How business owners can stay motivated in a pandemic

The silver lining to this dilemma is that you don’t necessarily need to seek motivation somewhere else

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One of the hardest challenges business owners face is staying motivated. That is even more difficult during a pandemic.

With the Covid-19 crisis stretching for longer than many of us expected, and some industry sectors facing an uncertain future, it is no surprising that a number of friends decided to slow down their business operations and wait the pandemic out.

But what if you can’t afford to wait for the pandemic to pass? What if your livelihood depended on your business?

Trying to stay motivated and maintaining a positive outlook can be emotionally draining. I can’t recall the number of times I didn’t want to get out of bed at the onset of the pandemic and felt like I had run out of creative energy and motivation to do anything work related. If you are managing a team, you probably know how hard it is to remain upbeat when you are worried. You represent your business and if you are demotivated, so would they be.

The silver lining to this dilemma is that you don’t necessarily need to seek motivation somewhere else. It is within you, and you could untap it by following simple strategies. Here are a few that worked well for me the past few months and helped me stay motivated and creative.

Remember why you did it in the first place. We all had a specific reason or reasons for why we started a business. We may have wanted to create a better world for future generations, or simply wanted to improve our income to afford all the nice things we wanted. Whatever the reason(s) remember why you started, your business's purpose and vision. If you don't have an outlined vision, or purpose for your business yet, now is the time

to do that. Develop a purpose that motivates you to get up in the morning and drives you to excel in every task you manage. Break down that purpose into smaller yearly, or quarterly goals that could help you stay focused.

Be motivated by motivating others. I always believe that whatever good you do; it will come back to you in multiples. That is why I often feel motivated myself when I help inspire a friend or colleague. Speak with a friend who always wanted to pursue a hobby or a dream and encourage them to use their free time now. Having these conversations can be uplifting to them and fulfilling to you.

Plan for your dose of motivation. Though I strongly believe that motivation is an inside job, it does not hurt to plan for doses of it throughout the day. You could start your day by reading or listening to a success story of a business in challenging times or read a motivational quote every morning. I personally like to start my day by reading an article about a successful entrepreneur or venture. It uplifts me and gets my creative juices flowing.

Find motivation in new areas. Sticking to a routine has its advantages. It can help you stay focused, but it could also demotivate you. How will you be inspired by doing the same thing without pushing your boundaries? ­­It is often new ideas, new places, and new perspectives that motivate us and help us think in innovative ways. Simple changes to my routine such as working in the garden early in the evening when the weather cools down, excited me about my day. You can also drive down a road you don't usually take, read a book you wouldn't normally choose. I'm glass painting during my free time now, learning as I go and I find the process both inspiring and exciting.

When facing uncertainty, having a purpose, motivating others, spicing things up are simple yet effective ways to help one stay motivated and driven during these difficult times.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi