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Like most people, some mornings I wake up and feel less than enthusiastic about working. Sometimes, this feeling doesn’t stem from laziness or apathy, it’s a stronger power, a sense of futility and helplessness.
I know a lot of people look to my story of success as a source of inspiration and that is one of the greatest benefits I enjoy as a blogger, but – and I’m not afraid to admit it – I don’t always feel energized to pursue business and sometimes in my darkest moments, I even consider throwing in the towel.
This feeling is not so common for me now as I have lifestyle flexibility, a more stable income and a better mindset about work, but earlier on, it definitely was a problem. I want to explain how I overcome these moments (and still do the same thing now on occasion) to stay on track and how you can even have a productive day when you are not really feeling the mojo on the inside.
I expect you have felt similar feelings of despair or a lack of motivation at different stages of your business development, especially if you are yet to establish an income stream online that is sufficient for you to live off, or if you are right at the beginning and you have not seen one cent of return for the work you have put in.
Depending on your world view and personality style, when you hear of the success of others you may either feel inspired or dejected, and while it’s obviously more fruitful to look at other people achieving what you desire as motivation, as a fallible human, jealousy, depression and anger may be your initial responses.
Your mind is your greatest asset for success in business, but it can be just as strong a force of hindrance, sabotaging your efforts, destroying your work ethic and leaving you with no option but to return to the soul destroying job you promised yourself that you would never go back to.
One of the characteristics I believe is at the heart of my success and the success of most entrepreneurs, is an ability to keep working in the face of failure and an ability to force yourself to be productive when you don’t feel like it.
I remember many a time promoting my proofreading business BetterEdit, walking around university campuses placing posters on boards, experiencing a feeling of impatience, a lack of confidence and a constant inner-questioning of whether what I was doing was a waste of time or not.
It’s very hard to be confident of success when you have yet to seriously experience it. In many ways, at this stage of your business career, faith and fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence in your idea has to carry you through the self doubt, the set-backs and the slow growth.
Nothing goes right all the time. Sometimes clients will ask for refunds, or they won’t be happy with what you provide or the universe creates a circumstance you had no way of predicting, which you just have to deal with.
For you beginners out there, one of the greatest challenges you face is your battle with self doubt. Others around you will scoff at your attempt to buck the trend to start a business, your own results will come slowly and for a long time you will have to work every day for little reward. Patience and willpower are necessary at this stage.
BetterEdit offered a great lesson for me. Placing posters on university campuses proved an effective marketing method, but the return on investment was delayed. I put up a poster and it would not elicit a response for months – sometimes even years – so my “pay off” for hard work was far in the future. This meant that I had to believe that clients would come if I just kept at it for long enough.
In hindsight faith in an outcome is easy because the experience is had, before this, you’re playing with chance and believing in the possibility of success without tasting it. If you don’t have tolerance for ambiguity, you better avoid the entrepreneur’s journey.
One of the things I did and still do whenever I feel less than enthusiastic is to focus on output, rather than the external elements that bring me down. I might feel utterly crushed, but I know if I create something or take any productive action, I continue towards my goals.
The great thing about output is the power it has over your mood. Negative emotion breeds negative actions – lying in your bed or watching TV for example – or a lack of any action at all. If you focus on creating something and just take one little forward step, the physical effort you exert effects your inner emotional state. Your ability to soldier on in the face of emotional dissonance can carry you through the darkness and return you to a state of congruent activity and thought.
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To all my wonderful blogging students, those working to create authority blogs and build an income stream from the words you publish online – you know what I mean when I talk about keeping the faith and fighting through self doubt.
Blogging for money is not a quick results endeavor and like you are possibly feeling from time to time currently, you question whether the work you put in will ever bring the desired outcomes.
I remember publishing content to my blog, content I thought was pretty good, but no one left a comment and my traffic wasn’t exactly skyrocketing. After posting my masterpiece I’d head out to other blogs and diligently make my presence felt by leaving quality comments.
I came across blog articles covering similar topics to my own that, in my opinion, were not as good as my articles, yet this blogger had a following of hundreds of readers and lots of comments made to every post. I wondered whether I was doing something wrong or was there something this other blogger was doing right that I wasn’t.
I can’t equivocally answer that question, but I suspect, especially now in hindsight, it was simply a case of patience and dedication to the process I was executing. I needed time to get to where I wanted to go and I needed to believe that my actions day-in and day-out would take me there.
I quickly learned with blogging that I had to enjoy every small success and focus on the commitment towards a goal, with at times blind faith. That motivation and commitment, even when I felt less than excited about my progress and very uncertain about whether my blog would ever take off, carried me onwards. The end result is three years of publishing content to this blog every single week, no matter what mood I’m in.
This is not something every person can replicate. Regardless of life situation, access to free time, resources or any external variable, simply put – most people don’t have the willpower to finish the race.
Bear in mind I’m not promoting BLIND faith, merely consistent effort based on a solid belief in an outcome.
There is a point where you need to take stock of progress and make changes or even quit altogether. Unfortunately most people take the exit door all too early and this lack of action merely reinforces the already prevalent lack of results.
It’s not rocket science, but as moody and imperfect human beings, there is a challenge to overcome oneself. This is, and always will be, your greatest challenge in life.
If you truly want to realize an outcome and taste success, then you must complete the necessary steps to get there. Not some of them and not just during your best days. This needs to be congruent and forceful effort regardless of external circumstances or internal turmoil.
Why not go take some action right now?