Investing in Your Happiness Is the Path to Success
Square peg, round hole. You will fit in somewhere.
Being constantly motivated is hard to do and something we cannot afford as entrepreneurs, particularly if we are in a startup phase. Technology will always provide a means to improve the tangible parts of our business. However, we are not robots. Too often we fail to recognize, attend to and invest in the one thing that can derail our motivation with catastrophic effects on our business and personal lives -- our psychological strength and well-being.
Riding the unpredictable peaks and troughs of the business roller coaster can be elating and overwhelming all at once, not to mention lonely. Having ways to maintain and drive our motivation as entrepreneurs requires much more attention than you might think.
Related: It's OK to Not Be OK
Here are three tips, if developed early, that will sustain and heighten your motivation, not just in your current project, but in the future as well.
1. Carefully choose the company you keep.
In their research, James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis found those who influence our happiness in our social relationships extend beyond the first degree of separation. As entrepreneurs -- particularly in startup mode -- life can be terribly isolating. As entrepreneurs, we choose an unpredictable roller coaster journey that can vastly impact our mental and emotional states. We, therefore, need to be highly particular about the company we keep, control the amount and quality of energy we give and scrutinize our exposure to that which we receive.
Energy and relationships that derail our motivation is not a luxury we can afford. Review each relationship and consider the quality and quantity of the exchange. Does it help you? Hinder you? Is it inspiring and supportive? Is it collaborative? Does it challenge you in a good way? Ask yourself these questions, and you will find some overdue culling might be warranted, as well as some time invested finding new individuals to add to your inner circle.
2. Join or create a mastermind group.
When Napolean Hill published Think and Grow Rich in 1937, he introduced to the world the concept of mastermind groups. Interestingly, the intense value of being in such a network is only recently being embraced.
It does not have to be lonely at the top. Whatever level you are at, there are others guaranteed to be on the same quest. You just need to find them.
Memberships such as the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) provide multiple levels and types of support to younger chief executives globally. Containing 24,000 members in 130 countries, support to its members also addresses the impact upon their families. Leadership is not a hat we take off when we step outside of the office doors. It is a life philosophy and attitude that proliferates through all areas of our lives. Look for a mastermind group that accommodates this.
Finding the right group fit for you is essential. Even if you need to create your own group, choose your members wisely. Set boundaries for showing up, contributing and following up with each other. Keep focused and on task. Fuel your motivation with the collective genius of others to collaborate, solve problems, cross-promote, network and learn new things. On days when motivation is low, plug into your group. It will give back to you tenfold what you invest in it.
3. Invest wisely and strategically in ongoing personal development.
If you have ever automatically hesitated and refused a directive by your business coach, ask yourself why. There will be a reason. Your business is a reflection of you. Your beliefs, your ideas, your ability to delegate and your skills all affect your relationships, your business progress and your outcomes. Not recognizing how your psychological and emotional make-up affects how you operate is naïve. You need to start recognizing what patterns, beliefs and habits are keeping you in the status quo. Knowing where to start can involve a quick and easy process.
First, review your level of satisfaction in each main area of your life using a rating between zero (to indicate least/no satisfaction) and 10 (representing being completely satisfied):
- Money and finances
- Physical and mental health
- Leisure, family and intimate relationships
- Spirituality and religion
- Career pursuits
- Friends and social relationships
Second, ask yourself what level of satisfaction you desire in each of those areas. Give yourself a second rating. Have a look at the size of the difference between your current and desired ratings. This will give you clues as to where to start addressing underlying causes of your dissatisfaction and then work on how to turn this around.
Consider working with a coach and/or business psychologist to open up the conversation. Look for an expert who specializes in the areas you wish to tackle. If you have never had education and healthy guidance around money and finance management, look for a qualified coach -- with relevant and integral credentials – in this area.
Avoid the mistake of taking a spray and pray approach. Becoming a serial course-goer or weekend seminar junkie will overwhelm you and create a spray and pray approach. Not only will that decrease your motivation, it is time and money down the drain. Do your utmost due diligence to choose these support professionals and programs wisely. Working steadily and consistently will sustain strong and steady motivation and momentum.
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