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Inner drive necessary for success in business

A heightened sense of motivation drives you to show up without getting pushed by anyone

In Summary

• Do not just think of a goal but take the steps necessary towards achieving that goal

Vegetable vendor Christopher Kimani organises his stall at the City Park Market on July 25
Vegetable vendor Christopher Kimani organises his stall at the City Park Market on July 25
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

Lots of people in employment fantasise about getting into business so they can go to work or leave for home at any time. Being your own boss is very appealing for those looking for flexible working hours.

As the saying goes, power comes with great responsibility. People getting into business eventually realise that success is directly proportional to the effort invested. Yes, as a self-employed person, you can wake up whenever you want, but staying in bed won't make you any money. Certainly not in conventional businesses.

Opening your business only when you feel like it won’t deliver the success you are looking for. Consistency and regular working hours are important to establish a reputation for reliability among your customers.

Consistency means showing up in tough times, when customers are few and far in between. This calls for an inner drive, or a heightened sense of motivation, that drives you to show up without getting pushed by anyone.

Motivation can be described as the state of having a strong reason to accomplish something (Dictionary.com). Most people say that earning a living is their biggest motivation; the thing that drives them into action. They want to provide for their families, save money for a house or to improve the quality of their lives.

Motivational author Michael Jucius described motivation as the act of stimulating someone or oneself into a desired course of action. The key point about motivation is not just having the thought of a goal, but taking the steps necessary towards achieving that goal.

That’s why successful entrepreneurs have this inner energy that keeps them going regardless of circumstances, bad weather or anything else that may frustrate less motivated persons.

The Harvard Business Review recommends setting goals that are specific, rather than general. Instead of saying, “I’m starting a business to make money,” you may say, “I’m starting this business to make Sh50,000 a month.”

A specific goal will motivate you to take the necessary actions towards attaining it; for example, by focusing on fast-moving products instead of slow-moving stock. Furthermore, you are not likely to rest until you achieve your goal for the month.

Self-motivation is about seeking opportunities and seizing them whenever they occur, says Courtney Ackerman, an author of positive psychology. "Avoid procrastination and work on your time management skills," she wrote on the Positive Psychology blog. Procrastination is the tendency of postponing things until the last minute.

Constantly seeking feedback for self-improvement is one of six vital skills Ackerman says form the foundation of self-motivation. "Continue learning and acquiring knowledge," she tips. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is among the world's richest people, reads around 50 books a year to increase his knowledge.

Motivation is not just about oneself as the founder of the business. It is also about motivating your employees. Chris Harrison, a marketing, advertising and talent development expert in Nairobi, believes that money is not the main force that motivates employees.

“It’s a truism worth repeating that most people benefit from social interactions with colleagues and want to take pride in the company they work for and the jobs they do,” Chris says. “There’s plenty of evidence to show that job satisfaction plays a major part in what makes human beings happy.”