8 Ways to Develop Long-Term Focus and Achieve Success
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
It’s been said that your most valuable form of capital is your mind. Entrepreneurial Personality Types (or EPTs), discovered by Alex Charfen, are naturally capable of widespread success -- but what happens when you’re pushed off track? These eight methods will help you to regain laser focus and use those extra-special personality traits to succeed.
Finances need to be tracked. Ideas need to be fleshed out on paper. Goals must be clearly stated. Spontaneous projects may be fun, but you'll panic as soon as you realize you don't know where your time and money are going. Take advantage of spreadsheets to track your progress as you build upon a founding idea. Keep a compact journal on hand to scribble down concepts and contacts as you go; then you'll have a reference to turn to when you veer off track. A clean, organized mindset is one upon which you can build something great.
Your never-ending to-do list will become a bit less intimidating once its contents are prioritized. What is the one task you must complete before the day is over? Circle it, draw a star next to it, write a “#1” in the margin -- whatever you need to do to indicate its importance. Then designate two tasks you’d like to complete, but that aren’t necessarily urgent. The leftover items on the list should be long-term: tasks that can be completed within the next week or so. By prioritizing your to-do list, not only have you outlined what you need to do, but you’ve figured out how you’re going to accomplish it.
3. Get excited for the day.
Don’t treat your day like any other workday. You’re a business owner, making your dreams a reality -- get excited. Entrepreneurship is mentally draining, but if you point out one task you’re actually looking forward to each day, your work will turn into fun. Bonus points if your top-priority task matches up with this one!
4. Don’t do it for the money.
Sure, your big idea may someday result in a large house, a nice car, and endless luxury vacations, but don’t let finances become your biggest motivator. Launching a long-term project mainly for the money will result in early burnout. The beginning of any business is going to be tough on your wallet, and you’ll only make it through if you have another drive to continue. What makes you want to own a business over landing a successful job someplace else? Is it the desire to become a household name, or a wish to help those in need? Remember the reason you became an entrepreneur and keep it close -- in your conscience, on your phone or on a piece of paper in your pocket.
5. Make a habit of working toward your goal.
Old habits die hard. Imagine how much you’d accomplish once working on your business became a mere habit. Successful entrepreneurs take a step forward daily, whether it’s by marketing, networking, seeking funding, or researching. The more you work at something, the easier it becomes. If you have a hard time creating positive habits for yourself, print out a habit calendar and try to check off a box every day.
6. Develop a reward system.
It’s an element of classical conditioning: rewards shape long-term positive behavior. It can take a while to reap the rewards from a small business, so take care to reward yourself as you progress. Outwardly acknowledging your achievements will make you feel good and motivate you to succeed even more in the future. If you accomplish a tough task, allow yourself a small reward, like a nice meal or a quiet moment of relaxation. Eventually, you’ll be able to kick procrastination and finish things quickly by celebrating positive behavior.
7. Maintain faith in your motives and ideas.
Even when you have a stack of market research supporting your business idea, it’s easy to lose faith and second-guess your plans moving forward. Give yourself a boost of confidence by listing out your strengths and focusing on how to improve your weaknesses. What inspired you to start your business? How is that inspiration still relevant today? Why are you the best person possible to help your business succeed? Remember not everyone possesses the patience, emotional strength, and creativity needed to start a business -- you’re a certain kind of special already.
8. Develop a thick skin.
No one’s work is perfect, especially at the beginning. Learn to accept constructive criticism from your peers and block out emotionally-driven comments. Develop a network of people you trust to provide valuable feedback. This can dramatically improve the quality of your work while also creating an emotional support system. No matter how well your business is performing, someone will always be there to offer both constructive criticism and empty, negative comments. Create a filter that weeds out the latter and places a healthy amount of objective focus on the former.
It’s normal for even the best entrepreneurs to experience a blur of focus every now and then. EPTs lose momentum when society tells them their methods, thought processes, and personalities are somehow in the wrong. But as Alex Charfen puts it, you’re not alone. Learn more about EPTs and uncover your own greatness by downloading Alex Charfen’s free e-book here.