Changing your source of motivation

When working at a big company there is always a focus on daily tasks. You have got a full inbox, 3 or 4 meetings and a trickling stream of people approaching your table to discuss this and that. The little time you have got left is focused in getting something done of that project with a dangerously close deadline. Day after day. Not much time for creative work then…

Then you decide to start your own business and suddenly your “daily” world turns upside down.

I have had many things to do during my first months as a startup, in fact, much more than I thought, but there is one task that I have found critical to keep me going: finding motivation.

I guess a big part of it has got to do with my personal situation. After many years of building a good-looking CV (I’ve worked at two big Telecoms, a Big Four consultancy firm and a big Bank), when I decided to launch a startup I must say that I have faced more incredulity than support. Its understandable, but nevertheless in order to keep myself motivated it has taken more energy than I thought.

My motivation has come precisely from what I didn’t have time to do at my corporate job. Getting excited about the future. Understanding that everything to come was completely at my will. Building a long-term vision. Changing the world.

Everyday I have had to dedicate some time to this psychological exercise of auto motivation, and I have finally have got a breakthrough. By now I am convinced. It has probably taken more time than most would have expected, maybe I am slower or simple not used to work outside a bureaucratic organization. But yesterday I gave myself a big medal.

In fact what I have realized is that there is a point where this motivational exercises that involve thinking of the big picture and “building the dream” against all odds starts to become unproductive. After a certain point it is very easy to get lost in solving the future problems and anticipating every bump in the road to come. You tend to overprotect your “project” so much against the hostile environment, that you spend more time looking outside than into your actual business and getting things done.

So that is my recommendation:

1) Every once in a while analyze how much time you are dedicating to build the big dream and how much time in actually getting things done. At the begging it is OK to have more focus on “motivation” but you have got to understand that you must change your weight to “getting things done” eventually. The pace at which you do this depends in your personal situation, but don’t get lost.

2) Find a source of passion*. And by this I mean a higher objective than simply making money. It must be the answer to the question ¿How do I plan to change the world? Focus on that for motivation instead of the big long road ahead. (Don’t get me wrong, it was good and necessary at the beginning to picture the long road, but it can be too distracting at this point in order to get things done)

As always, hope this helps and as always I leave a couple of questions to those that have already gone through this stages. What has been your main source of motivation in order to “get things done”? And more importantly, what has been more distracting?


*I am reading a book called “The monk and the riddle” by Randy Komisar and I am enjoying it a lot. Quite early he gives advice that has helped me quite a lot: “There is a difference between drive and passion. Passion is what pulls you into getting things done, Drive is what pushes you into getting things done” Needless to say it is better to find passion in what you’re doing than pure cold drive.


3 thoughts on “Changing your source of motivation

  1. Totalmente de acuerdo! En mi caso además de tener mi propia motivación personal (demostrarme que puedo ser profesionalmente independiente y dedicarme a cosas mas creativas que ser abogado) tengo un apoyo extra en mis épocas de menos motivación, el entusiasmo de mi socio.

    Waiting for your next post!

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