I am no stranger to feeling stuck in life. I’ve been training with some of the best coaches on the planet during 20 years of my sports career as an Olympic athlete. After I finished my sports career, I wanted to convey my knowledge about motivational psychology and training to other people and my own clients, but that wasn’t as easy as it first seemed. Without proper motivation from my coaches, it felt extremely difficult to take the first steps in creating my own company.
Starting a new company brings initial excitement, which can soon wear off if desired results keep escaping the founders. There are also plenty of wanna-be entrepreneurs, who dream about launching their own business, but something keeps them from taking the leap: fear, insecurity, or simply the lack of motivation.
Launching a company isn’t easy. You give up the comforts of secure life and stable paycheck, and delve into unknown, unpredictable abyss. If that wasn’t enough, 9 out of 10 startups fail in America. Some of the top reasons for failure involve “losing focus” and “lack of passion,” while main challenges have to do with lack of market need, not enough cash and problems within the team, among other things.
In order to safely get to the other shore of the river and avoid being eaten by sharks, one needs one thing above the rest: motivation.
I looked back at my days as an athlete and understood what was different. I remembered what made me push myself even when I didn’t want to. The difference was that as an athlete I had structured days and a coach to report to. Structure keeps us focused and a coach keeps pushing and challenging us.
After having passed this stage, and founded a successful company – Onbotraining.com – an online brain training course that helps people achieve their goals, I would like to offer my recipe for structured path to success. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
1. Focus on commitment, not motivation.
Just how committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.
2. Seek knowledge, not results.
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring, and experimenting, your motivation will always be fueled. If you focus only on results, such as becoming an owner of a successful company, your motivation will be like weather – it will die the minute you hit a storm. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.
3. Make the learning journey fun.
It’s an awesome game! The minute you make it super serious, there’s a big chance it will start carrying a heavy emotional weight, you will lose perspective and become stuck again.
4. Get rid of stagnating thoughts, related to doubts, fears and insecurities.
Thoughts influence feelings, and feelings determine how we view our work. We have a lot of thoughts in our heads, and we always have a choice on which ones to focus on: the ones that will make us emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will make us move forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, challenging yourself).
5. Use your imagination.
Next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use our imagination. When things go well, we are full of positive energy, and when we are experiencing difficulties, we need to be even more energetic! Therefore, rename your situation. If you keep repeating to yourself “I hate my work,” guess which feelings these words will evoke? However, it’s a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. I have a great exercise for you: just for three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.
6. Stop being nice to yourself.
Motivation means action and action brings results. Sometimes, our actions fail to bring the results we want. So we prefer to be nice to ourselves and not to put ourselves in a difficult situation. We wait for “perfect” timing, for an opportunity, while we drive ourselves into stagnation and sometimes even into depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something that you want to do even if you are afraid.
7. Get rid of distractions.
Meaningless things and distractions will always be in our way, especially those easy, usual things we would rather do instead of focusing on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is the most important. Write a list of time wasters and keep yourself accountable not to do them! For example, limit the time you spend watching TV or browsing social media pages.
8. Don’t rely on others.
You should never expect someone else to do it for you, not even your partner, friend or boss. They are all busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all on you. So roll up the sleeves and let’s go!
Know your three steps forward. You do not need more! Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. When-what-how is super important to schedule. Revise how was your day by what you learned and what you could improve.
10. Protect yourself from burnout.
It’s easy to burn out when you are very motivated. Observe yourself to recognize any signs of tiredness, and take action to rest. Our bodies and mind rest when we schedule relaxation and fun time into our weekly calendar. Do diverse tasks, keep switching between something creative and logical, something physical and still, working alone and with a team. Switch locations. Meditate, or just take deep breaths, close eyes, focus on one thing for 5 minutes.
You lack motivation not because you are lazy or don’t have a goal. Even the biggest stars, richest businessmen or the most accomplished athletes get lazy sometimes. What makes them motivated is the curiosity about how much better or faster they can get. So above all, be curious – and this will lead you to your goals and success.
Follow me on Facebook for more tips and advice!