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  • Writer's pictureTerry Dockery


Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Remember that boss that maybe wasn't as smart as you or who wasn't particularly interested in supporting you in your career and life goals? It makes being an entrepreneur sound pretty good, doesn’t it?

People change when the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of staying the same, so keep in mind how painful it would be to still be in that situation. On the positive side of motivation, entrepreneurs can stay focused on a clear vision of how good they’re going to feel when they achieve their goals.

Motivation begins with how you think. How you think leads to how you feel leads to how you act leads to the results you get. We are feeling beings that think, not thinking beings that feel, so it's essential to be positive but realistic in your thinking and to make sure you're happy and feeling good to become a successful entrepreneur. Otherwise you'll become tired and discouraged and your motivation will wane.

The basic types of motivations mirror the four major sources of happiness according to Positive Psychology. To stay positive and on the right path, keep a balance among the four major sources of happiness so you don't bankrupt your "emotional bank account" and wind up demotivated and depressed before you achieve your vision.

  1. A caring relationship with yourself. Entrepreneurs can live their lives according to their own values and priorities rather than someone else’s. They can take care of their physical health by getting enough rest and exercise and eating a healthy diet. They can take care of their emotional health by practicing positive self-coaching when talking to themselves rather than "being their own worst enemy" by criticizing themselves for being less than "perfect."

  2. Caring relationships with others. Entrepreneurs have the freedom to create the types of relationships that are rewarding financially as well as personally. Successful entrepreneurs aim to a) make more money than they spend and b) create win-win relationships with partners, vendors, and customers. Also, they can make time for family and friends so that they don’t die rich, miserable, and alone--they can use the post-epiphany Ebenezer Scrooge as their role model.

  3. Work they love doing. Entrepreneurs have the freedom to choose work they love doing. This true passion for their work will sustain them through the many inevitable challenges and setbacks they will face on their journey to success. We all need more motivation than just making money to stay motivated and actualize our full potential. In our free society we’ve got a gazillion choices; it’s best to choose something that we’re truly excited about sharing with others.

  4. Enough money to pay your bills with some left over for fun. According to the statistics wealthy people are the least happy people in America. This is because they spend so much time acquiring and maintaining wealth that they miss out on the other major sources of happiness. Entrepreneurs can define financial and life success for themselves and insure that they don't miss a thing.

Don't fall prey to all the manic hype about working 110% all the time and other such nonsense. Sure, you can work 110% for a while, but then you're going to have to work at 90% for a while to recover your energy and motivation. Heroic effort can never overcome physics, biology, and homeostasis.

Success as an entrepreneur is about working more "smart" than "hard" by focusing your efforts on a few achievable goals and a sustainable pace instead of a plethora of wildly speculative “stretch goals” and a breakneck pace. Remember what General George Patton said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all," and remember what I say, “I’m in a hurry” is just another way to say “I’m about to make a serious mistake.”

High-Performance Habits

  1. The best way to predict the future is to create it. Farrah Gray said, ”Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

  2. Have a clear vision of financial and life success--you can’t hit a target that doesn’t exist.

  3. Work more “smart” than “hard” by having a focused few achievable goals and working at a sustainable pace.

Copyright Terry "Doc" Dockery, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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