It's debilitating, isn't it?
Not knowing if you are on the right path. The uncertainty of whether what you are working on will bring you success.
You work and work. You push from every angle to make an inch of progress. Only to look up one day and find yourself lost; unsure if what you are doing is getting you anywhere, worried that you are missing something.
It's a hard feeling to shake.
When this uncertainty hits, it saps your motivation. Your focus and clarity transform into a gloomy cloud of doubt hanging overhead, raining worry and dissatisfaction upon you.
Every business owner knows this feeling.
I know it all too well myself. Just recently it hit, and I spent the day wondering if I should scrap my entire business and start over. I had thoughts of giving up, quitting, or just taking a break from it all.
But I didn't, and you shouldn’t either.
Because this feeling is temporary and isn't based in reason. This feeling comes from a deep desire all business owners have to push, build, help, and ultimately find freedom and success.
And that’s exactly the cure.
Rarely comes with such a clear and focused path...
The Origin of Lost Perspective
It's easy to get caught up in the minutia of running a business. We have products to build, customers to care for, finances to track, employees to coach, etc. When your business is firing on all cylinders, you don't ask questions. You just enjoy the ride. And why wouldn't you? Once your business machine is cranking out results, it seems best to keep it oiled, not disassemble it.
But on those other days—when customers aren't calling, your competitors are winning, and you feel like you're taking two steps back—those are the days you can't lose perspective.
And when do you lose perspective? When you start focusing exclusively on the bad and ignore (or forget) the good.
The Story of Two Ascending Men
In a rapidly ascending balloon were two men.
One watched the earth getting farther and farther away.
The other watched the stars getting nearer and nearer.
In the early days of your company, you saw the stars. You imagined every possible amazing and successful outcome at the expense of every realistic or dismal one. You couldn’t help but be excited. The world was yours for the taking if only you could get your product developed or service off the ground.
I love these feelings.
I still get these feelings when I talk to an entrepreneur with a new product idea. I start rattling off all the strategies they could use to make millions… all the tools they could implement to run their business for cheap or free. It’s exhilarating!
But at some point, we business owners have to get to work.
That's when we turn our focus to earth. We have to recognize reality in order to build our company. After all, even the two men in the quote above wouldn’t have been ascending in a balloon toward the stars if they hadn’t built their balloon on the earth to begin with.
We build, we plan, and we build some more. And at some point, we find our balloon isn’t ascending as fast as we'd like, or maybe not at all. On some days, our balloon seems to be descending! Those are the days we want to let out the hot air, land the damn thing and walk away.
But if we're shooting for the stars, we can’t let every small setback distract us from success. So how do we stay focused on what’s important? How do we continue our ascent before giving up and giving in?
Ask Yourself One Simple Question
Ask yourself one simple question: “What is my why today?"
In order to avoid focusing on what’s going wrong, focus on your why. To destroy that uncertainty, remember your why. To kill the worry that what you’re working on isn't right, recall your why. To maintain your motivation and optimism and kill all thoughts of quitting, ask, "what is my why today?"
Your “why” is the reason your business exists. It’s the purpose, the meaning, the intention your company lives to help someone or something in this world.
Without your “why”, your business is just a money-making machine. And, while it’s important your business makes money in order to survive, money isn’t the reason your company exists. If it were, we'd all be financial traders yearning to make a buck.
No, your company has a purpose, and when you find it, you can recall it later to help keep you focused, motivated, and clear on what to do next through good times and bad.
Let Your “Why” Guide You
This isn't my idea. Dozens of articles have been written on finding your purpose. Hell, we've written a bunch of articles here.
Simon Sinek has one of the most watched TED talks of all time on this very topic. Not to mention his book, Find Your Why, and Start with Why which dives deep into this topic [Full Disclosure: Those are affiliate links and I have not read either book... though I plan to soon].
But you don't have time to finish reading those books today. So, buy them, and shelf them for later.
For today, and every day in the future (especially those days you are feeling beat), when your business is sucking wind and you don’t know where to turn, look toward the stars and ask,
"What is my why today?"
Then just listen and let the answer recharge, motivate, and guide you.
Wishing you massive growth and success!
About the Author
CO-FOUNDER | TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING, AND SALES
Mike Mehlberg helps entrepreneurs and business owners develop a clear and focused strategy to stand out in their market, outsmart their competition, and achieve maximum sales impact. Grab his free 3-Step Strategic Planning Worksheet to grow your business with purpose and speed.