shutterstock_107632895When I was 7 years old, I was consumed with the idea of getting a puppy. The simplest of household chores turned into moneymaking schemes. My parents’ payout for common chores wasn’t worth the time or the return; I needed other investors. One morning, while organizing my jewelry box, I came across a tangle of necklaces clinging desperately together. My small, agile fingers effortlessly went to work, and a new business idea came to me like the lyrics of an old favorite song. Every mom, daughter, sister, and friend in my neighborhood was bound to have a similar mess of knotted necklaces; they needed someone to resurrect their jewelry – someone willing, able, and moved by a cause – they needed me.

New business ideas have always been floating around in my head. Unfortunately, conceptualizing is the easy part; developing an idea to fruition is the hard part. The longer I allow an idea to idle, the more my motivation wanes, deteriorating exponentially until the former is consigned to the Filing Cabinet of Forgotten Dreams. Though somewhat hyperbolic, such is the entrepreneur’s dilemma. I’ve compiled a few ideas to help both you and me find motivation in sticking to goals, whether business related or personal.

Push Away Negative Self Commentary

Lacking motivation? Yeah. Me too. This is the first line I wrote for the article…It stared back at me for two days straight. I went back and forth between laptop and life – anything, really, to distract me from the reality that I was ironically lacking motivation to write an article on just that: motivation. After the 629th excuse, I finally had an idea, a recurring realization that feels epiphanic each time. It came in the form of a single word: start. Negative self-commentary unapologetically places itself in the forefront of my mind, or the starting line, while the quiet yet resounding voice of encouragement waits patiently in the back, growing stronger as the process continues. Fortunately, it was my metaphorical muse on repeat, saying, “Just write the article. Inspiration will come as soon as you get started” who prevailed. In an overdue response, I pushed past the negativity and gave the little voice front row tickets.

Years ago, I had a friend whose every opinion was laced with a million and one reasons why you couldn’t do something. A conversation with her led to a sullen disposition; she could singe your motivation like ants in a magnifying glass. Her negativity was contagious and I was wise enough to realize that you become like those with whom you associate. Our conversations became sparse, and I’ve since tried to surround myself with positive, inspiring individuals who influence my motivation meter for the better. Negativity, whether internal or external, but especially the latter isn’t worth the effort. Push it away and your motivation will inevitably revive itself through the swiftly moving channel that is positivity.

Become a Bookworm

If you find yourself here, you probably enjoy reading. If you don’t, then this site’s bounce rate just increased. Hopefully, you’ve extracted some measure of motivation from my words thus far, but if not from mine, then surely someone else’s.. For that reason, everyone should have a business icon, a hero of sorts, someone they look up to whose values hit home. When you discover that person, read their books and research their quotes, in an effort to understand them personally. The age-old aphorism holds: we become that which we think constantly think about. A short chapter in their book will refocus your efforts and alter your motivation for the better. Aside from a specific iconic figure, there are plenty of inspiring books for entrepreneurs. Some of my favorites are Think and Grow Rich, The Strategy Paradox, and The 4-Day Work Week.

Think Outside Yourself

Selfishness is not inherent; it’s a choice – a state of mind that can preoccupy even the most altruistic of individuals. Although it seems like you can accomplish more in less time by focusing entirely on yourself, it’s not without opportunity costs. Dedicate an equal amount to others as you dedicate to yourself. In all likelihood, your inspiration to start a business and see it through was buoyed by the desire to help others. So whether it’s volunteering at the local shelter or voluntarily helping your kids finish their homework, find something that will take your mind off of yourself and give your attention to those who need it. The world is infinitely bigger than your startup, making it an immeasurable source from which to draw motivation and purpose.

While my dream of a puppy has since been replaced, a common theme has presented itself throughout my life: Inspiration comes in countless forms; motivation comes from the inner core of your being. Magnify your motivation by listening to your positive inner voice, exposing yourself to inspiring individuals, and helping others in need. Whether you’re untangling necklaces or rearing a software startup that’s destined for the Fortune 500, your motivation is wholly dependent upon you.

Madison is a Community Relations Specialist at Cougar Mountain Software, an accounting software company that helps small businesses. She majored in Business at BYU-Idaho and enjoys running, sewing, marketing, and fashion illustration.