Being an entrepreneur is rough. Things never go as planned and often take 10 times longer than intended. There are plenty of highs and lows. Many times, it feels as though it would be easier to just give up and throw in the towel rather than stay motivated.
1. Find your purpose and work on it.
The secret of the most successful people I know is that they can stay motivated, activated, inspired and moving no matter what happens around them. Motivation is that inner drive to move toward or away from something. To get and stay motivated, you must find your purpose. So many people are going to work doing something they don’t believe in. You don’t get burnt out from work. You burn out because you aren’t working on your purpose. Get motivated, get on purpose, and you won’t feel like giving up.
—Grant Cardone, top salesman whose company Cardone Capital has raised over $1 billion in funds, New York Times best-selling author of How to Create Wealth Investing in Real Estate and founder of the 10X Growth Conference
2. Don’t feel sorry for yourself—ever—to stay motivated.
All of my best successes came on the heels of a failure, so I’ve learned to look at each belly flop as the beginning of something good. If you just hang in there, you’ll find that something is right around the corner. It’s that belief that keeps me motivated. I’ve learned not to feel sorry for myself, ever. Just five minutes of feeling sorry for yourself takes your power away and makes you unable to see the next opportunity.
—Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on Shark Tank
3. Achieve your goals, no matter what’s going on around you.
I always focus my mindset on achieving my goals no matter what’s going on around me. Every savvy entrepreneur understands we solve problems for a profit. If you can’t handle getting punched in the throat by market conditions, changes in consumer behavior, teammates quitting, losing clients or working 100 hours per week, get out.
Once you’re past that, it’s easy. You create a compelling vision of what you really want. You get crystal clear on why it’s an absolute must for you. You create your personal motive to act. You create your action plan. Then you work.
4. Remember that it’s supposed to be hard.
Understand that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. That keeps me going when I encounter struggles. It’s OK to fail, make mistakes and get frustrated, but it’s never OK to get discouraged. I accept my failures, learn from them and persevere with a positive attitude. But persevering with a maniacal Type-A drive is highly overrated. My first ambition is to enjoy the heck out of life. Business should never get in the way of that. If it does, then I’ve compromised my values for the sake of a buck.
5. Stop viewing problems as accidents to stay motivated.
Fixing problems is part of your job as a business owner, so you should stop seeing problems as accidents to be afraid of. Problems don’t go away as you grow and make more money. They actually become bigger. Once I changed that perspective and stopped labeling problems as negative accidents, I developed a thicker skin and focused my energy on fixing them more effectively.
—Yuli Ziv, founder and CEO of Heallist, influencer marketing pioneer and self-made serial entrepreneur
6. Look to the obstacles others had to face.
In my first business, it took me three months of getting kicked in the teeth every day to land my first paying client. In my latest venture, it took nine months to get my first signed contract. I always look to the backstories of successful entrepreneurs. I study their successful actions, but I get really motivated by the massive barriers they had to overcome. There are hundreds of examples of wildly successful people who had to go through worse problems than I have. This reminds me that I can do it, too.
—Jim Mathers, president of Energy Professionals
7. Remember your why and why not to stay motivated.
With little experience, I started a video production studio focused on helping businesses tell their story—in the middle of Hollywood! The competition was seemingly insurmountable. Studio producers, cable companies and directors were all taking any opportunities. But I remembered why I was doing this in the first place: to help people and to make a living as a creator. Just as motivating was the why not: I did not want to work for someone or be a person who couldn’t truly take care of himself. Today, we are regularly voted the top video and animation studio as a result of that motivation.
—Maury Rogow, CEO of Rip Media Group
8. Relentlessly focus on your mission.
Entrepreneurs are extremely passionate about their company or current project. That passion is born out of the end-result desired, which is the why or mission of what you’re doing. We believe that people will be better off with our product, solution or service than without it. For me, I want to help 1 million families avoid the experience I personally dealt with when a loved one died. I simply focus on that, and it provides massive motivation.
—Jon Braddock, co-founder and CEO of My Life & Wishes
9. Keep your vision clearly on the top 1 percent.
When your vision is clear, nothing can stop you from accomplishing your goal. If the feedback you receive is not as planned, then don’t waste time labeling it and allowing yourself to be distracted. Stay focused and persevere, because there is very little competition in the top 1%.
10. Take time to reset to stay motivated.
I believe that true motivation only comes from within and that passion is the best motivator. I love what I do, and that gets me through the days I don’t like. When things get tough, I remember that my clients chose me to be their gladiator. I take time away to meditate, train or even jump in a float tank to clear my mind and reset.
—Nafisé Nina Hodjat, Esq., managing attorney of The SLS Firm
This article was published in February 2017 and has been updated. Photo by GaudiLab/Shutterstock