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I’ve created two multi-million-dollar businesses, and one thing I know is that it takes super-strong motivation to succeed. That motivation will come from two places: a clear sense of your “why” and a deep connection to your vision.
People start businesses for all kinds of reasons: Some want to make a ton of money. Some have an idea that seems fun. Some are in a job and think the grass is greener on the entrepreneurial side of the fence. So, they decide to “try” starting their own business.
To paraphrase Yoda, “As an entrepreneur, there is no ‘try.’ Just do or not do.”
\Doing\ versus \trying\
The entrepreneurs who “do” start a business have strong motivations. If they want more money, they want it for compelling reasons. If it’s about an idea they have, it’s an idea that keeps them up at night, not from worry but excitement. If they’re leaving a job, it’s to pursue their passion or purpose.
Success isn’t based on luck or having a faint desire. It’s based on a burning motivation that keeps you on track when the luck has run out.
If you don’t know what your burning motivation is, that’s okay, but you need to dig deeper. I say this from experience. At times in my real-estate career, the market suddenly crashed, threatening everything I’d worked for. I had to pull up my big girl pants and reinvent myself to keep it going. Because I knew my \why,\ I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t just “try” to keep my business together. I was determined to “do” it.
Starting my training and coaching business was no different. While I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I did have a strong sense of my purpose. It didn’t matter that I made a ton of mistakes. My vision and strong motivation kept me going.
Related: 6 Steps to Turn Your Passion Into a Career
So how do you unearth your \why\ and your vision? Here\’s what I tell my clients.
Start with your \why\
Set aside 30 minutes and block out all distractions. Grab pen and paper. Ask yourself, “Why? Why did I start my business? Why do I want this?” Take your first answer and ask, “Why is that important to me?” Then take your next answer and ask, “And why is that important to me?” Keep doing this until you have an answer that is compelling to you.
For example, you might have said, \I want to make more money.\ Why do you want to make more money? \Because I want to be able to have a little more financial security.\ Why do you want to have more financial security? \I want to make sure that, if anything happens to my spouse, the kids and I will be okay.\ Now that’s a pretty strong motivation. Adding more zeros to your bank balance isn’t strong motivation. What that money can do is.
I started out in real estate after a bad divorce. I was flat broke with two little girls to support. That was my \why.\ And with that motivation, I was determined to become the absolute best in my field and build a business that would give us security and the lifestyle we deserved. It gave me the strength to keep going even when I felt overwhelmed. Because of my \why,\ I sold 30 homes in my very first year.
Related: Dear Brit: \’I Want to Turn My Passion Into a Business, But I Don\’t Know My Passion!\’
Create your vision
My first business was built out of desperation, which is a very strong motivation. My second business was built from inspiration, which can be just as compelling. Over the years, I realized what I was passionate about: coaching and training others so they can achieve the success they want to achieve in all areas of their lives. I’m passionate about helping others.
What you are passionate about doesn’t have to be some huge earth-shattering thing, like world peace or saving the planet. You can be passionate about designing data bases to help end users organize their work. You can be passionate about manufacturing fine stationary or designing ergonomic workspaces. Whatever it is, when you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you feel fulfilled and energized. You’re so excited about what you’re doing that it’s hard to even sleep. You’re so inspired you can\’t stop.
So, ask yourself, “What about my business am I passionate about? Why is that important to me? What about that inspires me?” Just like the exercise on your \why,\ spend time with this until you find what is really compelling to you. It might not be the specific type of business you’ve built. It might be about what that business can do, like creating jobs for others or serving the needs of a particular community.
Next, it’s time to create your vision statement or manifesto. A manifesto is a written declaration of your intentions, motives, commitments and ultimate vision. It’s based on your passion and purpose. A manifesto isn’t something you write down once, then forget about. I tell my students to read it once in the morning and once at bedtime. It will help guide all of your decisions and keep you connected to what is truly important to you when everything hits the fan.
Related: 4 Truths Found in Fighting for Passion
My manifesto is one page, and it covers all aspects of my life: family, health, my relationship, business and my community. It’s in present tense and positive. For example, one of my manifesto statements is, \I am a loving, loyal, supportive wife, mother, employer and friend.\
I strongly encourage you to do these exercises. Taking the time to connect to your \why\ and your vision is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success.