Keepin’ the faith: three steps to staying energized and motivated

Instant gratification.  It’s hard not to expect it.

Have a tough question you need answered? Instead of going to a library to search through books, you can use Google to research it and get back millions of hits in a matter of seconds.  Fell madly in love with a song you just heard?  You can find, pay for, download, and be listening to your very own copy in under two minutes.  Need to figure out how to get to a new restaurant?  Forget poring over a paper map; you can get your GPS device to talk you right to the door.

With all that, it can be pretty damn challenging to accept that business development is not likely to yield immediate results.  Successful entrepreneurs know an often-painful truth: When it comes to marketing, they’re in it for the long haul, and instant gratification is much more the exception than the rule when it comes to building a business.

Success requires motivation, determination, and focus.

So how do you stay excited about doing what it takes to create that fabulous business?  Here are three sometimes-overlooked strategies to keep you energized and motivated.

Acknowledge and celebrate everything that’s already going right.

It’s way too easy to look at what we’ve done wrong (or not at all) and ignore everything we’ve already done well.  One way to avoid this selective perception is to write down all the move-you-forward activities you complete as you complete them.  (I speak from personal experience when I say that waiting until the end of the day to do this results in you forgetting just how much you actually did accomplish.)  Once you’ve acknowledged your productivity and effectiveness, it’s time to celebrate.  (Chocolate always works for this crucial step.)

Monitor your thoughts for gloom and doom, then intentionally change them to  more positive.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes when you think about an important event or activity coming up, your mind may suddenly flash on visions of catastrophe: nobody comes to the workshop, the clients hate the proposal, the loan officer turns you down.  These worst-case scenarios are often accompanied by a whole range of physical sensations, such as a clenched stomach and tight shoulders.

As soon as you realize you’re doing this to yourself, STOP!  (I often admonish myself out loud, as in “Oh, stop it, Kath!”) Deliberately shift your mental image to the very best outcome you can imagine: the workshop is standing room only, the clients adore you, and the bank is willing to loan you more than you asked for.  Put your energy into imagining what you want rather than what you fear, and you’ll stay fired up and positive.  This strategy relates closely to #3.

Use the thought of avoiding pain to get yourself moving; bask in thoughts of how you’ll enjoy your desired results to keep yourself in motion.

You’ve heard it before: We tend to move away from pain and toward pleasure.  Since pain-avoidance is so powerful a motivator, this is a good way to deal with getting in motion at the start of any significant project.  Once you’re in motion, it’s (relatively) easy to stay in motion—especially if you get your whole mind and body involved in virtually experiencing the pleasure of a fulfilled goal.  What are your emotions as you imagine getting a standing ovation at the workshop, or listening to the clients practically babble in delight over your proposal, or walking out of the loan department with a check in your hand?  How are you experiencing that in your body?  These are powerful ways to energize yourself to create exactly those results.


What tactics and strategies do you use to stay the course despite challenges?  What have you achieved as a result?  Please share with us; inquiring minds want to know!

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