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Character Traits of a Successful Fastlaner

AndrewNC

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After being on this forum for six years, building my own business, and helping many newer forum members get started in building their businesses; I started to see a lot of common patterns between what makes some of us successful while other ones say they want to build a business; but they never go on to actually do it.

And this area of entrepreneurship has nothing to do with business ideas, marketing advice, sales strategies, or anything like that. That's a necessary skill in itself - which can be learned by reading any of the GOLD threads on this forum - but it's the character traits which can be the make or break factor between if you're going to be successful next month, next year, or never.

Character Trait #1 - Initiative

For my publishing company, I write a number of books on topics from entrepreneurship, stress-management and mindfulness, relationships, health, and spirituality.

For promotion purposes, I now like to co-author with someone who has subject-matter expertise, and a passion for the topic we write about. My health book is being written with Alyssa - A healthy eating/nutritionalist/shares the same views on life and diet as I do. I will do the bulk of the writing and she will promote the book through the growth of her brand. Alyssa makes the perfect co-author for this book with her experience helping people eat healthy (she helped me personally first - that's why I am writing this book with her).

Be careful who you choose to learn from...even if they are an (actual) expert.

When all of these are out, I'm going to publish a book on Motivation.

I know just the right person to co-author this book with. She is the one who helped me unlock a type of motivation that I never knew existed within myself. The type where I would wake up at 6:30 a.m. and climb a mountain in the Colorado Rocky Mountains for 4 hours every morning for 3 months straight, even in the middle of hail and thunderstorms.

So I just thought about reaching out to her about teaming up and sharing both our experiences on being motivated through a book we could write together.

At first appearance, she is the most motivated person I know - She is studying to get a doctorate degree, working two jobs, and still takes the time very day to be in the best shape she can be - running half marathons at least once a month.

But then I started to realize something....

Is she really that motivated in the type of way that could help entrepreneurs and people on this journey to self-made success (aspiring singers, actors, athletes, you name it)? And the answer is no...

Her form of motivation (focusing on her schooling specifically) wouldn't do anything to teach people in our shoes to be more motivated. Yes, she studies harder and performs better in school - working harder than some of the '14 hour per day entrepreneurs' that I know.

But...this is where the problem comes in

With her schooling - she has a school system/teachers that outline the exact steps for her...if she doesn't keep on track, she'll feel the immediate pain of failing tests and within 3-4 months, failing a semester.

She is motivated by a motivation system that has been put in place to motivate the masses (read:slowlaners).

The one thing they don't instill in people through that motivation system is initiative. At least not the type of initiative that we need to be successful as entrepreneurs. She gets rewarded for just doing enough, and then back to waiting for the next assignment, the next orders to follow, waiting for someone else to tell her what to do.

The reason why there are so many people on this forum who procrastinated in the past is because they were accustomed to following that system for their motivation. You're don't get grades as entrepreneurs, and unless you have $2,000-$5,000 to fork over for an experienced business coach - or if you really stand out as someone who is dedicated, you're not going to have a mentor who will give you those directions and show you the way.

So taking that aside, you're going to have to learn how to take the initiative by yourself.

I'm helping one member of this forum build a business right now - He gets home from work right away, and immediately gets to work, accomplishing one task after another, facing some small setbacks; but quickly pushes through them. No procrastination at all.

He has the initiative to go out and do things that he aren't certain that will work or not. And he is building a great business that is already making sales because of it.

The reason for this is because he has his own internal motivation system in place.

Then I reflected back on the slow transformations I made when I was in his shoes...

I grew up in the same school system as the girl I was talking about before...I was conditioned to follow orders. If no orders were given...I wouldn't do anything. I would sit around thinking about what I would have to do next, for months on end...

I never realized how much time is a killer when you sit around and waste it; so I wasted two years of it browsing these forums and dreaming of wanting to be an entrepreneur. Two years down the drain by not learning how to take the initiative and not learning how to develop my own internal motivation system.

So I spent my night really thinking about what it takes to develop this initiative on our own. So we can go out there and take more action, instead of sitting around for months on end in haze...

For many people reading this, simply by reading this article - they will see something that never thought about before - and they will just do it.

For the first-time entrepreneurs on this forum, success in entrepreneurship isn't something that could be merely taught. It's very helpful to learn from the right training programs and hiring the right coaches...

But information alone isn't enough.

From my experience doing this for 6 years, I've really learned that it's developing these character traits and really acting with these qualities (instead of just learning about it in the mind), which could be the make or break difference between someone being successful or not.

In this first post in this thread, it is simply realizing that the motivation system that you've been conditioned to follow (blindly) in the past is not effective anymore....and it's time to learn how to develop your own internal motivation system.

TL;DR - Making the transition from employee to entrepreneur (for many of us), it is important to realize that the education system conditions us to follow orders and they have motivational systems of pain and pleasure built into them. When you take those systems and 'taking orders' away...it leaves many first time entrepreneurs waiting for someone telling them what to do, not making progress because the motivation systems (fail out of semester/get an A on the test) aren't here anymore...
  • Are you the type of entrepreneur who has the INITIATIVE to try new things, unsure where they will lead?
  • Do you have your own internal (or external) motivation system in place so you actually do the work?
In the next post I make on this thread, I'll talk bout my own experience developing this internal motivation system.
 

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AndrewNC

AndrewNC

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Before we talk about developing your own internal motivation system, let me quickly talk about an external motivation system (and why they are only semi-effective).

Back in 2013, I moved into a Scottsdale, AZ apartment with two other fastlaners, we used to rely a lot on external motivation systems.

This came in the form of accountability groups (Skype calls/meetings once a week with specific weekly goals that had to be done), and writing each other $100 checks. I would hand one of the other guys a check, and say "If I didn't finish designing the cover for my magazine by tonight, you get to cash this." Losing $100 was painful so by doing this on a regular basis, we kind of forced ourselves to get to work this way...

project scottsdale.jpg

But once the rug was pulled out under us (they moved to New Mexico in 2014 and I moved to Boulder, CO), the accountability group ended and for a large part - so was the motivation (speaking for myself at least - not them). The reason for this is because I became reliant on an external motivation system, which is less effective than an internal one - because someone or something else has to do its' part before you are motivated. When the group was gone, so was the motivation

Other examples of external motivation systems: Going homeless when you run out of money for example is an excellent way to motivate a self-employed business owner to start being more motivated again. Or if you've been procrastinating on updating your website's security software---getting hacked by people who delete all of your files one day is another external motivator that will get you to do the things you need to do.

So there are a lot of reasons why this external motivation system has many benefits compared to none at all...but is still largely ineffective if you're trying to build the initiative to grow quickly on your own.

When you are internally motivated, you are in control.

How to develop an internal motivation system.
This all really boils down to your individual psychology.

The best way to learn this is to strip away the content and look at the deeper level/structure of it. A lot of work I do is the deeper psychology stuff that most people don't look at - but what I found from my experience is that the deeper changes is where the actual, quick changes take place. Other people keep to their old habits and old ways by floating around the surface..

Dig deeper...

For example: I have a friend who is motivated in the following way.... If he fails with his business, he will have a certain self-image about himself (I am a disappointment to my family). "I have to make my family proud with my decision because I dropped out senior year after they paid for college for an engineering degree."

While it might be easy to get distracted by the specifics of his story (family/school/etc.), when you look at it a little deeper, the real motivating factor is: the self-image about himself if _____ happens (if he fails). The pain from the self-image and disappointment from his parents. The image and the feelings are all that matter here...

He is motivated to work hard because he doesn't want to look a certain way to other people if he doesn't succeed. So that right there is his internal motivating system. Because he has that set, it results in actually taking action.

It's reasons like this where the "just do it" is ineffective advice, and doesn't work for most people who struggle with internal motivation...

How do you determine YOUR internal motivation system?

For me, I never really took the time to really understand my internal motivation system until recently...

Since moving back to Boulder, I've been climbing a mountain every morning and in the first month, I lost 31 pounds. I climb a very specific mountain...I didn't know why at first - it just was the most motivating for me. I somehow stumbled upon natural motivation (which means I was motivated and didn't know why - there is always a reason why we are motivated)....

So I thought about it some more...

I was motivated to climb this difficult mountain every morning because I fell in love with a women who I used to hike that mountain with last year - and then we completely lost contact out of nowhere. My desire to see her is so strong, that I will climb that mountain every single morning if even for the slightest chance of re-connecting with her. From a relationship standpoint, that sounds creepy AF....

But I already lost 31 pounds this month.

In another three weeks, I'll be down to 190, the goal weight of where I was last year. I lost a lot of weight last year (when she was in my life), and then when she started dating someone and I traveled to Europe - my fitness motivation was gone - so I stopped working out.

I stopped working out because I didn't know what my internal motivation system was.

Now that I recognize what my internal motivation system is, I'm able to keep it in place and make use out of it. I naturally am motivated to workout every morning.

When I begin traveling the world again...I'll have this understanding of how to develop a new internal motivation system for my fitness, because I'm sure I wont bump into her at the top of the Swiss Alps.

Motivation systems are contextual...so it's important to understand a lot about them as well as the context you apply it.

That works for my fitness, but what about my business? It's not like I'll have an office set up on top of Mount Sanitas where I can sit and do work for 14 hours a day waiting for her...

mount sanitas.jpg
Joking aside...

Strip away the content - I'm pretty certain the whole time you're caught up on my story about chasing a women up mountains and writing books...

My internal motivation system for the fitness was to:
  1. Place something I wanted more than anything in the world (be with someone you love/travel the world/quit the job/buy the Lamborghini/etc.),
  2. Directly on the other side of the uncomfortable task I need to take (climbing the hardest mountain in the city every morning for the entire month, writing a book, the facebook ads campaign, the cold calls for your business), and
  3. Believe that completing this task will get me the thing I want more than anything in the world.
That is my internal motivation strategy.

You can strip away the content, and focus on the strategy....

BUT - it's going to be different for you.

For my friend, it's the feelings he'll get of disappointment from his parents attached to the self image.

The key to discover yours is to look deeper: What you might imagine happening if you fail, some feeling you're going towards (or away from), something someone says to you, or what you might tell yourself/thoughts you might have.

Think in terms of thoughts, sounds, feelings, and images that go through your mind - the brain processes information through the senses - not the content.

Deconstruct it for something you're already motivated to do in life (you see yourself eat pizza for lunch because it feels good when you eat it), or take it from relationships/fitness/health - and apply that internal motivation system to your business.

I guarantee when you find out what it is - you'll never struggle to make rapid progress ever again.

And for those of us who are already motivated - understanding how yours works gives you more control of increasing your motivation even more...
 

SvvyDO

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This is awesome stuff. I'm always interested in how other's do things to compare.

Everyone has different things they want and need, and their own internal motivational system is no different.

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

I myself use time. Time + work = success in any area. The more work, is the less time it takes to get there. And TBH time is F*cking short so you better start now. Or you'll be thinking back years from now and by then it'll be too late :innocent: :halo:
 

MJ DeMarco

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The one thing they don't instill in people through that motivation system is initiative. At least not the type of initiative that we need to be successful as entrepreneurs. She gets rewarded for just doing enough, and then back to waiting for the next assignment, the next orders to follow, waiting for someone else to tell her what to do.

The reason why there are so many people on this forum who procrastinated in the past is because they were accustomed to following that system for their motivation. You're don't get grades as entrepreneurs, and unless you have $2,000-$5,000 to fork over for an experienced business coach - or if you really stand out as someone who is dedicated, you're not going to have a mentor who will give you those directions and show you the way.
Awesome insight Andrew. I really never thought of it this way.

As entrepreneurs, we have no external systems to spark motivation. Not test scores, no due dates, no grades, no paycheck...

The only primary systems we can leverage as entrepreneurs are customer feedback and sales. Secondary, partners, investors, and employees.

So I spent my night really thinking about what it takes to develop this initiative on our own. So we can go out there and take more action, instead of sitting around for months on end in haze...
Ultimately we must be driven by a purpose and a meaning, no matter if it is shallow, or honorable.

Someone can be motivated by a Lambo.

Others can be motivated by genuine altruism.

What matters as you say, is initiative, to get started when no system exists to say "get started."
 

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