In the past year, my real estate tech startup, Luxury Presence, has grown from nine employees to a major force in real estate marketing with a staff of 38 and more than 800 clients, including some of the biggest agents and brokerages in the industry.
To tell you the truth, it has not been an easy experience. The responsibility of managing a large team and sustaining hyper growth, all while delivering the best results for every client, is a pretty intense and demanding experience.
Over the last year, one thing has become a theme for me. It’s the one thing I focus on when things get tough. And that’s the importance of showing up fully every morning, no matter how I might feel that day.
This underlying discipline and motivation are something I developed years ago, during my time as a college athlete and professional basketball player.
A lot of my successes and failures growing up came through sports. I was always competitive, so every loss felt devastating. I eventually became very good at taking each defeat, harvesting it, and using it as fuel. It drove me to work harder the next day and to develop more ambition and a stronger sense of determination.
Most importantly, I learned just how much consistency matters. As an athlete, it doesn’t matter how you feel on a particular day. You do whatever it takes to bring your best effort. You develop a strong sense of loyalty to your team, and accountability follows. It’s the same thing leading a business. You have to bring it every day.
My first startup, a fundraising app called Givvr, reinforced similar lessons. We had a team of three and had to figure out how to keep ourselves motivated over the course of more than a year, with many defeats along the way.
In leadership and business, people value when you show up consistently every day. Adopting this mindset is no small feat. But there are a few things you can do to motivate yourself through the ups and downs of business.
1. Find joy in daily challenges.
There are two main reasons I get excited to show up at the office every day. One is the passion of the people I work with. Seeing people who are willing to work hard and make growing this company a priority is something I feed off of. It’s really energizing to be around.
And two, every day brings something new. That idea is exciting. Life (and especially work) is a series of problems in need of solutions. I try to focus on finding joy in that process rather than focusing too much on the outcome of a particular problem.
2. Move to improve mental health.
Most people focus on the physical benefits of an active lifestyle. But a trip to the gym, a round of tennis, a walk around the lake, etc., can all help with mental maintenance. In fact, researchers suggest getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three to five times a week to reap the necessary brain benefits.
I try to wake up around 6:30 a.m. so I’ve got enough time to go for a run. I’m fortunate to live in Santa Monica, California, where my run is to the ocean and back. But any sort of exercise should provide the same benefits. Then I do a 10-minute guided meditation with Sam Harris’s Waking Up app.
If meditation isn’t your thing, just sit for a moment and think—or maybe read a couple of articles by people you respect or admire. The goal here is to put you in a positive headspace to prepare you for the intensity of the workday.
3. Build your community.
I’m more of an introvert than most people realize. So my first instinct under pressure is to retreat to “figure things out on my own.” This tendency is something I actively strive to counteract. As I discovered during my basketball days, it doesn’t matter how well I play if my team isn’t good or if we’re not playing together.
I can’t overstate the importance of community to well-being and performance. The best ideas don’t happen in isolation, and the hardest problems are rarely solved in silos. Furthermore, having a strong community outside of work helps me get away from the all-consuming founder lifestyle when I need to.
4. Keep out of your inbox.
For the longest time, I’d check email when I first woke up; it was almost as if it gave me this adrenaline rush. What it actually did was make me anxious as I started my morning. Studies show that always being on is not only bad for your mental health, but it can make you less productive.
Now I try to limit my screen time for the first hour of the day—until I’m ready to start my workday. Putting off your inbox until later in the day ensures that emails won’t become your to-do list and allows you to be proactive rather than reactive in the workplace.
I get truly excited to wake up every morning and head into the office to begin my day. By reframing their mindset, business professionals at every stage of their career can learn how to start feeling joyful about work.
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