Our ability to stay motivated and remain focused are intrinsically linked to how connected we are to the purpose we hold for our lives.
If you’re lacking motivation day to day – perhaps you need to ask yourself, not how can I motivate myself and focus? But how can I realign myself with my purpose to ensure motivation is something that is inherent?
Through my life and in business I use two frameworks to help me consciously remain aligned and on purpose. Ultimately whether you are launching a new business, a senior manager in a corporation, a stay at home parent, a student, an employee in another business, retired, or pursuing a completely different path entirely, these are frameworks that anyone can apply to their life.
Before starting this thinking process, understand that this is not a 10-minute activity. It’s not my intention that you get to the end of this post and have an instant sense oof motivation or focus.
Reflection and planning both take time and constant iteration, however, the most underrated skill of someone who builds a life that is meaningful to them is their ability to do the thinking.
1: REACH A POINT OF ALIGNMENT
For me, everything I do is a representation of who I am. I don’t need to consciously stay motivated every day because I love the work and I love the challenge.
If you struggle with motivation first ask yourself this question:
Are you congruent and aligned with the work you do every day?
I believe that to do our life’s best work we need to achieve alignment between life and work. This alignment is born from the symbiosis between our heart, our head and our hand.
Heart – Who you are at your core? What’s the highest intention you hold for your life? What’s the legacy you want to leave or the contribution you want to make? What brings you joy?
Head – What excites you? What are you good at? What stimulates you intellectually? What makes you curious?
Hand – What is the work you do on a daily basis? What are your daily activities? Is this a true reflection of both your head and your heart? What makes you want to work?
Finding alignment between these three aspects of your life won’t be an instant process. It takes time to do the exploration of self-required to develop a deep level of awareness.
However, it is only through reflecting on these questions that you will reach this ultimate point of alignment. When you do you motivation will not be something superficial that you need to manufacture. Because what you are doing is fuelled by who you are.
2: DO THE THINKING REQUIRED
As someone who is navigating their own path, whether you run your own business or not, what matters is that you are creating the life you want.
There are so many different layers and nuances to business and life, and it is only through mapping out what you need to do each year and each month, that you’ll stay on course to do great work.
Set aside time to do the thinking required about where you are going and what it is that will get you there. This clearer sense of direction will manifest itself in a more natural level of focus.
The different layers of thinking that need to be decided and committed to are:
Vision – Think 20 years ahead
The vision is like a north star that should guide a lot of what you do and who you become. It relates to the ultimate purpose you hold for your life or your business. Often the vision is contribution centric, focusing on the impact you want to make to the lives of other people or the planet.
For example, the vision I hold for my life is to push civilisation forward by enabling more people to live on purpose, and the vision is also shared by each of my businesses.
Mission – Think 10 – 15 years ahead
In order to bring the vision you hold for life into existence, you then need to develop a tangible, audacious goal that will enable you to actualise it. This is your mission. Ask yourself, if there was one ultimate goal for me or my business or my team to achieve that would fulfil the vision what would that goal be?
While the vision is contribution centric, focused on the world or the people in it. The mission is focused on you or your company, who you need to become in order to fulfil the vision.
For me, my mission has always been around developing education. The mission I hold for myself and The Entourage is to become the world’s number one education institution for entrepreneurs and innovators.
Direction – Think 7 years ahead
Here you start thinking about the direction you need to move in over the next 7 years in order to give yourself the best shot at achieving your vision and mission. While still quite broad and vague, it provides the high-level direction in which you will journey.
For example, The Entourage’s direction over the next few years includes building the world’s best education for entrepreneurs and innovators, moving into higher education in order for us to touch more people’s lives, as well as building a media company that further enables our message to travel.
Strategy – Think 3 years ahead
Now your thinking needs to become more specific. While vision, mission and direction are vague, higher level concepts, in the strategy we start implementing more detail in terms of tangible pathways and milestones. Having these goals and measures in place will keep you on track towards actualising your vision.
Operational and Project Plan – Think 1 year ahead
You’ll notice now that with each step in this thinking process you’re gradually getting more and more specific, and therefore building out more detail. Generally, the further up our thinking extends, the more high -level it becomes. The closer we look, the more detail we’re able to build around the future we’re creating.
The operational plan should include the exact projects and milestones you need to complete over the next 12 months. Ultimately, your personal and business goals will only be as effective as the plans you put in place to action them.
Remember while planning ahead is essential, it’s important to be open to iterating, changing and developing these plans as challenges arise throughout your journey.
Quarterly Focuses – Think 3 months ahead
Now you know the milestones you need to hit in the next year, break this down into what you need to achieve in the next 4 quarters.
Quarterly planning will help inform what projects to prioritise, what to say “yes” to and equally as important, what you should be saying “no” to.
Generally speaking it’s best if any organisation has 3 to 5 quarterly focuses, and no more. When we get down to the immediate term focus is key.
Monthly Objectives – Think 1 month ahead
Quarterly focuses should then inform our monthly objectives. At this level of thinking you set out the core projects you need to move forward with and the targets you need to hit each month to keep you on track.
Weekly Targets – Think weekly
Monthly objectives then translate to weekly targets. What do you need to achieve in the next week to contribute to the larger strategy and direction you have laid out?
Today’s To Dos – Think daily
Your weekly targets then become today’s to-dos. The most productive people, spend their days doing activities that matter most and will have the greatest impact on achieving the higher level outcomes.
By planning through this framework, and translating macro, high-level vision into micro activities you become more aware of what you are spending your time doing and more importantly why you are spending your time doing it. I’ve always found that having this understanding drives both motivation and focus.
Ultimately, mastery of our path lies in our ability to go up into dreams and visions and then down into plans and specifics. Doing this in regards to your own journey means that while your decisions are heart led, there is a level of intellect in the navigation.
Remember that this model isn’t only something you can implement if you own a business. Whether you’re a one-person team with a goal to build a 100 person business or a mum or dad wanting to raise a happy family, this model of thinking and planning can be applied to mastering any area of your life.
For entrepreneurs, it’s not always easy to find time in the whirlwind of the day-to-day to think and plan ahead. However in my experience educating entrepreneurs, it is those who have a clear vision in mind that go on to build successful businesses.
My team at The Entourage work with entrepreneurs to help them implement the systems and structure they need to launch and scale successful businesses. Book in for a free consultation HERE today if you want to speak to the team about where you’re at in your entrepreneurial journey, and more importantly, where you could be.