You hear over and over again how important it is to take action as an entrepreneur.
What rarely gets enough attention is the concept of sustained action, or specifically how important your MINDSET is when it comes to sustaining action long term.
Consistency and persistence are qualities most people are not born with. You have to develop these traits, especially if you want to master a skill that gives you a sustained advantage.
We are all emotional creatures and that, unfortunately, means we experience just as many downs as we do ups. In fact, we might experience more downs than ups, depending on our circumstances and genetic makeup.
If you study positive psychology from researchers like Martin Seligman through his Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness books, you will come across the potentially bad news that not everyone is wired to be positive by nature.
You will fall somewhere on a scale, with extremely positive at one end, and extremely negative on the other. This is simply a matter of the genetic lottery, just like your tendency to be more extroverted or introverted. How you choose to react of course is up to you, and based heavily on your mindset.
Positivity leads to a happier, longer and more successful life, based on characteristics we value like wealth, relationships and health. Dr. Seligman conducted peer-reviewed research to back these assumptions up. Again and again studies concluded that optimists win, sometimes in very surprising ways.
Emotional Peaks And Valleys
We all know what it is like to feel a burst of motivation and then take that energy and translate it into work.
The problem that arises is we don’t always feel motivated. Motivation ebbs and flows, often decreasing when we don’t feel happy, or when we face setbacks. Our physiological state also impacts our motivation, as does our results.
If I’m well fed and I have slept enough hours, my physiological state is good. If I can see the fruit of my labor, like money coming in, or traffic to my blog or newsletter increasing, or people telling me they benefited from my work, I’m well primed to do more good work.
If traffic decreases or people ask for refunds, or I didn’t sleep enough or I’m out of balance with exercise and social activities, or I receive negative feedback, my emotional state depresses.
Some of these things you can control, some you can’t. Some you can work to improve as well.
You can also work on your emotional response to negative conditions using reframing (NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This has been a critically helpful for me in both work and my personal life. You can read more about how I have worked on reframing in this article – The Key To Happiness.
Short Vs Long Term Action
One of the most important keys to success in life and business is to learn how to turn short term action into sustained long term repeated actions.
We all know that to achieve big outcomes you need to drill things down into the steps necessary to get there. When you know your big picture and you have a roadmap, the formula to reach your destination is just one step per day.
How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time!
I’ve always found this an awkward saying. Who wants to eat an elephant and what does the elephant think about this!
Regardless of silly sayings, the principle is sound. You have a big-picture goal and lots of little achievements are necessary to get there.
Sustained action executing the right techniques, which follow the right strategy, leads to achieving your vision. It’s all about climbing a success ladder.
People who spend even just a little bit of time researching how to build an online business will quickly become exposed to all the different things you can do to get a result, in fact you will end up overwhelmed, with far too much information.
If you are diligent in your research and focused enough to pick one strategy and follow it, the only remaining roadblock is you. Your ability to execute day in and day out is what matters more than anything else.
Most people fail because of lack of execution, not lack of knowledge of what needs to be executed.
If you look at what stops an entrepreneur from succeeding, there is some kind of emotional or psychological or physiological reason that kills execution. You lose motivation and you don’t get the work done. It’s as simple as that.
Motivation Vs Inspiration
When my friend and previous co-founder Gideon Shalwick once said interviews are a source of not just motivation but inspiration, I had to stop for a moment and clarify in my head the difference.
- The act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way: I don’t understand what her motivation was for quitting her job.
- The state or condition of being motivated: We know that these students have strong motivation to learn.
- Something that motivates; inducement; incentive: Clearly, the company’s long-term motivation is profit.
- An inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
- Something inspired, as an idea.
- A result of inspired activity.
- A thing or person that inspires.
– A divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
– The divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
For me, the word inspiration is more spiritual – it comes from a powerful source. Something more sustained, divine, coming from a place greater than the person.
Motivation, while still powerful, is often tied to a certain event, or timeframe or set of circumstances. It’s more physical, rooted in the present moment.
I see the difference like comparing an employee just doing their job for a paycheque, versus an entrepreneur creating a business to change the world.
The worker has tasks to do and is motivated to complete them each day for the money he or she needs to survive.
The entrepreneur needs money to survive too and hopes their business can provide this, but their source of motivation to act each day comes from a much more inspiring place. They are thinking bigger picture, and want to make a bigger change.
That’s not to say that employees can’t feel inspired and passionate about their work — but for the purposes of this comparison, I think we all know someone who does a job mostly just for the money.
Get Inspired Through Other People’s Stories
When Gideon referred to interviews with other successful online entrepreneurs and bloggers as a source of not just motivation, but inspiration, I had to nod my head in agreement.
I thought back over the years to all the interviews I listened to and books about entrepreneurs I read. Interviews and entrepreneur success stories motivate me. I always feel more eager to work after listening to someone who has created an amazing business.
However, I feel more than just motivated. Interviews also inspire me to set bigger goals, to aim higher and see that I am capable of more.
Interviews create in me a source of fuel for long term sustained action. They help me stay positive and keep my eye focused on the prize – the vision I am working towards regardless of where I am today or at any given moment.
I think a lot of this comes from hearing how “normal” people on interviews are.
When you hear someone is just a human who was in a similar situation to where you are today and then listen as they explain what they did and the amazing results that came their way, you start to believe similar outcomes are possible for you.
This belief makes you see things for yourself you may never have considered before. Things like not needing a job – even becoming a millionaire – or the possibility of creating something that has a massive positive impact on thousands, or even millions of people.
This is why I believe one of the most important educational tools you can tap into, which can motivate you, but also inspire you to greater achievement and sustained action, is regular consumption of interviews with people who have done things you want to do and admire for their success.
To help you do this, you always have my podcast as a fantastic free source of amazing entrepreneur interviews that I have conducted since 2005.
Inside my Laptop Lifestyle Academy you will also find a series of exclusive entrepreneur interviews that are longer and come with action plans to execute what you learn from the entrepreneurs. There’s also a lot more that comes with the Academy, so if you’re ready to up your training consider joining us.
Even to this today I continue to listen to interviews and read books every day. It’s what keeps me motivated and excited to do the work I do.