Motivation is complicated
Let’s start this conversation with a challenge, shall we?
What is it that, if nowhere else but the quiet recesses of your mind and soul, you find yourself motivated to be?
How do you want to spend your time?
I hadn’t seen my friend for years; we’d been close in high school, but went our separate ways after graduation. So when I bumped into him at a mutual friend’s surprise birthday party twenty-five years later, I was surprised to learn he owns an independent coffee shop, an increasing rarity in a world dominated by Starbucks and the other mega-brands that attempt to standardize the customer experience.
I asked him how he came to do that, and the simplicity of his reply was remarkable:
“I just found out that I loved good coffee, making it correctly, and teaching others to do the same. At the root of it is that I just loved pleasing people, and wanted to spend my time only doing that.” He defined his own success.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events, and small minds discuss people.”
We so often get overwhelmed attempting to find our purpose, forgetting it can simply be distilled to doing things we love and want to devote our time and attention to.
We chase the Big-V Vision in an attempt to try to make our passion feel more important to others, which is altogether unnecessary. Your vision doesn’t have to be earthshaking in scope to be important. For my friend, the vision was one good cup of coffee at a time, in a place that was a home for good friends to have great conversation. Your vision might be as simple as that, or it may be Brobdingnagian in scope. The only thing that matters is that you find the thing (or things) you’re passionate about and find a way to translate that into meaning for others along the way.
Define your own success
As you progress forward in finding your personal answer to that question, it’s easy to become overwhelmed in the day-to-day operations of business and lose sight of why you pursued that path in the first place.
In Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Walter is ready to challenge the world with his business plans, but it’s Ruth who knows the importance of being grounded, and encourages him to finish his eggs first.
You’ve got to attend to the business of being in business, but you also have to keep that vision inside of you burning brightly as well. Don’t get lost in the events or the people around you and lose sight of why you began in the first place.
As your business grows and prospers, keep that focus which allows it to stay great and transcend towards the next level of success, however you choose to define it.