It’s no secret that millennials are a different breed. We have divergent values, goals, habits, and communication styles from any generation before us -- differences that have been statistically proven by nationwide studies.
That said, there’s tons of tips out there for staying motivated while getting a startup off the ground, but very few of these resources focus on the millennial. In this article, we’ll go over the top 5 most effective ways to stay productive and motivated as a millennial startup founder. Enjoy!
1. Don't Compare Yourself to Others
Two words: social media. While many things can provoke the self-comparison cycle, social media is the #1 trigger for millennials.
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. LinkedIn. All of these platforms allow folks to share their proudest accomplishments with the world, and this can result in a very skewed image of ourselves and our peers. We’ve all heard this before, but somehow most of us still end up tumbling down the endless social media rabbithole of self-comparison on a regular basis -- often without even being aware of it.
While getting your startup off the ground, you may feel like a fish out of water. It might seem like things aren’t moving fast enough, or that you lack the skill-set to achieve everything you’re set out to do -- and engaging with social media can make those feelings of self-doubt even more intense.
In order to stay motivated and self-assured, stop Facebook-stalking your old roommate who’s making six-figures straight out of college and start focusing on the unique strengths you bring to the table. After all, someone else is probably looking at your social media page and wishing they’d accomplished as much as you!
2. Pay Attention to Your Personal Wellness
As a millennial startup founder, the hustle is incredibly important, but so are your mental and physical well-being. If you push too hard and ignore your health for too long, you’re going to end up burning out -- and a burnout will set you back way further than an hour-long nap.
While Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers had a greater willingness to compromise their well-being in pursuit of their professional goals, millennials seem to have learned from them that this is not a sustainable way of life.
If you’re so focused on the needs of the business that you’re failing to eat, sleep, spend quality time with loved ones, and engage in any other activities that are important to your well-being -- it’s time to make some adjustments in your life. Trust us, you’ll get a lot further a lot faster if you’re feeling happy and fulfilled in your work.
3. Set Daily and/or Weekly Goals
As a startup founder, you are your own boss. That means it’s up to you to keep yourself motivated, engaged, and on-track with your objectives.
In their 2016 study on millennial workers, Gallup discovered that millennials who meet with their managers on at least a weekly basis are over twice as likely to be engaged in their work. They also found that millennials respond better to ongoing conversations and consistent feedback than quarterly/annual performance reviews -- which makes sense given the way that we communicate in our day-to-day lives, right?
So, in order to keep yourself feeling engaged and fulfilled by your work, try setting measurable daily and/or weekly goals for yourself. This will help you figure out what you’re actually capable of accomplishing in a given day or week and allow you to assess your own performance over time. Plus, you’ll get that super-rewarding feeling of accomplishment when you end the week with checkmarks next to everything on your to-do list!
4. Focus on Your Strengths
Ok, now this one is essential -- and luckily, it’s something you may already be doing instinctively. Check out this short excerpt from Gallup’s report:
“Gallup has discovered that weaknesses never develop into strengths, while strengths develop infinitely... We are recommending our client partners transition to strengths-based cultures, or they won’t attract and keep their stars."
They also found that this practice comes naturally to millennial workers -- for the most part, millennials don’t really want to fix their weaknesses, but rather develop their strengths.
So, if you’re not doing this already, it’s time to start! Again, as your own boss, it’s up to you to keep yourself happy and engaged at work. By focusing on what you’re great at rather than kicking yourself over every task that doesn’t align with your skill-set, you’ll maintain an upward trajectory in your work and well-being.
This isn’t to say you should completely ignore your weaknesses -- it’s actually critical to be aware of what they are. That way you’ll know exactly what strengths to be on the lookout for in potential partners, mentors, or employees. No shame necessary!
5. Remember Your Purpose
It’s easy to get so caught up in the logistics of launching and running a business that you forget the actual purpose of what you’re doing. One of Gallup’s most important findings was that millennials don’t work for a paycheck -- they work for a purpose.
This is especially true for millennial startup founders like you. You found a purpose that felt so worthwhile you were willing to drop everything and commit to it -- and it’s essential to keep that purpose at the heart of your work.
Without purpose, we lose interest and the quality of our work suffers. When you’re feeling unmotivated, doubtful or overwhelmed, spend some time meditating on the purpose behind what you’re doing. This will also help you draw in millennial partners, employees and clientele who share a passion for your mission!
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