I have two 19 year old boys. As I drove them to school, during their senior year, we often talked about the future and what they wanted to do when they “grew up”. One of the boys had a vision of becoming a mathematician. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he wanted to gain his PhD at Case Western and then teach kids math in high school. My other son stated “I am going to be millionaire. No I will be billionaire”. I was worried every time he said that, because I know, that if your only goal is to become rich, you will rarely achieve it.

Just stating what we want to be, or what we want to become will not get us there. Merely, expressing our desires to the universe achieves nothing. In fact, it has been proven that people who just tell others their dreams and desires, tend to actually be less motivated to achieve their goals. Real motivation doesn’t come from hearing a speech or watching a movie. Real motivation comes from within –  we can only motivate ourselves. A person’s drive is often based on what he or she believes about their abilities, not on how objectively talented they are. 

So with that said, I want to share with you the  secret of how to get motivated and succeed in your business. The secret is that real motivation only comes after you start. The best way to get motivated is to break a sweat, because motivation comes from action and success begets success. So start small and build on the small successes.

As with many things in life, the process is everything. Build a successful process that will help you to achieve your goals, and then follow that process.

Remember that real success, meaningful success, is never instant, so don’t be afraid of discomfort and learning from both your own mistakes and the mistakes of others, because the past is a valuable teacher. But, the past doesn’t define you, it is only there to guide you.

Let me give you an example. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read”. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, Warren Buffett says he spends 80% of his working day reading and Mark Cuban spends 3 hours per day reading. So I think we would all agree that reading is important: it improves focus and concentration; makes you more interesting and attractive; reduces stress;  enriches your vocabulary; improves your memory and its great entertainment. So let’s say that you want to acquire the habit of becoming a voracious reader.

Here’s how to create a successful process;

  1. Set your goal. For example you would like to read more. But what’s “more”?  Be specific about what you are going to do. One book per week?
  2. Get rid of your anxiety and choose a reasonably promising routine. In preparation for reading, start with a book that you know is going to really interest you and stick with it.
  3. If necessary, customize your process to be very specific. E.g. Monday you will read for one hour, between 3pm and 4pm. Tuesday you will only read for a 45 minutes right before bed, and on Wednesday you will skip reading a book at all. Setting up very specific steps along the way helps you create a strong process.
  4. Rework your schedule. Being able to commit to reading daily, takes a significant amount of discipline and commitment, and you might have to change your current routine so “life” doesn’t get in the way. Getting up earlier and reading might work for some, whilst for others it might mean giving up TV time in the evening in order to read. Already you are making quite a lot of changes in your life to be able achieve your reading goal. But if you don’t make the changes you will never succeed.
  5. Map out your daily plan. This task should be easy.  Take a little time to block book on your calendar. Sunday: 1 hour read (2-3pm), Monday: 2 hours read (8:30pm-10:30pm), Tuesday: 30 minutes (12:30pm-1pm) , Wednesday: 1.5 hours and so on.
  6. Work the process. Maybe on the Tuesday you can’t read 30 minutes during lunch time, but that day you can listen to the audiobook on the way home. It is okay as long as you don’t lose your momentum. The key concern now is to stick with the work, and don’t compare yourself with other people. The only thing that matters is that you can check off the box beside each day’s activity.  
  7. Fix your schedule problems. Sometimes stuff happens and things don’t work out, and when that happens, what usually gives first?  Your new processes. Do not give up! Fix whatever schedule problems have arisen. Pivot. There is always a new way. So if you get home late after long hours of work and networking, and tomorrow you are traveling, take that book with you and make it up on the plane or in the hotel. Time goes faster when reading anyway, so don’t feel guilty for reading four hours straight!
  8. Your results may vary, so adapt accordingly. Do not make changes to your processes because you are tired or lazy; make changes because those changes increase your likelihood of ultimate success.

So that’s it. The process is not complicated and all it takes is the motivation to take the first step.

So what about my son? I believe he needs to find his passion, work on his process and get sweaty…..to achieve your goal, you just have to work hard, and avoid taking shortcuts. But that first step is always the hardest.