So, you’ve made it through year one. It is typical for start-up founders to wonder if the journey is really worth it. It’s exhausting.
The previous 12 months may have left you feeling flat for lots of reasons, but just like your most important colleagues and customers, your start-up requires delicate care, and with the right approach, you can stoke the fire again.
Inform yourself of why you began
The two biggest dangers for any entrepreneur working towards something which matters to them is dropping out or burning out early.
If you're convinced your idea will work, but are losing your mojo, remind yourself (over and over and over again) the reasons you began and what you are working for. These will be the little aspects which keep you moving forward when you feel like dropping out, and help you keep some perspective when you are in danger of complete burn out.
Dig deep and invest time in becoming clear on those items. Passion matters, and the answers to the questions 'why did I begin' and 'what am I working for' would be the most popular fuel known as any entrepreneur.
Play the long game.
We all love a good 'overnight success' story. What is not to love about getting everything you need as soon as you begin?
The reality though is that while overnight success is possible, it is not likely, and should not be seen as a yardstick for if you're likely to finally triumph or not. Just because you have not created it yet, don’t think you won’t get there.
Rewrite your relationship with work
We have all heard, "Find something you love doing, and you'll never work another day in your life".
Here is something I believe to be a little nearer to the truth; "Find something that you like, and hang on for dear life, because you're about to work harder than you've ever worked before".
Why? Because you love it, and since it matters for you personally you will put everything into it. Don't be fooled -- this journey you are on is going to be hard. There are going to be times that actually shake and challenge you. Be prepared for those and keep in mind that you're up to this challenge.
Make it about something more than money
Money is not always the most effective motivator. Sure, it is a huge part of why we do what we do, but you've got to find reasons for your energy beyond cash.
Soul satisfying and meaningful work -- the kind that puts your heart on fire -- is obviously going to be a combination of these 3 things:
Contributions: When your job is linked to something bigger than you, it is going to drive and inspire you and your groups to keep going even when times get rough. Ask yourself, who are we giving to? And how can my work contribute to the needs and goals of the others?
Connections: WHO you work with and for, matters just as much, if not more, than WHAT you are working on. Double down in your professional relationships and connections to your tribe to elevate your enthusiasm for work.
Challenges: In case you're losing your spark, you may need a fresh challenge. Lean to the hardest portions of your job and choose to see it as an opportunity to determine what it is you are really capable of, but not another undesirable issue. It isn't ease that you need, it is adventure -- and breakthrough and growth come by proactively chasing the challenging stuff.