Business Leaders Shouldn’t Waste Time Trying to Get Motivated

9 min read
Jul 26, 2022

Are you wondering how to get motivated in business? Or, are you wondering how to stay motivated during challenging times?

If so, you are asking the wrong questions.

The problem is that most business leaders want to know how to get motivated to take action.

However, looking for motivation in order to take action is a dead end.

To prove it, I am sharing why business owners should not waste time trying to get motivated.

The longer you waste time trying to get motivated in order to take action, the longer you will:

  • Let opportunities fly by
  • Feel anxious
  • Continue wondering how to get motivated

The question should not be how do I get motivated?.  Instead, it should be how do I take action despite not feeling motivated?.


Low-Motivation Is Just an Emotion


Most CEOs see motivation as a prized possession: Everybody wants it, some go crazy looking for it, but few find it.

Additionally, most CEOs see motivation as a necessary piece of the business success equation; how can one take action without motivation?

However, motivation is NOT worth the hype it gets.

It feels great to be motivated, but it is not as important as we think.

That said, motivation is nothing more than an emotion.  Emotions are essential but do not deserve the pedestal we put them on.

In many cases, putting emotions on pedestals hurts us more than it helps.


Emotions Are Signals

Emotions are external manifestations of conscious and unconscious thoughts.

People experience emotions as feelings.

For example, if you see a snake and think it is dangerous, the thought will create a corresponding emotion signaling you to run away. 

In this case, the emotion was helpful because it helped you avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

Moreover, emotions express the thoughts we think so that we take appropriate actions.

Thought → emotion → action.

Emotions are helpful when it comes to running away from snakes.

However, they are less helpful in other situations, such as running a business.


Business Is Extremely Emotional

Running a business is a highly emotional process.

Any and every CEO can relate!

Business is emotional because it is uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, humans despise discomfort.  

The hatred for discomfort is rooted in human instinct- no human who has ever walked the planet has been comfortable with discomfort.

The extreme discomforts of business draw out emotions like low motivation.

Low motivation is how the brain signals business owners away from taking action.  It does not want you to take action because doing so would put you in an uncomfortable situation.

Moreover, low motivation is an emotional byproduct of human instincts.


Experiencing Low Motivation in Business is Inevitable

Feeling emotions like low motivation in business is inevitable.

You will continue to feel moments of low motivation unless you have the technology to rid yourself of human instinct!

Running a business will be discomforting forever.  Also, humans will always have their instincts.

Therefore, it is impossible to feel motivated all the time.

Even the world’s most successful CEOs feel bouts of low motivation from time to time.

That said, getting motivated takes more of a nuanced approach.

Also, it explains why most motivational tactics are useless.


You Cannot Base Your Actions (or Inactions) on Emotions.


Low motivation is an emotion.

Most CEOs respond to low motivation by not taking action.

Not feeling super hot and pumped this morning?  No problem, sit back, do nothing, and wait to get motivated!

Sounds like a terrible idea, right?

Moreover, most CEOs justify their lack of action on emotions like low motivation.

However, taking (or not taking action) based on emotions is a recipe for disaster.


What Would Happen If You Always Lived According to Emotions?

Take a moment to imagine what your life would be like if you always lived according to emotions.

See a delicious-looking chocolate cake sitting on the counter?  Eat the whole thing!

Somebody said something rude at the grocery store today?  Tell them off!

Prospect is annoying you because they are taking too long to respond? Send a break-up message!  

Would you live your life according to emotions in these situations?

If not, why would you let an emotion like low motivation stop you from taking action in business?

Why would you not take action just because you do not feel like doing so?

Furthermore, living your life according to emotions does not end well.

I am not saying that feeling emotions is terrible.

However, I am saying that making decisions based on emotions can lead to less than desirable outcomes.


You Must Base Your Actions on Logic

Instead of basing your decisions on emotion, you must base them on logic.

See a delicious cake on the counter but know you should not eat the whole thing?  Logically choose to have one piece instead of the entire thing.

Did somebody say something annoying at the grocery store?  Choose not to let it bother you instead of lashing out.

Is a prospect annoying you with slow responses?  Use killer follow-up methods instead of lashing out.

Low motivation?  It does not matter if you do not feel motivated!  You still need to take action if you want to accomplish anything.

You cannot not take action just because you do not feel like it.

That is, at least if you want to achieve any level of business success.


Your Business Goals Do Not Care How You Feel


Your business goals do not care if you are not motivated.

They do not care what you feel in general.

Therefore, you HAVE to take action despite what your emotions tell you.

You have to move forward even though you do not feel motivated!

Low motivation does not change the fact that you have goals worth checking.


The Business World Will Not Wait for You to Get Motivated

The world will move forward, whether you feel motivated or not.

Just because you feel a certain way does not mean the world cares.

Even worse, your competitors and customers will not wait for you to get motivated.

Competitors will steal your potential customers, and customers will fall in love with them while you sit there waiting to feel motivated.

The business world stops for nobody.  

Do not expect everybody to pause because you do not feel like moving forward.


Stop Waiting to Get Motivated Before Taking Action, or Else!


As I said, even the most successful CEOs do not always feel motivated.

However, successful CEOs do not wait until they feel more motivated to take action!

Instead, they take action while they still feel low motivation.

They take action out of logic instead of emotions.

You will fail if you wait to take action until you are motivated.

Remember, EVERYBODY feels low motivation in business because it is an inevitable part of the territory.

Therefore, you have to take action despite what emotions tell you not to do.


The Longer You Wait, the Less Likely You Move

The longer you wait to take action, the less likely you will do it.


Because the longer you sit around and wait, the more time you will spend building an excuse wall.

Suddenly, you will have more excuses not to take action.

For example, you will start telling yourself that you are not ready or it is not the right time.

The more excuses you drop, the less likely you will move even an inch from the start line.

The longer you wait to get moving for whatever reason, the less likely you will ever move forward.


How to Get S*** Done Despite Having Low Motivation


Remember, the question should not be how to get motivated.

Instead, it should be how to get moving even when you do not feel motivated.

Waiting to take action until you feel motivated is a dead end!

If you would not act out of emotion in other situations, you would not do it in this case.

That said, here is how to make strides forward when you do not feel motivated.  AKA, here is how to stop acting out of emotion and take action despite what you feel like doing.

Do these five things instead of wasting time trying to motivate yourself.

Best of all, taking these steps forward will increase motivation!

Stop waiting until you feel good enough to get started.  The longer you put off action, the less likely you will achieve anything.


Gain Extreme Clarity

Most business owners have as much clarity as somebody driving in a hail storm.

By that, I mean they have an idea of where they want to take their business, but a dense fog prevents them from seeing the path forward.

As a result, they show up to work every day not knowing what they need to do to make progress.

Then they wonder why they are not feeling motivated!

You cannot feel motivated or take proper action without clarity.

If you wouldn't drive to the store in a hail storm, you would not run your business without a clear pathway forward.

Most importantly, I suggest clarifying your business vision.  Ask yourself what the ultimate outcome of your business is.

For example, Steve Jobs’ vision with Apple was to change the world through technology.  His vision was not to create the iPhone.  Instead, the iPhone was a means to manifest the vision.

Take a moment to ask yourself what your ultimate vision or destination is. 

Without a clear destination, how will you know how to move forward?


Set Energy-Oriented Goals

Most CEOs set goals, fail to achieve them, and then kick themselves for failing.

The more they kick themselves the less motivated they feel.

The reason they fail: CEOs grossly underestimate the energy it will take to accomplish each goal.

Energy = power + time.

That said, most CEOs underestimate how much power and time it will take to accomplish their goals.

Instead of kicking yourself for not checking goal boxes, be extremely realistic with how much energy it will take to accomplish them.

Do not set overzealous goals to make yourself feel good in the moment.

The better you get at estimating goal-energy input, the more likely you are to accomplish goals.

The more goals you accomplish, the more motivated you will feel.


Set a Black Dot Every Morning

There used to be a time I would wake up in the morning and get pulled in a thousand different directions.

Instead of doing the hard work I needed to do, I responded to every person who came knocking on my door.

As a result, I deviated from my most important tasks, which made it difficult to accomplish anything.

These days, I wake up every morning and set a black dot.

The black dot is my primary focus for the day.

For example, the black dot can be knocking a final sales pitch out of the park or cleaning up the sales strategy.

I refuse to deviate from the black dot until I get it done!  As a result, I accomplish my most important tasks and feel better for staying on track.

Because of that, I feel more motivated to show up each day.


Set Aside Daily Downtime

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot grind 24/7.

Actually, the idea of putting your head down and grinding every day is a sign of weakness.

Instead of grinding all the time, I suggest setting aside 30 minutes of downtime each day.

By downtime, I do not mean scrolling through your phone or watching TV.

I mean serious downtime where you do nothing but let yourself relax and turn your mind inward.

As the mind turns inward, you start making new connections.  

The more new connections you create, the more new ideas and solutions you devise.

Turning inward is significantly more powerful than grinding, yet most CEOs never do it.

The reason is: They believe sitting around and doing nothing is the antithesis of success.

However, stopping to do nothing is one of the most productive and motivating things you can do.

For example, how many times have you been stumped on a problem, break for 5 minutes, and then suddenly come up with a solution to the problem? 

That is the power of letting your mind turn inward!

Sometimes, the best thing you can do to get motivated is nothing.


Practice Extreme Accountability (The Most Important Part!)

Here is the kicker: None of this will work unless you hold yourself to an intensely high accountability standard.

When I say accountability, I mean making sure you take action even when your feelings tell you not to.

I mean pressing forward even when it is the last thing you want to do.

Remember, you cannot let emotions like low motivation drive you!  Basing actions (or inactions) is a recipe for disaster.

Instead, hold yourself accountable to action despite your feelings.

Are you not feeling motivated?  No problem.  Take action anyway.

Waiting until you are motivated to do something is bogus.

Taking action and getting motivated from the action is where the money is!


Final Thoughts: Why CEOs Should Not Waste Time Getting Motivated


The question should not be how do I get motivated?.  Instead, it should be how do I take action even when I do not feel like it?.

We would not live in the abundant world we do today if everybody waited to take action until they felt motivated.

Successful business leaders do not waste time trying to motivate themselves.

They take action despite their feelings, and motivation builds from the action.

Waiting to feel motivated before taking action is like waiting for money to fall on your plate: it will not happen unless you get moving!

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