Eight tips to maintaining passion and energy for your business

After the initial burst of enthusiasm subsides, start-up entrepreneurs can find it difficult to maintain passion and energy for their business: these strategies can help.

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You need to regularly recharge your energy and passion to survive in a new venture today.

Business owners routinely jump into a new venture with a full charge of passion and energy but often find themselves drained of both after a few months, by the workload and challenges. As a result, burnout and loss of passion are consistently listed among the top causes of venture failure, according to many experts. The challenge is to find ways to continually recharge along the way.

Of course, this same challenge extends well beyond new businesses, into all walks of life and work. I found some great insights in the classic book Are You Fully Charged? by human-relations expert and bestselling author Tom Rath, which explains the three keys to energizing all your life pursuits. These keys are meaning, interactions and energy.

Based on my experience working with early-stage start-ups, I agree with Guy Kawasaki that those business founders who set out to make meaning in the world (a positive change) create the companies that will most likely be successful. I have paraphrased Rath's eight recommendations on making meaning as key focus principles that every business professional should take to heart:

1. Create meaning with small wins. Celebrate small wins by asking yourself what you can do today to make a difference. Real meaning is made up of many small differences, such as a design breakthrough, a new business model, a truly satisfied customer or an excited team member. Take a moment to enjoy each of these and get recharged.

2. Pursue life and meaning, as well as a solution. Finding meaning is driven from within, through new learning and overcoming challenges. Every new venture has a wealth of these opportunities. Successful founders often admit that they enjoyed the journey more than the destination. Meaning doesn’t happen to you — you create it. Don't wait.

3. Make your startup a purpose, not just a business. Strive to see the work you do to build a business as the way to make a difference in the world. Make sure your team understands your shared mission, meaning and purpose. Making meaning makes your life — and the lives of others — stronger, as a product of your efforts.

4. Find a higher calling than cash. Happiness does not scale up with income. Studies show that doubling your income might increase happiness by only 10%. In addition, focusing first on money will kill meaning. The more you focus your efforts on others, the easier it is to do great work without being dependent on money, power or fame.

5. Ask what the world needs. You create meaning when your strengths and interests meet the needs of the world. One of the rightful critiques of all the "follow your passion" advice is that it presumes you are the centre of the universe. A better way is to explore the most pressing needs in your social circles, organization and the worldwide community.

6. Don't fall into the dreams of others. If you walk only in the path of others, your own image disappears. Be sure you create your own shadow, spending some time each day engaging in activities that energize and recharge you. Also, plan to spend more time around specific people who energize your work and less around those who don't.

7. Take the initiative to shape the future. If you want to make meaning in the world, your ability to do so will be almost directly proportional to the amount of time you spend initiating instead of responding. Being busy is often the antithesis of working on what matters most. Usually, you have to focus on less to do more.

8. Work in bursts, paired with time to recharge. This can mean focus for 45 minutes, followed by a break for 15 minutes. Short breaks allow you to refresh yourself and work with purpose. Try to remind yourself daily why you do what you do and if you don't like what you hear, it's time to change to something that has more meaning for you.

This article was written by Martin Zwilling from Inc. and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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