We've all seen - and even admired - those entrepreneurs who seem to possess superhuman powers. Their determination never falters, and nothing appears impossible for them.
What's the secret to their amazing success?
Are they unstoppable entrepreneurs with magic powers?
The truth is that they're not that different from the rest of us, and you can be like them if you want. You too can be a human dynamo of productivity with incredible willpower.
Here are the traits these high achievers possess. Follow their example and see yourself achieve more.
Treat it like a muscle
Studies by the American Psychological Association have shown that willpower is like a muscle.
That's why determined individuals treat their brains like the rest of their body, and exercise it accordingly. They don't just take time to work on their abs, but also schedule in some much-needed mental exercises. A great starting point is to ask for constructive criticism from your employees--it will not only strengthen your resolve, but also boosts your success and creativity.
On the other hand, anyone who has attempted a tough workout can also attest that our muscles get really, really, sore after being pushed to the limit. That's why determined entrepreneurs also pencil in the intellectual equivalent of a rest day--or "me time"--to give their mental muscles time to recuperate.
Passion isn't enough
Don't color me wrong, passion is vital. In fact, the hunger to make a positive difference is what gets me out of bed, even on the worst of mornings.
However, the cold hard truth is that all the passion in the world isn't enough to turn your dreams into realities. Don't believe me? A Harvard Business Review study found that preparation actually trumps passion when it comes to succeeding in business.
Successful entrepreneurs know that preparation is the key for preserving their willpower for the long-run. They're passionate enough to take on everything at a million miles a minute, but also have the sense to take a breather first and "create plans for overcoming obstacles and exploiting contingencies."
It's something you should keep in mind when you're working on that next passion project or inspirational venture. It's great to be excited, but you need to keep that flame flickering with a solid business plan and account for road bumps along the way.
Focus, the right way
"I don't focus on what I'm up against," Venus Williams once said. "I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest."
Come game time, it doesn't do Williams any good to constantly dwell on how talented her opponent is. So, after preparing as much as possible, she clears her head and just focuses on making each shot. Victory then arrives as easily as her devastating backhand.
Entrepreneurs should do the same thing. You'll be on an entrepreneurial treadmill if you're constantly worrying about the uphill battles. Personally, I know I'd never get anywhere if my mind just focused on the difficulties I faced.
A great way to avoid this: break those "insurmountable" projects up into little chunks, and put all your mental energy into completing them. No matter what, keep the big picture in mind, but stay dedicated by focusing on the little victories, instead of the major challenges.
The renowned virtuoso of productivity Tim Ferris once confessed, "I value self-discipline, but creating systems that make it next to impossible to misbehave is more reliable than self-control."
He's right--even if you possess the self-discipline of a Buddhist monk, you're bound to have off-days where this determination leaks away like water out of a broken faucet.
That's why I have systems in place for those days when I "misbehave", and you should too. To great success, I've utilized task management systems to track everything I need to do and prioritize. That way, when I'm having an off-day, nothing falls to the wayside.
Remember, if you're facing waning willpower, you need to reinforce your efforts by developing procedures, processes, and a schedule to keep you on track.
Patience makes perfect
We live in an age of immediate gratification, fast food, and instant information overload.
And in the world of entrepreneurship, everything needs to be done yesterday, and lightning fast isn't quick enough.
But if you constantly apply this fast-paced mentality to willpower, you'll have a recipe for disaster. As Napoleon Hill once said, "Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success."
My team works at an incredibly fast pace at LexION Capital, but I also make sure they set realistic deadlines to reinforce their willpower. When a project isn't keeping up with our fast-paced culture, we meet to determine what's holding the project back, and adjust accordingly. Instead of shoving deadlines down your team's throat, you should keep them dedicated to high quality work by doing something similar.
In the big picture sense, you should also realize that overnight success is a myth. So use these traits to stay determined, and you can achieve anything eventually.
How do you stay determined? I want to hear from you!