Self Motivation Begins with Vision

Frankly, I was expecting something a bit more sophisticated.

Frankly, I was expecting something a bit more sophisticated.

As the leader of a business, whether it’s just you and your goldfish, or you and 100 employees, it can be lonely at the top. After all, you’re the one who’s put in more hours, taken more risk, than anyone else around you. You may have more at stake in your business than anyone else. You have a limited ability to communicate with those around you.

In such an environment, how do you stay motivated, how do you push yourself to keep going?

It’s not where you come from, but where you’re going that matters.

To stay motivated, you need to focus on the goal, not on where you came from. Sure, there are lessons to be learned from the past, but they won’t keep you on the road, and they won’t get you to your goal.

When I was a teen, I went hiking with my father in the White Mountains in New Hampshire one summer. After climbing to one peak, we decided to cut short the hike because of the time, and headed down to complete the hike. When reaching the bottom, we followed the trail, reading occasionally from the trail guide for the landmarks we should be seeing.

After hiking for a while, we reached what seemed to be a dried riverbed, which was not on the description of the trail. There was a sign, however, pointing into the woods, indicating a ski trail. Although the ski trail appeared to be non-existent, we looked at the map, estimated that we were about 3 miles from the road, and figured we would take the chance and hike through the woods.

Needless to say, that was a bad choice. The road curved near where we were, and rather than being 3 miles from the road, we were about 6 miles out. The result was that we had to spend the night in the woods (this is black bear country) until morning, before we were able to continue to reach the road.

What kept us moving forward, however, was that we didn’t focus on the past. Sure, we should not have left the trail. We should have read the guide more carefully, and would have realized that we were actually supposed to hike along the riverbed (the mile markers were incorrect). But that would not have gotten us out of the woods.

In order to succeed, you must look forward toward your goal. As long as you know where you’re going, you can find the strength and motivation to get there.