Life often throws fast balls and curve balls at us to see how we will handle them. In this economy most small business owners are faced with tough times, some have seen a significant drop in revenue, and new opportunities seem hard to come by. The prospects and resources that were once reliable have started to dry up. Referrals have started to drop off and who can afford to pursue traditional methods of advertising? At the same time unemployment is continually increasing and more and more people are becoming unsatisfied in their present situations.
These hard times often reveal two types of people.
- Those that quit and give up
- Those that find or create new opportunities and possibilities
First, those that quit and give up! These type of people can not see the light at the end of the tunnel, they can not see anything but the problems or stresses immediately in-front of them. Instead of asking what can I learn from this or what can I do to improve my situation and make this work in my favor, they only complain, get frustrated, and throw their goals and dreams down the drain.
Second, those that find or create new opportunities and possibilities! These type of people, thrive in the moments that threaten their goals and dreams. They look past the problems and stresses and look for those things that will make the hard times more successful. For them, it’s as though some one has dared them to succeed, even when everyone is failing and when it looks to everyone else like they are failing.
What can be done? How can we change from being a quitter to focusing more on becoming part of the creators? And if we’re already a creator, then what can we do to maintain our focus and find even more opportunities?
I’ve recently discovered 4 steps that have helped me maintain my focus and find power and motivation in this economy, even when things are times are hard.
- Find A Purpose
- Eliminate Excuses
- Develop Incentives
- Cultivate Determination (Refuse to Quite)
1. Find a Purpose
You started your business for a reason, there was something, some purpose that drove you to start your business way back in the beginning. The problem that I have found is that I forgot what those purposes were. I get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that makes my business run that I started to lose sight of the dreams and goals, my reasons for starting my business. It’s time to either revisit those purposes or create new ones!
Here are a few things to do that will help you find your purpose again:
– Surround yourself with people who have the same purpose or goals
For example, I talk to my wife about my goals and dreams, we dream together. I talk to her about the potentials and opportunities of my business and what they mean for us. She is my biggest supporter!
– Find discontent with your current situation
If you are content, or so frustrated that you can not focus on what you need to do to change things then you will find that you wont change anything. Except for the level of your stress. You need to get to a place where you HATE your current situation and are willing to do whatever it takes to change it. I do not like the word hate, but it probably does a really good job of explaining the feelings that you need before you are really going to do anything about it.
– Identify a goal that excites you
If you are not excited or can not find anything about your business that excites you then you should consider doing something else! But if there is anything that you can find that will help you become more excited about what you do, then find a goal that will allow you to work on your excitement everyday.
For example, I love to blog! Writing blog post like this one and others, really excites me! I have a goal to write one blog post a day. It is important to the growth of my business, and it’s important to my readers. And most importantly it excites me to write something that could very well inspire or help someone achieve their dreams.
– Visualize the fruits of your goal
Your new goal, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, should bear some sort of visual fruit. You should be able to see, visualize the end result. You should be able to see the achievements as if they have been completed. See them in detail, see the effect they have on other aspects of your life. Feel the experience as if it has already been achieved.
– Put everything in!!
Once you know what you want and what you have to do to get it, do EVERYTHING that you can to make it a reality. Work harder, work longer, if you have distractions eliminate them! This does NOT MEAN that you ignore your family, it does not mean that you stay at the office every night until midnight. Everything in balance, if you neglect one aspect of your life to focus more on building another then you will quickly find an imbalance that will quickly burn you out. You will find that once you have fixed one problem another will be waiting. That is why I gave you the example before about how I talk to my wife about everything. We work it out together, we make it work together, and our family and marriage is happy and complete.
2. Eliminate Excuses
When you use excuses you are only justifying your failures or providing reasons why you should quit or give up. We all have busy lives we all experience problems and troubles, but when we start to make excuses for the reasons why we cant do something then we’re only excepting our failures. We are defeating ourselves, when we’re the one person standing between our dreams and visions we can never expect to succeed.
Instead of focusing on the things that we can not do, or things that we do not want, we have to be focused on the goal and the things that we want to achieve, we need to constantly be focused on our PURPOSE.
There should not be any excuse that is more important than your reason for success. There should be nothing more important to you then your goals and dreams and living your life the way you want.
I have found that my blog, either personal or business, has been a great way for me to focus on the positive, to clear my mind of all the negative thoughts that are trying to keep me from my dreams. It’s a way to vent, and if it is done right you will find that you feel better, and the people who read your articles feel better! You are not the only on in the world with your problems.
My purpose is my family, my wife, our children, and the future of our family. If there was any excuse bigger then that, it could be said of me that I do not really love them. But because I do love them and know and understand my responsibility as the provider, they motivate me to succeed. There is nothing more important to me then my family! They are my purpose!
3. Develop Incentives
Anyone that has ever worked in Corporate America, knows and understands incentives. In my last J.O.B, I was a sales manager. I managed a team of 12 outbound phone sales reaps, and if you’ve ever had to spend 8 hours on the phone every day, you know how important incentives really are. I learned really quick that the more I could empower my team to get on the phone and crank out their calls the more successful they felt and most of the time the results were outstanding.
It is one thing to give an incentive when the end result is achieved, but it is much more powerful to give incentives that motivate people to do the steps that get them to the end result.
For example: My team had to make at lest 80 dials a day and have a minimum of 2 hours talk time. Our job while on the phone was to pre-qualify sales leads. We were the beginning of a huge sales process for Business Management Software. Most of our dials were cold, meaning know one was expecting our call, we did not know the situation; like what type of software they were already using, and we surely did not know who we needed to talk to. Each call was like jumping into a cold, icy lake in the middle of a Canadian winter. No one was excited about that first leap, and we had to do it 80 times a day minimum. Just because it was a requirement was not enough for them to just willingly jump in the icy cold lake, especially when you never know what is under the water, or if you are going to get past the gatekeeper (secretary)! So there were incentives like, the first rep to 50 dials gets to spin the wheel (the wheel had prizes like, money, time off, free lunch..etc). Another might be, the first rep to hit 2hrs of talk time gets to spin the wheel. And when someone was spinning the wheel, everyone stopped working and came to watch. That was a requirement, it was important that we did everything together, good or bad. Seeing someone else win something was sometimes enough of an incentive to get them excited about getting back on the phone. It made it more real, yeah we talk about getting to spin the wheel and win cool prizes, but it’s always more real when they actually get to experience it!
Find incentives for yourself! What can you do every day to help motivate yourself to complete your simple daily task? That is where it is most important, because when we’re in the daily grind, we’ll see results, but when we enjoy doing those daily task, we will find great accomplishment in the completion of every day even if we don’t make that new sale or finish our daily blog post. Being happy and enjoying what we do is more important than achieving the end result! If we can not be happy and enjoy what we do, then accomplishing our goal or achieving our dream wont be as sweet as we’d like it to be, simply because we are not happy!
4. Cultivate Determination
What does determination mean?
- firmness in purpose; resoluteness
- the controlling or deciding of somethings nature or outcome
- a tendency to move in a fixed direction
To control your own destiny, you have to decide what you want and how you are going to accomplish it, then you take action. And in that action you have to be determined that nothing is going to stop you from accomplishing your purpose and dreams.
The third definition, a tendency to move in a fixed direction, is so important! Think of it this way, I like to work out, I love to spend lots of time in the gym working on my physical health because it makes me feel better! I have this tendency however, to do really good at getting to the gym everyday for weeks, at lest 4-6, and then, for some reason will miss a day and that day turns into 2 and then 4 and then the next thing I know it has been 2 to 3 weeks since I went to the gym. The really hard part about that is all the work I accomplished in those 4-6 weeks of hardcore workouts, has now been undone in the short 2-3 weeks of laziness.
We need our direction to be fixed, to never change! Lets say that after that 6 weeks of hardcore workouts I had reached the goal that I was wanting to accomplish, and then I stopped working out. What is going to happen? I am going to realize in 2 or 3 weeks that I have to start over, and my motivation to do that is going to be very low! I am probably going to be frustrated and frustration is not a motivating factor.
It’s the same with our business goals, if we stop doing those day-to-day task that get us to our end result then we won’t continue to progress, we’ll either stay the same or slide backwards.
Be determined to reach your dreams no matter what! Be determined to maintain your daily habits and patterns that helped you reach your goals.
REFUSE TO QUIT
Remember this quote, and put it on your wall, When you see a successful business someone once made a courageous decision!
Now that you have the steps and the ideas of what you need to do to make your business or any aspect of your life a success, lets talk about IMPLEMENTATION.
What can you do today to put these steps into action? Sure you can jump on the phone, or start sending some emails, you can go out and bang on doors, but when you are frustrated and unmotivated those things are hard to do! Lets be honest, if those things were easy to do you would be doing them, if you enjoyed them you would do them as often as you could! So lets look for an alternative, something that you could do that would be beneficial and enjoyable. You want something that is going to take as little effort as possible and not cost you a tone of money.
I suggest you start Journaling!
Here is why, you need to start visualizing your goals and dreams, you need to start living as if you have already accomplished what you want. You need to write everything done, map out your plan and your goals, and you need people who will hold you accountable. Journaling will provide you with a platform that will give you a way to accomplish all of these things. Like I mentioned before, you are not the only person in the world with your problem, could you imagine what you could accomplish if you could put your struggles and successes into a format that would allow other people to learn from you?
It is important to always have a strategy or system no matter what type of journal you are writing or what your objectives are. Here are a few ideas to help you get started!
- Write something everyday
- Review your day, identify the lessons you were to learn
- Write about the things that inspire you
- Write about the things you read
- Write the things you’d like to teach your children
Success is up to you! Go and get it!
Please use the comments section to leave any ideas or questions you might have!