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How to stay motivated through the daily grind?  



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Hello, I've been exploring your videos on youtube, one was of particular interest was your TED talk. I found it very useful and the tools are something i'm working on implementing. Something i'm personally struggling with at the moment is expressing my views and needs in an effective manner at board meetings and one on ones. When I was fighting for my dream and raising investment for my idea I could effectively communicate what i needed and why it should be me. However since then my confidence has actually fallen, and i find myself stuck in one on ones, board meetings, with suppliers etc. Its almost as though I have lost my mojo since I achieved what I saw as a massive challenge to get over the fund raising hump! Ive been trying to fit it into the principles from your TED talk, writing everything down, focussing on a task at the time, and staying true to my values, but something is affecting my ability to remain firm in the face of others. I have the ideas in the prep for these meetings and conversations and what I want to achieve, but its almost as if I am being disarmed by the other, and I feel its coming from within, not, from any particular effort from the other-side. I know the things I want and how I was, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the above? Hope to hear back.

Best Wishes. Thom

1 Answer

I have led 4 rounds of VC fund raising for companies that I have founded. I remember closing the deals and the next few days getting sucked back into day to day operations and thinking "is this it? I thought once we closed a big round, I would focus on big strategic stuff..." 

I closed one business because I thought "I cannot imaging spending the next 40 years of my life doing this..."

I think there is a difference between a founder leader and a hired leader. As a hired leader, you have to accept that the job comes with requirements and you have to get them done.

As a founder leader, I believe different rules apply. You are not being paid to do the work. Once a coach friend of mine asked me "who pays who in your company? it looks like you do all the work of motivating her and also you pay her... that seems messed up."

Today I focus on what activities only I can do and that connect to my personal and professional goals.  If someone on my team doesn't make me more effective and improve the quality of my life, it is them that will need to change - not me.  

This is not politically correct "servant leadership" stuff - I think that applies when you are hired in as a professional leader.

As a founder or visionary - if you remain motivated each day for the next 20 years, you will have a successful company.  If you burn yourself out in 4 years (no matter how fast you grow) you will not have a successful company.  Your most important asset is your motivation.  Take really good care of it.  Do not sacrifice it to accelerate growth, or to have people you don't like on your team.  Take really good care of your personal motivation.

One daily habit that helped me - every afternoon I create a love/hate summary in my journay - on the left - everything that I have enjoyed (has added to my motivation), on the right - everything from the last 24 hours that has sucked my motivation out.  And I stop doing things on the right.

Some further reading on my approach to staying motivated...

On Personal Resilience:

but I think today's simple answer: "Stop doing the things that suck your energy".  If they are still necessary to be done, hire someone who loves that type of work.  Most of the time, if you just do what you love and what you do well - people will forget about the admin stuff that you don't do so well (speaking from my own personal value system... I love conversations, teaching... I hate admin and paperwork and emails)

This post was modified 8 months ago 2 times by Conor Neill