If the grind of working from home has ground down your remaining stores of motivation, you aren't alone. Though remote working situations (and the positive benefits of them) aren't new, the unprecedented layers of additional stress from the global pandemic can push you to your limits. Right now, you may need to actively work for your creativity, productivity, and overall chutzpah that's required to do what you do best: innovate, and create value where there was none before.
Here are three ways to replenish your entrepreneurial motivation, and get back to a productive flow even while working from home.
1. Believe the Hype of Adrenaline
"Hype," for me, has long been associated with adrenaline, and the quickest, safest rush of adrenaline is also the longest-ingrained in my physical and emotional muscles: a burst of exercise that activates multiple parts of my body and rushes the breath through my lungs. Immediately afterward, I'm hyped up. Literally. Juices are flowing, if only at first in the form of sweat on my face.
I believe in the hype of adrenaline as a motivator, particularly when it's initiated through physical exercise. That exercise is a reminder of what our bodies are capable of doing at the mental and physical levels. I feel gratitude afterward for those capabilities of the body, which segues easily to a less-stressful state of mind, which puts me back into a place of openness and creativity.
With shelter-in-place regulations easing little by little, more of us will be able to stretch our legs (literally) in outdoor, open spaces at safe distances. That will help. In the meantime, experiment with old-fashioned core exercises like plank pose, Army push-ups, and burpees. They do the trick for me, every time.
2. Meditate for Just 10 to 12 Minutes
This classic post from Harvard Business Review shows how mindfulness meditation works to enhance creativity and innovation: It boosts resilience, mitigates stress, regulates emotions, and shifts our mindset to a more positive outlook so that we rebound better from setbacks. As little as 10 to 12 minutes at a time makes a noticeable difference, even when we're simply sitting still, closing our eyes, and breathing more intentionally.
For a deeper dive, and to add to your toolkit, explore different techniques and refine the method that works best for you. For example, a special technique called RAIN is even geared toward managing the overload so many of us are feeling right now.
Let's be honest. Meditation isn't going to make any of the current stresses go away, but it can help to manage them. Which can mean getting back to a place of feeling more like our motivated selves.
3. Expand Your Horizons, Mindfully
Now is the time to expand your interests and find inspiration in new places. As an example, the wine industry is my home base as an entrepreneur, and I can honestly say that there has never been a better time for consumers to get into wine's pleasurable flow. From virtual tastings by well-respected (and temporarily furloughed) restaurant sommeliers, to winemakers taking their video cameras into the vineyards to offer fresh perspectives, to educators offering an abundance of online or distance learning options, the sharing of wine is having a moment.
I'm biased, of course, but seeing the world through the lens of a wine glass is one of the most grounding, refreshing, and enjoyable experiences of my life. Every bottle has a different story, and the more you experiment, you also see that every glass and sometimes every sip offers a fresh perspective. When enjoyed mindfully, with a respectful awareness of the labor and the hands and the natural processes that have brought it to your table, wine has the capacity to inspire.
Leaders, including Steve Jobs, understand and cultivate the link between inspiration and motivation to innovate.
Let yourself be inspired by the entrepreneurship we're seeing throughout the wine, tourism, and hospitality businesses right now. Few industries are being hit as hard by Covid-19, or are reacting as creatively and entrepreneurially to its restrictions. It's a long road ahead, but witnessing their spirit of motivation despite the odds translates, to me, as a motivator in itself.