Hand to heart, most of us have been there before. We set out to do something – write something, start a business, learn a new skill – with the best intentions. But somewhere along the way, the motivation was lost. The famous Simon Sinek’s talk “Start with why” points out that taking any kind of action has to have a driver, a motivation lying underneath. He argues that many great people have one thing in common – they know why they did what they did.
And I agree. When doing business, our “why” can become our make-it-or-break-it.
Knowing why we do something can serve as an internal focal point that can explain why we sometimes lose motivation halfway through a project or task. When we focus on the result (the what) rather than the motivations behind it (the why), we’re more likely to give up when things get tough.
The why is a motivator that has to be there for when the s*** hits the fan (excuse my French).
But I believe it’s not enough to help navigate obstacles.
A best practice for overcoming challenges is to compare ourselves with others “how are they able to achieve things that seem to defy all assumptions?”. I believe that’s a trap.
Of course, this can help remind us of why we’re doing it in the first place, but then what are you to do practically?
Comparing myself while I’m solving a problem with those who solved it earlier seems irrational. After all, it’s my problem-solving journey, not anyone else’s.
My point is I believe that given motivation as a must, taking action and problem-solving, ultimately boils down to decision-making. Basically, Choosing how to channel the “why” constructively.
Rational decision-making at a high level is complex.
In modern entrepreneurship, all data is processed fast, and decisions are made even faster. Even when you’re right, there’s a good chance you didn’t know everything about the process you’ve gone through. In some cases, I’d say that having all the information is more of a hindrance than an advantage. Finding a reason to make a decision shouldn’t be 100% data-driven. Humans are not machines. The underlying motive behind the decision should drive the impact of the decision.
But, there is also risk involved.
Accepting risk is never comfortable, but it’s an integral part of the game. This is where the irrational comes into play. In my opinion, there have to be some expectations things won’t go as planned. Even in the most bulletproof of plans, there is almost always a moment where some contingency comes into play.
And it’s vital it does since the reality shifts so that every other plan becomes a step forward. Except for plan A. For me, that’s a sign things are moving past the obstacles and the initial plan is being improved by real-life experience.
If constantly changing plans and reacting to the market and daily situations don’t make a successful entrepreneurial story, then I don’t know what does. Knowing why you’re doing something plays a big part in the entrepreneurial game because without motivation, who could bear so much uncertainty and disappointment and keep pushing forward?
The reality is that…
We reach a ceiling in most things we do
Harsh right? I think that’s something that many people miss until they reach it. I’d say that understanding that something is finite in business can be interpreted in two ways:
- Simply put, the job is done, and no more actions can be taken to improve it; or
- The job is never-ending, but you can’t add any more value (this one hurts the most, and I think it’s where people become most unhappy).
My dogma is probably a cliche, but typically in these scenarios, the only thing standing in the way is yourself. But that realization, in itself, is an obstacle.
How can a person whose compass is attuned, is armed with a clear why, and knows how to solve problems not be blind to the ceiling called self?
Set up mechanisms that will show you the way when you’re unintentionally acting detrimentally.
- Is the business performing as well as you’d like it to – set up KPIs that can help your future self
- Would someone else in your position be able to take the business further?
- Are there advancements in technology that you are in denial about and your competitors are speeding ahead with?
- If you put your “ear to the ground,” are your team members still following your lead?
I’m in no way suggesting to let imposter syndrome push you out of your journey; I’m suggesting self-awareness and brutal honesty with yourself about your business.
Once you have the motivation and strong problem-solving mechanisms in place, this can come almost naturally.