For anyone who is focused on succeeding at the highest level, there can be moments in your journey where things seem to be moving slower than you anticipated. You put in hours of work, spend your mornings and your nights on specific projects, and dedicate yourself to the vision, but for whatever reason, you seem to come up short of hitting your goals. Progress is still being made, but the drive inside of you seems to burn for more.
There is no denying that some individuals are just wired for action. If you are this type of person, you understand the need for progress like few others do. Nothing ever seems good enough. There's always one more improvement that can be made. A fix that can enhance performance. This type of drive is great for entrepreneurs, creative minds, and big thinkers, and it should not be suppressed in any way.
That being said, this type of mentality can also easily lead to burnout. A constant yearning for success and improvement, without a sense of accomplishment and rest, can create an environment of exhaustion. There should be a balance between striving for greatness and appreciating the accomplishments you have already achieved.
Taking a step back to evaluate your journey can do wonders for your future. It allows you a chance to view your work from a distance, instead of always being in the midst of another project, spreadsheet, or meeting. Additionally, your newfound appreciation can give you a new outlook on future tasks by making you more aware of past lessons learned.
But for those who burn with that internal drive, what is the best way to balance your work with this appreciative outlook? How can you step back and enjoy your successes without losing the momentum you've created?
#1. Schedule Days Off:
This may seem like the biggest sin for anyone who is working to build a social platform for success, whether it's a business, expanding your career opportunities, or organizing a non-profit, but taking scheduled time off can do wonders for your mentality and your work ethic. When you step away from your project, you force yourself to stop focusing on a particular grain of sand so that you can see the whole beach. It may be hard at first, but train yourself to leave behind the project on particular days.
For example, as I work to build my business platform leading up to our website launch, I have the bad habit of becoming so focused on particular details that I overwhelm myself, my wife, and my co-founders with data. I'm worried about social media presence, website design, communicating with our product distributor, financials, marketing, and all of the little details that go into a business. In the end, I've learned that certain days require me to shut of that part of my personality and step away from the business, no matter how hard that might be for me. When I do this, it not only eases the stress for my co-founders and my wife, but I see these "problems" as minor speedbumps. They no longer appear so daunting.
#2. Make an "Achievement List":
An Achievement List is nothing more than a list of the goals that you've accomplished over the past 6-12 months that you are most proud of in regards to your work. If you're trying to make the Dean's List in college, than jot down the test you've received A's on or the classes that you've done well in. If your goal is to sell 15 cars in a calendar month, create an "Achievement List" that includes contacting a certain number of former clients or new prospects, as well as jotting down each car that you've sold.
Whatever your situation, spend 20-30 minutes creating this list. It will help put your prior year into perspective, which can be incredibly helpful in keeping your focus on how far you've come. That ultimate end goal may be motivating you forward, but it can also drain you if your road to success is still far away. Using a personal example, it took me nearly 7 years to finish my bachelor's degree, and during that time I struggled with motivation when I considered how many credits I still needed before I was finished. But when I looked back and saw how far I had come and how many classes I had already completed, it help me stay focused. Taking just a small amount of time each week to read over your Achievement List can refocus your thoughts and make you more appreciative of how much you've accomplished.
#3. Remember Your "Why":
In previous blog posts, I've harped on the importance of having the right "why" behind your actions. Why are you doing the things that you're doing? What drives your motivation? Is it the dream of money? Social status? Is it providing a higher quality of life for your family? Taking the time to evaluate your true "why" is important for anyone who hopes to accomplish great things, because your "why" will dictate your "how".
That being said, getting caught up in the grind can be challenging. You become so busy that you forget why you're working in the first place. If your "why" for building a business is so that you can work from home in order to spend more time with your spouse and children, remember to include them in the process. Step away from the business on occasion and spend quality family time together. Don't claim the business is for them and then neglect them while you work 7 days a week.
I've said this before and I will say it here again: Your "why" is the most important aspect of your success. If you know your true "why" and you are willing to put enough work behind it in order to see it through, you can accomplish anything.
I'm one that enjoys the work behind any big project. I love putting in the time to build new projects and see them to fruition. But I've had to learn how to appreciate the accomplishments that I've made over time, and in retrospect, that has made a huge difference in my outlook.
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