People who own or run businesses generally have a deep rooted motivation or motivations based on a life experience, or their ability to motivate themselves over and over again. Ambition, having something to prove, or being responsible for the well being of others are three highly motivating factors. That being said, entrepreneurs are still human, and no matter how successful you are or have become, humans do not always wake up on the right side of the bed every day (so to speak). Even the most successful people on the planet need a little extra boost sometimes. And what better time for some extra positive motivation than the first day of a brand new year. Here are my top 9 motivational quotes that get me going when I'm not exactly feeling like it:
There are definitely some achievements or milestones that you can attain that will carry a business for a period of time. Maybe you take on a client that is larger than you have had before. Maybe you win a large contract that will sustain your business for quite awhile. Or maybe you do a great job for a client and it starts a referral chain that leads to some easily attained jobs in the future. All of these examples are awesome for business, and are things you should be striving for. However, clients can come and go, and contracts and referral chains end. If you take your foot off of the gas at this point you will only make things harder for yourself when a client leaves, or something unexpected happens. Why not build on the momentum of your achievement and continue to press. Maintain the sense of urgency that drove you to land that client in the first place. If you create a culture of this then it will be passed down to your employees (sales people, customer service, admin, etc.) as well. It is a culture that supports growth, expansion, and success.
"Success is never owned, it's rented. And the rent is due everyday"
I don't have to explain to most people the power that your state of mind has over your ability to succeed, not just in business but in life. Out of all of the quotes we discuss here in this entry, this one can hit home on a personal level with the majority of humans. Even when you can recognize that you are in a negative mindset, and are doing everything you can to push the positive through, it can be difficult. You know you need to quit the negative thoughts but it can be a cycle, and the challenges life throws at you do not help the cause. On the other hand, anyone being honest with you will tell you that when they achieve anything of significance, one of the major factors in their success was that they believed they could do it. Some of the greatest inventions in human history came with failure after failure before succeeding in the end. A reporter once asked Thomas Edison how it felt to "fail 1,000 times" when he was working on the light bulb. Edison's response was "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps". He believed in himself and what he was doing. He never let the thought that he couldn't achieve his goal out shine the thought that he could.
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right"
The definition of comfort, according to Merrian-Webster is "a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint". Honestly, that sounds pretty nice, and it certainly is a state I would love to enjoy while on vacation or during a holiday. That being said, think back in your life to a time that you achieved anything you are proud of. It could be doing well in a spelling bee as a kid. Maybe an achievement as an athlete, or graduating from college. There are plenty of other things to be proud of as I am just using these as examples to get your mind working. In any of your proud achievements was there a constant state of physical ease? Was the journey free from pain? Of course not, and I'm asking questions I already know the answer to in order to make my point. To thrive there is going to be challenges, discomfort, and even pain. No one has ever been truly proud of something that is simply handed to them.
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"
-Neale Donald Walsch
This quote seems pretty obvious right? Most of us have been told from the time we are young to work hard. Work hard in school. Work hard in athletics. Work hard in the band. I could go one for awhile with this. At the same time we have been told from a young age to follow your dreams. Whether that dream is to own their own business, play in the NFL, be an astronaut, cure a disease, or travel the world, follow your dreams and don't give up. Now, I believe that most people still continue to work hard when they become adults, however I find it fascinating that a large portion of these adults end up working hard for someone else's dream. When the chips were down and it was time to work for their own dream, what happened?
Three of the most common reasons people stop pursuing their dreams:
I don't have enough time
I don't have enough money
I don't have enough skill
All three of these are legitimate excuses with a minimum wage work ethic, and can be overcome by someone truly motivated to go after their dream. If you would like to see some other reason why people give up on their dreams CLICK HERE to go to www.lifehack.org where they do a good job of breaking these reason down.
"You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic"
- Stephen Hogan
This quote can really be applied to anything business related. With a few exceptions where companies may not be business savvy or have poor management, no matter what job you do if you excel you will be noticed and opportunities will present themselves. When you are an entrepreneur, as long as you don't ruin a personal relationship, this quote will always apply. If you own a small B2B business with an impeccable reputation and well documented outstanding service, what is a potential client going to say, "No, I don't want you to help me be successful like the other companies you have helped"? Of course not! Now there are other factors to consider that determine whether they hire you or not, but the quality of your business and its services will not be the reason it doesn't work out. One thing I will add to being exceptional is something I learned about 10 years ago from a book I read called "The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene. Law 30 in the book is called "MAKE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SEEM EFFORTLESS" and states:
Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work - it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.
Basically Robert Greene is saying be exceptional and make it look easy. Never talk about the late nights and extra work it took to go above and beyond. Make it seem like exceptional is just your normal. If you would like to learn more about "The 48 Laws of Power" you can CLICK HERE
"Be so good they can't ignore you"
As far as iconic athletes go, there are very few that are in the same conversation as Michael Jordan. He is one of the all-time ultimate champions. Even if you are not a basketball fan, or even a sports fan for that matter, you know who Michael Jordan is. In this famous quote he references three different types of attitudes toward action. Any businesses owner, or person with an entrepreneurial mindset can safely be put into the "make it happen" camp. When running or owning a business it is fine to want things to happen, or wish things to happen, but hope is not a strategy. The Type A personality of an entrepreneur means there is a good chance that they have been stepping up to make things happen their whole life. They realize that they can want and wish all day long but will be the ones to step up and ultimately make things happen. The same way that Michael wanted the ball to make things happen, a small business owner wants to be the one who rises up and make things happen for their business.
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen"
In this era of instant gratification one of the best qualities that you can have as a leader of people is patience. No matter what happens you can only control what you can control. A couple things you CAN control are your preparation and how hard you work. If you are confident that you have taken care of those two critical factors then you will know the path you are on is the right one. Let's not kid ourselves though, even then there will be obstacles and unforeseen issue that cause results to initially come slower than we would like. Sure you have contingency plans due to your preparation, but adversity is inevitable. Even with the best planning in the world, sometimes the only way to reach the ultimate goal is through persistence. When you know you are doing the right thins and are on the correct path, the only cure to get through adversity is that same persistence. Whenever I look at this quote it reminds of what Babe Ruth used to famously say, "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up". Intelligently plan everything, work hard, be patient, and practice persistence and no amount of adversity will keep you from your goal.
"A river cuts through rock not because of its power but its persistence"
This quote is one that I relate to personally more than most others. It is more than just motivation for me because when I was younger I was guilty of not being able to follow the advice. I had mentors and people I looked up to at the time who were amazingly successful and making a lot of money. They would tell me stories about when they were just starting out and how many times they would be putting in extra work at night or on the weekends. Their friends would call from a party, or the pool, or the beach and tempt them with what a good time they were having. Their friends would even make fun of them or mock them for "missing out". It is almost funny to look back now as these people that I still look up to live lives that their friends only dream of. It certainly didn't come cheap however. There is a level of sacrifice, but if you can do it the rewards will come. The greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice would say, "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't”. I got a late start using the advice in this quote, but in the end it will pay off.
"Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream."
I intentionally saved this quote for last. Nothing else we have talked about in this post even matters if you won't even start. We have discussed the reason people abandon their dreams, and why some choose to stay in their comfort zones. We've talked about how to lead people and the sure fire way to beat adversity. I even added in a few quotes from successful people and athletes that didn't quite make the list of 9, but helped to drive home certain points. All of which contain great advice, and to me at least, an extra boost of motivation on the days when I am not feeling 100%. You are probably familiar with the cliche "dare to be great". To some this is just another cheesy saying and it goes in one ear and out the other. However, in my experience cliches are cliches for a reason, and there is usually something to them. For our purposes here, it doesn't matter if you know that you are great or not, but you will never find out if you don't start.
"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great"
Well there it is, 9 motivational quotes to get the year started on the right track. I genuinely enjoyed putting this together, and hopefully you will enjoy reading it just as much. And even more so, maybe you will be able to take something from it, even if it is just a little jump start on the days you don't exactly feel like being great.