If working alone has one major challenge, it’s how to keep yourself motivated when work isn’t coming in, clients don’t return your calls and bills are mounting up.
Going solo means you probably won’t get the external appreciation and encouragement from colleagues that you have had in other situations – your motivation has to come from within.
Here are three ways to keep that internal flame fanned and burning:
Funnel vision (not tunnel vision) is required. Everything needs to be focused towards your goal.
Like the sun’s rays intensified through a magnifying glass, concentrate your mind and energy on what you want to achieve and set the world on fire with your ideas and your product.
To remind yourself what that is, surround your work area with pictures of what you are aiming for.
Not just what you want to have, but also visuals that remind you of what you want to be and do; inspirational sayings, people and vistas.
Set weekly targets, daily goals and hourly stepping stones that are all part of your larger plan so you feel confident that all your work is leading somewhere, even if there is no apparent momentum right this moment.
Surround yourself with colleagues, co-workers, networks of support, family, and understanding friends; whoever will listen and give you a wise word of encouragement when you need it.
Sympathetic noises may sound kind but they don’t energise you. Other people can be naysayers. They are speaking out of their own fear and don’t mean to bring you down, but this kind of conversation doesn’t help.
Life isn’t full of kittens and rainbows either, but supportive people will always find a new spin or a way to express their belief in your ability that will keep your will to continue alive. The power of a sustaining word is far greater than we often allow for.
Don’t forget the playfulness of your life’s work. You chose it – it must be something you love doing and believe in strongly. That means fun.
Toy with ideas, draw them up, turn them into a game, tell someone about them while playing tennis.
Being too serious can drag your motivation down. Buster Keaton came up with his most creative ideas while he was playing baseball and made sure there was a diamond outside his movie studio – he knew that sitting at a desk writing down gags didn’t work for him.
Explore what situations or activities help spark your creativity.
Lastly though, don’t sit around and wait to be motivated before you take action. Personal trainers will tell you that motivation comes after you start exercising, not before. So engage your focus, tell a friend, and have fun!