Imagine the patience Thomas Edison must have had. He reputedly failed 10,000 times before he perfected the incandescent bulb. For 13 years he feverishly worked on it.
Of course, he didn’t invent the light bulb, he merely worked on perfecting an earlier idea. And, he didn’t work alone either, he had a whole team of engineers experimenting with a variety of ideas. But every time an idea didn’t work. He made notes and moved ahead.
As he’s famously quoted “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He stayed motivated trying one thing after another until it did work. If Edison can push through for 13 years, we should be able to push through a season of mental slumpery.
Maybe you’re not in the technology business–you’re a lawyer or accountant or another professional who works with individuals. No matter your business model, it’s crucial to keep yourself in the game and your mindset “right”.
And, if you’ve ever fallen in a slump, you know the importance of getting yourself out of it quickly. You have to, for the sake of your business. Here are 3 ways to get back in the game when you feel yourself slipping.
#1. Re-fuel. My daughter has a poster in her bedroom with a picture of a cute little puppy with his eyes closed. The caption on it says, “when all else fails, take a nap.” … I find that this children’s poster is actually quite dead on for even us adults. When you find your mind slipping into a funk, like having I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-this thoughts, that’s a good time to give yourself a break from the business — even if just for a quiet afternoon at a day spa. If you have thoughts of actually quitting for good, well, that will call for a whole week or two away from the business.
With kids we know that when their bodies are tired, everything goes: they whine, complain, cry and just are quite miserably unhappy. Well, not much really changes in that regard as we age into adulthood. So, if you’re lacking in motivation, there’s a good chance it’s mostly from being too tired. Remove that ball and chain and give yourself some time to re-fuel. By the way, when you’re in business for yourself, that ball and chain is always self-imposed.
#2–Line up your lifeline list. Like that show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, you have a lifeline. Choose a mentor, friend, coach, business partner, someone you can trust to listen and be caring when you’re having a tough time but who’ll help you break through your perceived obstacles.
Sometimes all you need is someone who’s been there with similar problems and can give you useful advice. Or, who can see your “blind spots” and point them out to you. In other words, what are you overlooking? Most of the times, our problems are not as bad as we think. Many of them can even be turned into opportunities. It just takes another perspective to point out the opportunity.
Let me give you an example. One client I had was absolutely devastated when his local borough commissioners decided to throw in what he thought was an impossible obstacle.
His business only had 35 parking spaces, but for his new initiative, which he was seeking approval for, the borough elected that they required that he had 200 parking spaces. To him, he felt that his great business plan was tanked right here in the 11th hour. His brain became too clouded with emotion to be able to think creatively around this obstacle.
Thankfully, he was clear headed enough to call me for help. The solution actually only took 2 hours to implement (only after he took 3 months trying to solve it on his own.) We successfully got enough of his commercial neighbors to agree to loan us their parking spaces (in writing, of course). In the process my client got to meet all of his neighbors (for the first time, even though he’s been there for years) which in turn, forged important future alliances for him.
#3– Take action. You can remain a stagnant pool of water by your inactions, or you can make waves. Waves occur when there’s momentum. Momentum occurs when there’s movement. So, make a decision to start moving towards your goals. Of course, that means you have to look at your goals.
Remind yourself what was the #1 result you wanted to accomplish this year and why. Remind yourself what was the reason you got into this business in the first place? So, what’s one thing you can do right now to move your most important goal forward? If you haven’t broken your goals down into monthly, weekly, and daily to do’s, spend some time doing that. Studies show people who write down their goals and review them daily are far more likely to achieve them.
If fact, a Harvard Business Review study found people who
1) wrote down their goals
2) created an action plan around achieving them
3) sent that plan to a friend
4) and followed up weekly were 76% more likely to achieve those goals!
So, what will you do today to stay motivated? Remind yourself why you need to succeed in your business? Take action on an important goal? Phone a lifeline? Take a nap?
Whatever it is, do it. And do it and do it. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “People often tell me that motivation doesn’t last, and I tell them that bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily.”
QUESTION: What tends to throw you off your game and how do you move yourself from sluggish motivation to high motivation? Please share your tips below and brighten someone’s day.
About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development. Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947.
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