Motivation is the key to business success

Do you ever wake up before your alarm?

Not just waking up and rolling over before dozing back off and hitting the snooze button 4 times before crawling out from bed, still half asleep.

What I’m talking about is waking up, jumping out of bed with the ideas and energy to power you through the day. I do, sometimes.

When I do wake up on fire. It comes down to just one thing, knowing what I want to achieve and wanting to achieve that. But there is a huge difference between knowing what you want or must achieve, and wanting to do it.

The drive to do that ‘thing’ comes from within and what comes from within is motivation.

When you don’t want to do something, it is because you are unmotivated, usually because that ‘thing’ isn’t linked to a reward that matters to you.

In business, motivation is critical to achieving success but when you lack motivation, do you know why?

Psychologists discuss motivation in terms of a theoretical rational to explain behaviour.

Studies have shown that behaviour is driven by actions, desires and needs. So, when you are not motivated it is entirely down to the lack of these three drivers.

When you understand the psychology behind this, it is then easy to become motivated to create a successful business.

All you need to do first is define what your success looks like and I call this ‘finding your North Star’.

Once you have your North Star, then there are just 2 other keys to keeping yourself motivated to find your success.

These are:


  1. Expectancy: You may know what you want to achieve but you need to also believe that you can achieve it. That’s what we all do as entrepreneurs, whether we are Starting Up or Scaling Up, we solve problems. They may be tough and have countless challenges, but as an entrepreneur, we have an innate belief we can solve them.
  2. Focus: Your goals and the tasks ahead may seem far away and in some instances insurmountable. But if you break these down into smaller steps then each step is easier to achieve and each one will move you one place closer to achieving your goal. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with just one small step. It is your role as the entrepreneur to make that first step and then the next, and then the next, and then the next until your reach your destination.


Let me caveat this advice.

If you know about the Yale class of 1953, only 3% of them achieved success by writing their goals. Hence merely identifying your ‘North Star’ isn’t enough for you to be able to achieve your goals. It can’t hurt, but there’s also no hard evidence that writing per se does anything to help.

In terms of Expectancy and Focus, Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, two renown organisational psychologists identified that when you have specific and difficult goals and not only define exactly what needs to be accomplished [the Focus], but that also set the bar for achievement high [the expectancy] then this results in far superior performance than simply trying to “do your best.”

The reason behind this is because more difficult goals cause you to unconsciously increase your effort and make better use of the most effective strategies.

So, find your North Star, expect that you’ll achieve it and keep your focus upon it.

That’s how to become successful in business.