Entrepreneurship is almost never an overnight whirlwind of success. Most entrepreneurs know that success is a marathon that requires continuous concentration and energy, focused on shifting problems and solutions that only get larger and more complicated as the business grows. Motivation can wax and wane, and it takes unrelenting attentiveness to stay positive.
However, being motivated costs you nothing, but can get you everything. Your motivation and positivity can attract a brilliant team, the right investors, lifelong customers, and doors opening in places you would never expect. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who don’t give up, even when it looks like there is no hope. In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve found a few ways that have helped me to stay positive. Here’s nine that I hope will help you, as well.
1. Stay positive.
When you find yourself feeling like nothing is going right, staying positive can make all of the difference. I’ve found that the best way for me to stay positive is to have touchstone practices that I know will bring me back to a state of motivation and happiness.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
We are nothing if not products of our environment. Entrepreneurship can be difficult in the best circumstances, and even the most positive entrepreneurs find it disheartening when confronted with negativity day in and day out. So, create an inner circle of people that support your endeavors and keep the faith. You’ll quickly feel more positive yourself.
3. Cutting out the negative people
In addition to surrounding yourself with positive people, it’s a good idea to be relentless in axing negative people from your life. Sure, sometimes your friends and family have bad days or feel angry and need to vent, everyone does. But when someone is chronically naysaying or tries to keep you down, your productivity and success are on the line and it’s time to tell them goodbye.
4. Believe in yourself.
In business there are always challenges and failures. It is almost impossible to continue to see yourself as successful and push forward when you crucify yourself for every little mistake. Remember that everyone fails — failures are a part of the learning that is required of every prosperous entrepreneur. Learn the lesson and move on knowing that you will be stronger and wiser with every step on your path.
5. Find a business that makes you happy.
Your life’s work — the majority of your hours, your thoughts, and energy — is wasted when it’s devoted to growing a business that you hate. Life is too short to compromise your health and happiness. Yes, money is necessary. But there is always the possibility of doing work that is aligned with your passion and excitement as closely as possible. Make your life into one where you wake up enthusiastically and go to sleep satisfied.
6. Get physical.
The way that you feel in your body directly translates to the way that you feel in your mind. When you neglect exercise, eat poorly, lose sleep, or are in generally poor health, your mind suffers and so does your motivation. So run the stadium steps, deadlift your highest weight, and get eight hours of sleep — your muscle memory of pushing your limits and succeeding will kick in the next time you’re in the board room or facing a long night of number-crunching.
7. Surround yourself with objects that remind you of good times.
We are the ultimate creators and beneficiaries of our environment, immediate and macrocosmic. Take into account that what you see on a daily basis will effect how you feel. To motivate yourself truly, put objects in your daily line of sight that remind you of positive feelings: love, happiness, good times with friends and family, beloved pets, or success milestones. Give yourself the daily reminder of why you do what you do.
8. Have a motivational mantra.
Keep yourself in alignment with your deepest values by creating an easy saying that you can repeat to yourself when things get difficult. It doesn’t have to be anything long or complicated, even something like, “I can do this, and I will.” Giving yourself a verbal touchstone on which to rest in moments where you feel less than inspired will help you come back to your core values immediately.
9. Find ways to reward yourself.
Sometimes motivation is just not there, and reward systems are one of the easiest and most primal ways to find it again. Set rewards for yourself that reflect the size of the project that you accomplish: small rewards for incremental tasks and larger rewards for finishing a big project. It can be treats, vacation time, or a pedicure, just give yourself what you deserve.