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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When Motivation Takes a Nose Dive

As a business owner, manager, or team leader, you are expected to stay motivated and set a positive example for those working for and with you.  What happens however, when your motivation and attitude take a nose dive?  It’s impossible to stay upbeat 100% of the time.  We all have bad days.  Missed deadlines, stress, unhappy customers, set-backs and people not pulling their weight are just a few of the problems dealt with on a regular basis.  However, if you’re leading a team, you better be really good at picking yourself up, dusting off, and moving forward.  You cannot stay down for long or you might just pull the business with you. 
Here’s another worthwhile saying; “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  We are responsible for our own attitudes.  One thing I find helpful is to look beyond the problems of the day and keep my eye on the bigger picture.  Why did I go into business for myself anyway?  If my reason was to not have to answer to anyone but myself, or to make lots of money, or to work less, I’d better think again.  I need a bigger reason.  I need a purpose, a passion, a drive to improve or change something.  I must fully believe in my products and services.  I am more likely to achieve financial success if I’m working to make some difference in the world rather than only to make money.  The money will follow.
This is not to say that extrinsic motivators, like making money, are not helpful.  Just take a look at Howard Schultz who grew Starbucks from four stores to the world wide company it is today.  He once had a goal of building 2,000 stores by the year 2000.  (He beat that goal by a long shot.)  This is obviously a financial type of goal; an extrinsic goal.  Yet Schultz had intrinsic motivators working as well.  Schultz was quoted on many occasions as saying that his vision for Starbucks was to become a national company with values and guiding principles that employees could be proud of.  He wanted Starbucks to become the most respected brand name in coffee and for the company to be admired for its corporate responsibility.  Along the company’s route to success he offered employee benefits and incentives unheard of in most businesses and started many foundations to support worthwhile causes. 
So, are you having a bad day?  Get over it quick!  The costs of a bad attitude are just too high.  Read a motivational book.  Spend a day relaxing and thinking and talking to someone you trust.  Take a day or two to learn something new that might help you with your current setback.  Then, get up, find your motivation, and keep moving forward.  Think strategically and make your vision a reality one small step at a time.
I’ve listed below a few websites with helpful advice and resources for small business owners.

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