I googled "motivational quotes" this morning, and found almost 4 million results.
Why would there be so many? Why do people spend so much time, energy, and even money, on motivation?
Because getting things done is hard.
It requires discipline - ignoring a task which might be more fun, or more pressing with urgency, in favor of working on something without an immediate payoff, or which might be physically and/or emotionally difficult.
It requires putting yourself into rejection's path - whether by a prospect who might say no, by writing a blog post that someone might criticize, or by exploring a great marketing idea for future business.
But hard is good. It's great, even. Because if getting things done was easy, success wouldn't be very rewarding.
My 3 Favorites
Everybody struggles with focus and motivation from time to time. Sometimes I find myself relaxing on the couch in the evening, even though I still have some writing to do. Other times I lose my direction during the day, by reacting to phone call after phone call.
Whenever I find myself getting pulled off track, these are some of the words of wisdom (and slogans) that help me regain my focus.
1.) Make forward progress, today.
It's so easy to tell yourself "I'll work extra hard on that goal tomorrow," when in fact, whether you do or you don't, you've already lost one day's worth of effort.
Steven Pressfield wrote, in The War of Art, "We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”
Same holds true for diets, exercise regimens, hobbies, and marketing phone calls.
It's ok to work on it tomorrow. But you should work on it today, too.
2.) Don't chase perfection.
I have missed many (self-imposed) deadlines throughout my writing career because I didn't like the article I had written. I have an idea of what to write about, but then as I start writing my topic expands, and eventually I'm left with an article that isn't really what I intended it to be. I might consider breaking it out into a multi-part piece, or I might even begin from scratch. Unfortunately, in many of these instances, my publishing deadline arrives and I don't have an article I liked well enough to hit the 'publish' button.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of FaceBook, has the solution:
"Done is better than perfect."
This was a mantra at the early days of FaceBook. Zuckerberg realized that if they waited for the next version/release to be perfect, it would never get released. Better to get a new feature implemented, and you can always make incremental improvements.
And you know what? It works well for a lot of what we do. A blog with 100 well-written posts is a lot more powerful than a blog with a handful of perfect posts. And talking with all 30 of your prospects, even if the conversations are a little forced or awkward, is better than having a perfect conversation with 1 or 2 of them.
Make the call. Write the blog post. Send the email.
Doing good work requires DOING the work. Waiting until you've crafted the perfect email, blog post, or research is simply an excuse to not get anything done.
3.) Just do it.
This slogan has been in our faces for 25+ years now. It's so simple, so powerful, and yet so true.
No excuses. No blame. No procrastinating.
So get out there and make progress towards your goal, today.
Go ahead and press send, or publish.
Just do it.
- Chris Butterworth