Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. On some days, you will feel invincible. On other days, you will struggle. It’s the nature of the game. Just ask any entrepreneur.
Successful entrepreneurs have two things in common. The first thing they all have in common is persistence. It has been a well-known fact that entrepreneurs need to have persistence. You’ve heard stories about Dr. Seuss getting denied by dozens of publishers, Steve Jobs getting kicked out of Apple, and Mark Cuban hunting for any job he could find before he became a full-time entrepreneur.
The other thing successful entrepreneurs have in common doesn’t get as much attention. Some people refer to this second thing as following your passion. To be more specific, it’s joy. Entrepreneurs enjoy what they do.
Successful entrepreneurs enjoy their work so much that they couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Asked whether they want to do their work today or hang out with Taylor Swift, all entrepreneurs choose their work (okay fine, that one was a big stretch. I’m shutting down my computer if I had the option).
At some point, the road to success will challenge our foundation. Our enjoyment will be put to the test. For some entrepreneurs in the thick of the road, work that was enjoyable for several weeks may suddenly appear as dull and boring.
The work doesn’t suddenly look dull and boring. The problem is a lack of joy that once existed. Each time you reclaim your joy, you’ll love your work again. Throughout my journey, I discovered that I perform at my best over a long period of time when my joy does not elude me.
With joy, there’s no reason to feel bad about yourself and focus on the shortcomings. Regardless of whether you feel joyful now or disappointed with where you are, you need a bullet-proof system that ensures joy.
Here’s what I have been able to come up with:
#1: Write Down All Of The Things You Accomplished In The Past Five Years
One of the biggest reasons people lose their joy is because they look into the ideal future too much. We focus more on the next milestone than the recently surpassed milestone.
For a long time, that was me. When I got my first 100,000 Twitter followers, I was ecstatic. When I surpassed 110,000 Twitter followers, I focused on surpassing 200,000 Twitter followers some day.
It’s good to set big goals for yourself. However, we rarely stop and take some time to acknowledge what we have already accomplished. We rarely take the time to stop and smell the roses. Maybe we should listen to the Travelocity gnome more often!
The first time I did this activity, I realized how much I had accomplished in the past five years. Writing all of the accomplishments between my 12th birthday and a few months after my 17th birthday allowed me to realize what I had accomplished.
I stopped and smelled the roses. And it was enjoyable. Every day, I look at this list of accomplishments, and it reminds me to enjoy my work. On this list, I did not write any of my shortcomings. I only focused on my accomplishments.
#2: Listen To A Favorite Song
There are certain songs, that no matter how many times I listen to them, I still enjoy them. And they make me happy. I’ve listened to some of these songs at the end of rough days. After listening to those songs, I always go to bed happy.
You need to create a list of songs that you would play to get you through a rough patch. The problem with rough patches is that when they are unattended, those patches turn into ditches. When you feel your joy slowly slipping away, play some of your favorite songs.
And don’t rely on the radio to play your favorite song. I look for the YouTube videos of my favorite songs and listen to them that way. Listening to your favorite songs will also help you during workouts. Speaking of workouts…
#3: Workout Every Day
Before I talk about working out, I want to clear one major point of concern. You don’t have to work as hard as LeBron James to get your joy back. Both a simple 5-10 minutes of stretching and shooting a basketball for a few hours will boost your joy. If you want to become a basketball player though, opt for the latter.
I make it a point to run for an hour on most days. If I don’t run, I am shooting the basketball around and chasing my rebounds with the occasional hot streak. When I return from a workout, I feel happier and more energized. Numerous scientific studies confirm that working out releases chemicals within our bodies that make us happier.
When we lose the joy of working, the last thing you should do at that moment is continue working. Many people decide to trudge through the work just to get it done. This is the worst way to approach your work. The work that matters is more than a task on your to-do list.
In my experience, the best way to release stress is by working out. When I run, I’ll take my iPhone with me so I can listen to my favorite songs.
#4: Break Loose From The Workload
Working out is a temporary fix to breaking loose from the workload. Breaking loose from the workload requires you taking a vacation from your work (minimum of one week). Entrepreneurs don’t become successful because they work 24/7.
And yet most people believe working 24/7 is an integral part of the process. You’ll hear entrepreneurs joke that they were working 25/8 or that we give up the 40 hour/week job so we can work 80 hours every week.
While it’s true entrepreneurs need to put in a lot of work, too much work can hurt. If you put in too much work, your productivity will diminish over time. If you work too long, you become less productive.
Even the super humans need breaks. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, is one of the most productive people on the planet. When she worked for Google, she worked for close to 130 hours every week. That’s not a typo. It comes to a little over 18 and a half hours per day. She’s a super human.
But even Marissa Mayer believes in occasionally breaking loose from the workload. Every four months, she will take a one week vacation and get away from the workload. You should do the same. Just take a week off. Start outsourcing some of the work so your business can function without you.
You need to break loose every once in a while. You deserve it.
#5: Eat Salmon (Or Any Meal Proven To Increase Happiness)
The food we eat impacts our happiness. For the carnivores reading this blog post, do you feel happier eating a giant piece of steak or a bowl of peas? Unless you are a vegetarian, you’d probably opt for the steak.
According to science, eating some foods make us feel happier than eating other foods. There are several articles that talk about this topic and list different foods that make us happier. After reading a bunch of these articles, I discovered to my delight that one meal found its way on virtually every list.
I am the only person in my family who likes salmon. All of the salmon that enters my house is guaranteed to end up on my plate. Thinking about it now makes me salivate the taste and the (in my opinion) fresh smell.
I know if I said this at an event, some people would stand up, say salmon tastes disgusting, and complain about the smell.
Luckily, salmon isn’t the only food that boosts happiness. Fruits, vegetables, and green tea are some of the other options. Being more conscious of what ends up on your plate will allow you to live a happier, healthier life.
Entrepreneurship is a challenging road filled with twists and turns. Some twists and turns will lead to dead ends and detours. However, at the end of the road is a massive treasure chest waiting for you. Going on the right path requires constant joy in what you do. When you find yourself going off-track, pause and reflect. Bring the joy back. Then continue on the right path.
Which of these tips did you like the most? Have any additional tips for boosting and preserving joy? Sound off in the comments section now!