Maintaining Your Motivation
by Kelley Robertson
Most people come away from conferences and training seminars with enthusiasm and excitement which inevitably translates into a more enjoyable workplace and higher sales. But when you're self-employed, you attend such events seldom, if at all. Here are tips for maintaining your own personal motivation, even when you don't have a corporate office.
I recently spoke to a group of sales professionals at the end of their training conference. The attendees had participated in many learning sessions over a two day period – most of which were product related. I was scheduled to speak after dinner and I was somewhat concerned how attentive they would be by this time.
Fortunately, in the days preceding, the company had structured the entire program to create energy, excitement and to foster a sense of team enthusiasm. They had a theme and encouraged their vendors to incorporate the theme into each of their individual presentations. They awarded prizes for the team with the most energy and highest level of participation, and by the time dinner was served, the group was pumped. They were excited. And they were highly motivated and charged up. When I left that evening, I knew that these individuals would bring a renewed energy and drive to their work place. I was also confident that the company would see a definite increase in their sales in the weeks to follow.
It reminded me how motivational a conference, training workshop or corporate gathering can be. It reinforced the importance of participating in sessions like these on a regular basis, if for no other reason but to ignite our own personal motivation.
Running a business is tiring, stressful and challenging. Small business owners are required to wear many hats, often at the same time, while executives of large organizations often have more problems and politics to manage on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for the business to drain our energy and motivation, regardless of how much we enjoy the business. If you do not take time to recharge your batteries and refresh your perspective it is easy to find yourself frustrated with your business.
That is why it is imperative to have a personal motivation plan in place. This means taking advantage of opportunities that will help you maintain your motivation. Here are few suggestions to help get you started.
Attend a personal development workshop. Identify an area in your business or personal live that you would like to improve. At the beginning of each year, I determine what types of programs I want to attend and begin looking for them. I find that these sessions give me a short break from the daily grind of my business and help me see things from a different perspective. Training programs, night courses, or weekend seminars that focus on a specific topic can give you a much needed boost in your energy.
Join a Master Mind group. Meeting with other like-minded people can help you see your business from a different perspective. An effective group will have between six and eight members from a variety of industries and will usually meet several times a year. If you have the right chemistry between members, these meetings will not only help you improve your business, they will also motivate you to try new approaches and market your business differently.
Exercise. I am an avid runner and have completed two marathons and several half marathons. I occasionally find myself in a position when I cannot run for a period of time due to illness, injury, or the demands of work. Without fail, I notice a decrease in my personal motivation during these times. Regular exercise helps your body work more effectively and efficiently. Although I usually catch myself thinking about work related issues during my runs, I often notice that I develop more creative solutions when I am exercising.
Read or listen to motivational material. Instead of reading the daily newspaper with breakfast or coffee in the morning, try reading inspirational material instead. A well-written book that offers sound advice is more motivating than reading about the latest market declines. Listening to motivational tapes or CD’s in your car for one hour everyday can actually give you the equivalent of a university degree in a few years time.
Take time off. It is not a badge of honor to state, “I’m too busy to take time off.” In today’s fast-paced business world, it is critical to take time off for vacation and rest and relaxation. Even a long weekend away from your business can be restful. A true vacation also means completely avoiding email and voicemail. Yes, you will have hundreds of messages to deal with when you return, but you will have a renewed focus and energy to do this.
Lastly, associate with positive people. I have made it a point in the latter part of my career to distance myself from negative individuals. They drain your energy, will not support your goals and desires, and do little to motivate you. On the other hand, positive and optimistic people will uplift your spirits and help you through challenging times.
© 2004 Kelley Robertson All rights reserved.