Entrepreneurs, Deadlines and Motivation

I am one of the most fortunate individuals in the world because I am an entrepreneur. I have been able to weave together four successful careers, help others make money, make myself comfortable and enjoy a many great adventures. I’ve succeeded more than I’ve failed and I have become a learning machine.

I’ve also learned all the tricks to make sure that my life as an entrepreneur is successful. I am driven by a clear vision of helping others grow, have a great support system of people who tell me the truth as well as an incredible marriage. I work out regularly, constantly learn something new, know when to play and when to rest, provide myself with rewards when a goal is completed, constantly challenge myself and others and have a healthy disregard for the impossible.

That is why I was so bewildered when I went through ten days of feeling discouraged and somewhat depressed. Yes, I got up every day and worked on my upcoming book, did what I needed to do in the social media department, worked on a new project for the health care industry and enjoyed time with my wife and friends. However, there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, of wondering if it was all worth it. I wrote in my journal-asked myself questions, doubled my vitamin B12 but nothing seem to make a difference.

Then, out of the blue, I had an epiphany.

Like many entrepreneurs I basically do not have deadlines except for the ones I set or put in motion. No one assigns me tasks. I am the driver, the force behind my productivity. And the problem became apparent to me that, even though I was writing every day, I had somehow become momentarily blind to giving myself a deadline. And I know that without a deadline there is no tension created, no motivation to complete a task.
So I identified the project of highest priority – which was completing and recording an audio program to help pre-surgery patients prepare mentally for surgery. I immediately booked studio time for a recording session. It was as though someone had thrown a switch in my brain. Like the sun breaking through the clouds – my mood shifted. I became alert, focused and – fired up.

A dream without a deadline truly remains a dream. Deadlines give us the punch of motivation. So, my advice to all the entrepreneurs out there is to do a reality check of your business and reassess the nature of your deadlines knowing that the motivation for both yourself and others hangs in the balance. French novelist Emile Zola wrote “One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.” Yes, deadlines can be painful but not nearly as painful as the lack of purpose and motivation.

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