our plan.
Implementing when you are excited about your vision is easier than creating your new procedures, training a new employee for the hundredth time, or making your tenth sales call for the morning, 4 days in a row. Making your bill payments, consistent marketing, bookkeeping, and any other mundane operation in your business will be less inspiring. Implementation will not be as easy, nor as high on your priorities without an extraordinary effort to create something different. After all, it will likely take you 3 to 5 years to become consistently profitable, if you make it at all.
We can make our estimates more accurate and our plans more valuable when we know the pitfalls, one of which is ‘lack of motivation’. So as our plan matures and our business becomes more routine, how do we continue to motivate ourselves with the excitement and energy of a new business owner?
Know Your Goal
You must review your top goals regularly. You must have an emotional connection to their completion. If your top goal is written as “make more money”, it will not be as impactful or compelling to your motivation as “having $10,000 for a down-payment on a house by the end of the year”. I have talked about SMARTAR goals several times in this blog and I continue to mention them because of how important it is to your motivation to have something you really want to see complete. With more motivation you will be driven to see more opportunities, learn more ways to succeed, and implement more of your plan in a timely manner, and hopefully be able to side-step unforeseen challenges as they arise.
Understand the Path
It is so much easier to be motivated when you have something to do that you know you can accomplish. Make your daily tasks something you can complete. Keep the list short and ask yourself of each task, “will this get me closer to my goal?” It only sounds easy, but managing the routing of working IN and ON your business will make this less likely to happen. If you can make it a routine and add your ‘to do’ list review process to the beginning of your day it will increase the likelihood you will complete the tasks and move closer to completing your plan.
Don’t gloss over your accomplishments. You must spend time being grateful for the tasks you have finished, the deadline you have met, the sales you have made, the people you have helped, and the goals you have completed. Even recognizing the value of a failure will help you learn quicker and move on. Inspire yourself with your own accomplishments so you can continue to push forward and create a successful and profitable business.
Taking action in your business can be hard some days. Laundry, kids, self-pity, and other life experiences can sneak in and steal your resolve to make something great. If you start your day with your plan and your to-do list and end your day with a review of what you have accomplished, you will be completing more work and getting closer to your goals every day.