Success is a continuous effort.
The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you stay inspired to run a business?” is written by William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group.
Mozart is credited to have said, “You know that I immerse myself in music, so to speak—that I think about it all day long—that I like experimenting—studying—reflecting,” in a letter to his father in 1778.
An entrepreneur should view expressing herself through her business in the same light as Mozart viewed making his music. It is you who comes through—your creativity, dedication, consideration, motivation, and purpose. Staying continuously inspired even when you become lost in the logistics must come from within.
If you can imagine yourself doing anything but running your business, quit now. But if you won’t be truly fulfilling your destiny without running your business, then follow these four ways to stay inspired long after you start your business:
Even after a long tenure at the same place, people will walk away from a comfortable job if they don’t find purpose in it. Smart corporations know how to convey the value of the greater whole to the seemingly smallest of roles. Remind yourself of why you started your business. What difference is it making in the world? How is it changing lives or changing behavior? If you can’t trace the purpose of your work back to your personal values, then it will likely be difficult to stay inspired long term.
Culture at work
Cause breeds culture. A successful company knows its own culture. It has personality, purpose, vision, and community. In my company, Vanderbloemen Search Group, we have nine values that are constantly reiterated throughout every meeting and project. They are so well-defined and integrated into what we do that they guide who we are. When the culture is healthy and vibrant, people are excited about wins and can withstand losses. The company’s culture will lead its strategy for success. If it is well-defined, then it will also lead your people. If you don’t have aligned values or a healthy culture, your team will be segmented. They will chase conflicting vision, resulting in frustration for everyone. Unhealthy culture is far from inspiring and will drive people away from your company.
To remain constantly inspired, you need to be very clear about the mission of your business. There is a sense of truth in specificity, and ambiguity lacks foundation. If you know who you are as a leader, as well as your company’s identity and purpose, then you must be clear about its mission. A well-known tech company, such as Apple AAPL or Dell, will not merely want to make great computers. That is too vague. They will each define their specific missions and execute them accordingly. The mission that put Apple on the map and ahead of the computer game was “Think Different.” The outcome, of course, is that it makes innovative tools that have literally changed the way we live. Great leaders are constantly communicating what they are doing, and why it matters.
Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
Success requires that you are constantly producing excellence in all that you do. When losses occur, determine what lacked excellence and fix it. If Lombardi is correct, and his record gives him credibility, then success will not happen in a singular moment, but in a continuous effort of achieving the best—excellence. Inspire yourself to continually improve, helping your business and your team consistently excel.
These four business values will not make sense if they do not first draw inspiration from you. Be you. Define your business as you define yourself, and let it existentially develop you in the process. That will keep you intact. And inspired.