When you hear the word motivation, it has a positive connotation, but it is surprising how detrimental it can also be, how it can negatively impact your results.
You’re probably wondering how on earth can motivation in any way be negative. I mean, don’t get me wrong, being motivated feels excellent, but the simple fact is that motivation doesn’t last.
We all have those days (not those days, we’ll get to those in a minute) where we wake up feeling energized, ready to take on whatever the day throws at us, motivated to check off as many items as possible from the to-do list.
So you start the day focused, blasting through the tasks you’ve set for yourself, your level of motivation continues to skyrocket from each little dopamine hit that registers in your brain from checking off item after item.
You end the day on a high, feeling satisfied with all that you have achieved. You hit the pillow, ready to do it all again the next day.
Morning comes, your eyes open, but that same energy that was there willing you out of bed the day before is gone. That little voice inside of you has changed its tone.
Those same thoughts about crushing your to-do list are non-existent, and now all you can think about is how the heck are you going to get through your list or even your day.
You start looking at your to-do list with an overwhelming feeling just because there are so many tasks, whereas yesterday, the number of to-do’s didn’t matter; you were ready to take it on regardless.
Why is today different from yesterday? And how will you feel tomorrow or the next day? How will you get stuff done if some days you wake up feeling less motivated than the day before?
Well, you have two choices. You can either let the motivation that’s abandoned you stop you dead in your tracks and wait for it to return. Or you can employ some discipline. Not the type of corporal punishment that was outlawed in Canadian schools as recently as 2004. I’m talking about the mental discipline that you need to succeed as an entrepreneur.
The simple difference between motivation and discipline is that motivation is typically generated by an emotion, a feeling, or a perceived result that may be the immediate outcome of executing an action. In contrast, discipline is conceived with-in by thought and actioned out of necessity even though the effect may not be immediate.
In other words, you are doing something because it needs to be done, not because you feel like doing it. Professionals operate like this day in day out.
For entrepreneurs, it’s a continual internal battle that feels like a rollercoaster. One moment you’re up at the highest point, excited for what’s to come, and the next, you’ve just hit the lowest part of the ride.
You have good days and bad days, as they say. But how do you get off the rollercoaster? You don’t. You have to develop discipline in multiple facets of your business (and life) to remain unaffected by the gut-wrenching ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
Here are some simple tactics you can employ to help you develop new levels of discipline:
Schedule – Put everything on your calendar. I mean everything from appointments with clients to blocking time out to work on your tasks or projects, even if it’s just by yourself, no matter how small the job may seem. Also, don’t forget to schedule and block out time on your calendar for family time.
Personal Accountability – Hold yourself accountable to the time you block out with yourself, and be on time. You’ve set your schedule in your calendar, stick to it, update it, manage it, treat it with the utmost importance.
As humans, we tend to rush off to work or an appointment, trying our best not to be late so we don’t disappoint our employer or client. However, when it comes to appointments that we book with ourselves, we don’t seem to have the same respect for these blocks of time. I mean, who is going to hold us accountable? The answer is no one. The time you set for yourself to get stuff done should be just as important, if not more important, than any other appointments or commitments you may have.
Prioritize – We all lead busy lives and have long to-do lists. So now more than ever, it’s vitally important to separate the tasks on your list from the ones that are, in fact, less critical to ones that need to be dealt with right away. Also, separating the tasks that need to be done vs the easier ones will help you stay on track. Cherry-picking the easy jobs is a form of procrastination and should be avoided at all costs.
Track Progress – Your progress is essential, and it’s easy to think you haven’t achieved much as not every task will generate the big payday, but many completed smaller tasks will. Track your progress so you can look back and celebrate the small wins along the way. You may also be surprised at just how many things end up on your complete list when you do take a look back in time.
Focus – Stick to your plan. Don’t be easily influenced or distracted by shiny objects that have nothing to do with the task at hand. It’s not to say you can’t do lots of different things, but it’s vital to remain focused on the priority in front of you before jumping into another task. Results take time and effort. Remain focused and committed.
The bottom line is, motivation will help you get stuff done some days, but discipline will help you get things done every day.
As the saying goes, “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.” Developing habits and discipline can take a lot of time effort, but in the end, it is ultimately worth it.
No matter what stage of life you’re at or where you are in your career or business venture, you have to start from somewhere, and where you are is just fine, as long as you start.
Once you’ve started, stick with it. It gets easier and easier, until one day, it just feels normal, as if it comes naturally, and the best part, the successes also start to come naturally.
Choose discipline over motivation.
– Brad Price