Ever wonder why some investors are having their worst years while others are having the best they have ever had? I met with one really successful investor that believed the next three years will set him up for the rest of his life. He will be retired, or at least be able to retire, before he is 40. It really comes down to two things in my opinion. The first is the ability to align what you can control with what you can’t. What I am talking about here is the ability to adapt to your surroundings. I can talk all day about what I see in the markets and what I see other successful investors doing, and I do frequently but that is not the topic of this article. The second and more obvious reason for success is the ability to stay motivated. That is especially true in a tough environment which so many believe we are in. Here are some ideas to help you stay on tract and stay motivated:
- Have a good reason: This is by far the easiest way to get and stay motivated but it needs to be in the forefront of your mind. This is your big “why”. Why are you doing this in the first place? It needs to go deeper than the money. What will the money buy that you want? Generally it goes deeper than the new car or the new house (although these can be extremely motivating goals too). Having kids and wanting to set them up for an enjoyable and prosperous life is a great why. Taking care of a family member, returning a favor to someone you love, starting or helping a charity that means something to you are all good examples. Don’t make light of this. Your big why could be the difference in you getting what you want and not. Spend some time and come up with the reason you NEED to be successful. Once you have it put reminders up around your office to show yourself why you need to do the things you don’t want to do, like pictures of your kids. Why is your “why” more important to you than not doing the things it takes to get there?
- Reward yourself: I thought this one was a little cheesy until I started to implement it. When Stephanie and I started our first mentorship program we were encouraged to do this. In fact they taught us to reward ourselves for very small accomplishments and normally that was accomplishing weekly goals. As long as we made all of our seller calls, sent all the letters, hung all our signs, etc., that Sunday we would treat ourselves to a nice dinner, a movie, or something else we enjoyed together. We had larger rewards for larger goals and we always drank some champagne when we closed a deal. Because of our motivation to be successful we started drinking a little too much champagne and had to adjust our rewards.
- Track your progress: There is not a lot that is more motivating than seeing your results. One thing Steph and I did is update our personal financial statement once a quarter. We spend the 10 or 15 minutes this takes so we can see our net worth move up or down. I also like to graph the net worth so I can see the progress over time. It is extremely motivating to me to see big jumps on the graph. Another example of this in action is exercising. This is one of those things that is very difficult for me to stay motivated for. When you start working out and you start gaining or losing the weight (depending on your goal) your motivation typically increases and you want to work out more to see more results. It is very addicting. Some things are easier to track than others but I encourage you to track your progress and watch your own success.
- Break your goals down: it is hard to get motivated to accomplish something that is really far away, especially if there is not a clear path to get there. Have you ever arrived at work in the morning and wondered where to even get started? Having so much to do can be overwhelming and actually shut you down. By breaking it up and prioritizing, it is easy to be motivated for the next thing on your list. To accomplish a big goal you need to break that down into several smaller goals or smaller tasks. I say tasks because a task is something that will help you accomplish your large goals and is something you can control. I once had a goal to do a deal a month. Seems like a reasonable goal but until I broke down the tasks it took to get there I could not find the deals. Once I learned to break it down to daily tasks it became extremely easy to reach that goal and required me to set larger goals. If you want more deals, break that down to how many deals you want. Then break that down to how many letters you will need to send, or how many calls you need to make, or how many offers you need, or how many doors do you need to knock on. It always comes down to numbers. You can do as much or as little as you want if you break goals into tasks and actually perform the tasks.