It seems like a lot of small business owners are trying to just push through these days. I am hearing so many stories about loss of motivation, overwhelm, and exhaustion.

In this post, I want to explore what can be the engine for sustaining motivation.

Inspiration causes motivation

Mark Manson says, “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.” This made me stop dead in my tracks. The order he puts it in is different from the way we usually think about it. He uses this visual representation:

“Action –> Inspiration –> Motivation”

~ Mark Manson

Clarity comes from engagement

Have you ever found yourself in analysis paralysis when launching a new product or service? If you were a client of mine, I would be pushing you to talk to people, prospects, and others LONG before you felt you were ready.

Here’s the thing: What you are thinking or writing may appear brilliant and inspiring to you, and what actually comes out of your mouth as you talk to someone may fall flat.

Talking to people and seeing how they react, what they take away from what you say, and how it hits them emotionally will get you farther faster than wordsmithing and perfecting.

“Clarity comes from engagement not thought.”

~ Marie Forleo

Progress is hard

Staying the course can take all the energy you can muster. Is running your own business “the dream”? Some days yes, and many days no.

It can be helpful to remember what pain you are actively moving away from and what dream you are trying to move toward.

“Making miracles is hard work. Most people give up before they happen.”

~ Sheryl Crow

Despair is spiritual

It’s helpful to try to keep some perspective during these times and remember that life goes in cycles: There will be bad times but also good times.

It can help to switch things up. Try doing something different or changing your location – anything to make a tough day not the same as the previous tough day(s).

“Despair is a spiritual disease that tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today.”

~ Rob Bell

Action is the key

Whether it’s my career transition or solo consultant clients, I am constantly reminding them that doing one or two small things each day will lead to big progress over time.

If you’re having a bad day and can’t engage, just do one thing so you don’t start the next day beating yourself up for not doing anything the previous day.

The human animal is designed to solve problems and learn and grow. When we reach a goal, we feel good for a bit – and then we set another goal.

Often when we reach a goal, we may not have the overwhelming sense of joy that we thought we would. Frequently, we say to ourselves, “Is this it?”

Why is this? It’s because the day-to-day joy is in doing the work, feeling like we are moving forward toward something.

“Progress equals happiness.”

~ Tony Robbins

Discipline tends to disappear over time. Motivation is sustained by staying in motion, learning, and growing. This is the engine that will drive your success.

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Catherine Morgan is a career transition expert and business consultant to consultants. She specializes in helping senior-level professionals create clarity and confidence, find focus, and move forward with their career or business. You can book a 1-on-1 Career Strategy Session with her through this link.