It happens to everyone. You’re plugging away on a project and it hits you: What am I doing? Why am I here? Should I be doing something else with my life?
It’s a fact: a lot of people lose passion for their work. As a startup owner, it’s critical to have passion for what you do. If you don’t love your work, it’s going to make it that much more difficult to pour your heart into your business. Startup owners often don’t have the luxury of a typical 9 to 5 day and are taxed with overseeing multiple aspects of their business. Sometimes, they are the business and work follows them home.
Have you recently started a business? Does this sound familiar? Have you been able to avoid this inevitable circumstance? If this sounds like a situation you’re in, the first step is figuring out why you’re feeling this way.
Have you lost your passion?
Before you try to fix any problem, you need to understand the cause. Why have you lost your passion? See if you identify with any of the following:
- Boredom: Maybe you aren’t feeling challenged enough, or you’re stuck handling day-to-day tasks that don’t interest you.
- Stress: Launching and managing a startup is undoubtedly stressful. Even if you realized this from the beginning, perhaps you didn’t understand the type or amount of stress you’d feel.
- Setbacks: Failure can be demoralizing. If you aren’t bringing in money or accomplishing your goals, it can make you feel detached from your business.
- Overworked: It’s pretty well known that if you’re a startup owner, you’ll be working insane hours to get your business off the ground and sometimes even way beyond when your business is in its infancy. This can leave you with time for nothing else and throw off your work-life balance.
- General lack of motivation: Sometimes, you just can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but you know in your heart your passion is gone.
If any of this sounds like something you’ve experienced, read on for tips on how to revive your passion. After you’ve identified your cause(s), you need to figure out a few ways to help you get back on track.
Remember why you started
Do you remember the time when you were dreaming up your business idea? Remember how fun it was to think of what you wanted to accomplish and how your ideas were going to change the world? If you ever lose sight of what you set out to accomplish, think back to the excitement and enthusiasm you felt just before launching your startup. Remember the goals you set in place. It might help to look back at your business plan—it could inspire you and get you back on track.
Celebrate your successes
If you’ve hit a rough patch, it might feel like you aren’t accomplishing your goals or doing anything worthwhile. Reflect back on your successful moments and pull from those instances for inspiration. It’s easy to stay motivated while everything is going your way—the challenge is feeling passionate when things aren’t great. It’s important to pause and acknowledge your successful moments. As a starter, successful moments might not come as often as you like (at least not right away). When success does come your way, celebrate it and remember the feeling it brings so you can draw inspiration from it later.
Create a “feel good” file
Have you ever gotten an email from a co-worker or client thanking you for your hard work or complimenting you on a job well done? It may sound cheesy, but don’t delete emails like that. Everyone loves receiving words of encouragement. Save those notes in a file and go back to it when you’re in need of a pick-me-up. It’s a simple practice that can kick your motivation into high gear.
Do the tasks you love
Passion is likely what drove you to launch your business. But as startup owner, there’s a lot more you need to worry about than just doing your work. If your passionate about developing technology that helps people maintain healthy lifestyles, you might not get to actually work on developing your products. The more successful you are, the more removed you may become. As a business grows, its owner becomes more responsible for being a strategic leader and organizer, and less involved in what drove them to start in the first place. Carve out time every week to be involved in the tasks that you love. Reconnecting in this way can help you feel recharged and ready to handle the other parts of business ownership.
Learn something new
Falling into any kind of a rut makes it difficult to progress with your work. One great way to motivate yourself, reconnect with your work and feel more passionate than ever is simply to learn something new. You could attend a conference or lecture to sharpen your skills. Sign up for an online class or webinar. Learning something new doesn’t have to cost you money—stop at the library, watch videos on YouTube, or do a simple search for sites or blogs to read.
Take time for you
One of the biggest reasons people lose passion is not because they have lost interest in their work; it’s because they’re overworked and their lives lack balance. Though in some cases a startup may be a one-man-show, you need to find a way to put aside work for a few minutes every day or a few hours every week. Use that time to focus on something fun or relaxing.
If you’re one of the lucky few who is consistently happy with your work environment, you need to do everything in your power to make sure things stay that way. Trying out these strategies long before your passion has a chance to falter is a great way to make sure you’re staying challenged, balanced in your life and excited about your work.