23 Entrepreneurs Explain Their Motivation or if ‘Motivation is Garbage’

Every Monday we have our Monday Morning Motivation. This week is a little different. Instead of having a motivational video or quote, we asked entrepreneurs what they believe helps them stay motivated or if motivation is even a real thing like Mel Robbins said.

#1 – Motivation is Garbage

Image Credit: Will Mitchell

I believe that motivation is garbage. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't circumstances in which motivation can be helpful but motivation for it's own sake is garbage. What enables you to do things that other people can't is obsession with seeing a difference in the world no matter how small. Your Why has to be bigger than any obstacle you might run into. Wanting to change the lives of anyone you come in contact with by providing the most amount of value possible is more powerful than motivation. Wanting to change the world so bad that you need to pushyourself to improve a little bit every single day is a more powerful driving force. The desire for improving your skills everyday because you forced it to be the measuring stick by which your business either grows or fails is better than motivation because it's tangible.

Thanks to Will Mitchell, StartupBros!

#2 – Motivation is Everything

Image Credit: Amber Kelsey

Motivation is everything. I believe you need motivation to succeed at anything in life, especially as an entrepreneur. Motivation is what drives you, it is what keeps you pushing and going for those goals you have set for yourself. Motivation is what gives you the follow through and courage to be consistent even when the road is tough. Without motivation you stop going for your dreams. As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to lose motivation when you don't see the results you're looking for right away. Here's what I do when my motivation starts to dwindle: (1) I connect to my why (why do I really want to do what I'm doing, etc). (2) Read an inspiring book on business success, positive mindset or others success stories. (3) Listen to an uplifting podcast. (4) Connect with my fellow entrepreneur friends or mastermind group to get the encouragement I need to keep going. (5) Reach out, help others and encourage them. It has a nice side effect of giving you motivation as well.

Thanks to Amber Kelsey!

#3 – Positive Attitude

Image Credit: Grainne Kelly

To stay motivated, maintain a positive attitude. This is essential for success. Energy is the fuel that feeds our attitude and it needs to be replenished on a daily basis. Having a positive attitude is a conscious choice, so when negative thoughts creep in, stop them in their tracks and replace them with positive self-talk. Repeat words or phrases that focus on affirming truths about you. Surround yourself with like-minded women who are an inspiration and who will provide encouragement. Positivity allows you to see the potential that lies within you and gives you the faith to step outside of the box to achieve your dreams. Also have a motto that you believe in and live by, as it will motivate you when the work gets difficult. The one question I always ask myself is: What is the worst that can happen? Every day, I also always tell myself: If you do things for the right reasons, only the right thing can happen. Do whatever it takes for as long as it takes. Finally, don't let no or an obstacle stop you. Adversity cultivates inner strength, so don't throw a pity party when life gets tough. Instead, look for the inner lessons to be learned and apply them to your life. Character isn’t born from an easy life– it is forged through pushing through trials and being persistent.

Thanks to Grainne Kelly, BubbleBum!

#4 – Social Cause

Image Credit: Muhittin Isler

My motivation as an entrepreneur is to make a dream come true similar as Martin Luther King, Jr. What is my dream? My dream is getting interaction with as many as possible entrepreneurs in the world. Understanding their obstacles and give them a hand. This takes me to number one obstacle entrepreneurs are facing, access to finance. Thus, I am working on a special bank called GBP Bank – The World’s First Bank for Entrepreneurs. There are lots of obstacles for example, my age (26), lack of experience in banking & finance, capital requirement, regulation, banking license, operational expenses and so on. There are lots of reasons for me to give up very easily. On the other hand, this bank could change lives of people, so, I stay with my idea and doing my best to make it come true.

Thanks to Muhittin Isler, GBP Bank!

#5 – Can't Be Taught

Image Credit: Airto Zamorano

You really can't teach someone to be motivated beyond what they have inside of them. For some people, they are motivated to work a basic schedule and earn enough to live a nice life. Entrepreneurs and business leaders have a different type of drive that comes from within – one that craves independence, and seeks more. For me, reminders of that drive are my family and the quality of life I hope to sustain. My motivation is also fueled by my hopes to one day retire and to be able to travel the world with my wife without financial restraints.

Thanks to Airto Zamorano, Numana SEO/Numana Medical!

#6 – Believe in Motivation

Image Credit: Svietlana Lavrentidi

I believe in motivation. I also believe that it can be difficult to stay motivated, specially when you are alone in what you do. That is one of the reasons I've started Entrepreneurial Women's Network 4 years ago. When you meet like-minded people and share your passion with each other, the motivation is on the rise and can stay with you for days, or even weeks if you keep in touch with other people. As human beings, even if we won't admit it, we do seek for approval of other people. And usually we listen to friends and family, who most times do not share the same passions. Therefore the best we can do is find like-minded people. The other way to stay motivated is to learn from people who made it. I've started a podcast this year, where I interview entrepreneurs and business owners and every time I have an interview I get very motivated. When I edit each episode and re-listen to it again, it motivates me. So find interviews with people who made it in your industry, learn about how they did it and follow the steps. As many other people I start and stop exercising and eating healthy and I found a way to motivate myself in that too. I joined some groups online, to see posted pictures of members who changed their body's, I follow a few fitness icons on Instagram and I've committed to regular exercise. Once you made it clear in your head that this is the only way, it becomes quite easy to stick to it and to find ways of motivating yourself. Quick recap: (1) Find a group with like-minded people and become a regular attendee, make friends. (2) Listen to interviews with people who has what you want to have. (3) Look for online groups and people to follow who can share their wisdom with you. The reality is – we are all very different and what works for me might not work for you. But once you are pretty damn serious about what you want to achieve, you will find your way to stay motivated.

Thanks to Svietlana Lavrentidi, Entrepreneurial Women's Network!

#7 – Huge Role

Image Credit: Brian Meiggs

As the owner of a personal finance website motivation does play a huge role my website's success. I stay positive by keeping around company that has similar aspirations. I search for entrepreneur or business Meetups in my city and attend those when I have availability. Another way to stay motivated is to be healthy in all facets of my life. This includes health, diet, sleep, exercise, relationships, and family time. It also doesn't hurt to listen to a motivational video here and there and a good self-help book does the trick too!

Thanks to Brian Meiggs, Millennial Money Guide!

#8 – Not Garbage

Image Credit: Adam Barker

I am the Co-Founder of a fitness tech startup, MagnaPass, that allows people to get access to independently run fitness classes and experiences. In a nutshell, motivation is not garbage. Motivation is inherently embedded in the entrepreneurs mindset and DNA; we essentially want to provide as much value and innovation to create a better world. There are of course times where you can feel demotivated – it's just a case of picking yourself up again, realize the larger goal and do something about it. Motivation is also sometimes depicted with being in a state of hyper-work and happiness, but a lot of the time it's just about getting the job done.

Thanks to Adam Barker, MagnaPass!

#9 – Every Leader/Entrepreneur Needs Motivation

Image Credit: Bruce Ailion

Every leader, entrepreneur need motivation. Meeting and networking with other leaders and entrepreneurs is critical to understand shared issues and challenges. I listen to quality speakers and programs to boost motivation. Staying away from toxic people that suck energy and kill ideas is important to maintaining motivation. Few understand the issues and pressures of running an organization. They say it is lonely at the top. In this respect, only others in similar positions understand what is it to be responsible for the direction of the organization, the vision of the future, the threats to your business, the livelihood of your vendors and employees.

Thanks to Bruce Ailion, ATL Investors, LLC!

#10 – Motivation is Key

Image Credit: Megan Zavieh

Far from garbage, motivation is key for anyone without a W-2 job and a boss expecting them at their desk every day. To get up and grab the bull by the horns in the morning – every morning – is tough. Positive motivation works best for me. I keep focused on where I want to go, what I want my life to look like, with my business at its core, driving my ability to work from anywhere, have enough cash to fund my children's educations and a wonderful lifestyle. Negative motivation in the form of fear of being broke, fear of having to give up my business and go work for someone else, does work but brings a terrible stress and knot in my stomach that I prefer to avoid, as that stress gets in the way of real productivity and progress.

Thanks to Megan Zavieh, Zavieh Law!

#11 – Motivation is Short-Lived

Image Credit: Antonio Calabrese

I believe that motivation is short-lived. Although motivation is the foundation for building habits, you need consistent motivation until you can develop a habit for long-term success. I begin by setting short-term, realistic goals. Add them to a habit building/goal setting app (I use Habits on Android) and focus on doing that one thing for 4 days out of the week. Then I move to 5, then 6, and so on. This strategy can be applied to business tasks, reading, fitness, or whatever else you're trying to build a habit for.

Thanks to Antonio Calabrese,​!

#12 – Scare Myself

Image Credit: Bryan Clayton

How I motivate myself to get things done and keep momentum is regularly scare myself… I close my eyes and fast forward 1 year. I think about a year from today and things looking exactly as they do right now. The realization that in a year's time my team and I have made little to no progress causes me to take action and also alleviates my fear of risk. I call it fast forwarding the story, and it always helped me have a bias towards action.

Thank to Bryan Clayton, GreenPal!

#13 – Screw Motivation – You Need Discipline

Image Credit: Paul Jarrett

Discipline is one of the most underrated and least mentioned topics when it comes to conversations about startups yet there are thousands of articles, pics and quotes on motivation. Maybe that’s because discipline is difficult where motivation is easy. Motivation is a daydream. Discipline is the day labor. Discipline is better than motivation and here’s why: Motivation is easy to find and lose. Motivation is selfish. When you wait around to be motivated, you’re saying, “I want some external force to compel me to accomplish a task.” Then, when you keep putting it off and binge some Netflix instead, the responsibility isn’t on you. The motivation wasn’t there and that’s an acceptable excuse. Discipline is different. Discipline gets shit done. It can be boring, it can be repetitive, but think about who that task benefits. You can close out of Reddit and Instagram and check-off task XYZ because it’s for the team. Doing those “ugh” tasks every damn day? Doing those “ugh” tasks every day only to find out the plan is changing? Accepting failure and resetting your course no matter what – that’s discipline.

Thanks to Paul Jarrett, Bulu Box!

#14 – Motivation is Essential

Motivation is essential for entrepreneurs. It’s the well you find when your canteen runs dry. While most entrepreneurs want to believe that they are invincible, bulletproof creatures, the fact of the matter is that building a business and creating value for customers takes an extraordinary amount of effort, and there will be times where you might not feel like pushing on. This is where motivation comes in. By finding external sources of motivation, entrepreneurs are much more likely to persevere when the times get tough. My favorites source of motivation when things get really challenging? Podcasts. Entrepreneurial podcasts such as How I Built This and the School of Greatness feature intimate conversations with some of the world’s most passionate entrepreneurs. And while their stories are all incredibly varied, they share one common denominator: overcoming adversity. By listening to some of the world’s greatest minds talk about the dark times in their business and their life, and how they eventually found a way to make it out the other side, I am provided with an immediate boost of energy, confidence, and passion. If they can do it, so can I!

Thanks to Kelly Bertog, Six-Figure Sponsorships!

#15 – Meditation & Prayer

Image Credit: Zondra Wilson

Mediation and prayer are like food to the mind. With so many thoughts wandering inside my head all the time, I make a point to meditate or pray for a few minutes and enjoy the peace of mind it brings. If you ask me, starting your day with prayer is the best way to stay motivated and energetic throughout the day.

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!


#16 – Intrinsic Motivation Lasts

Image Credit: Michael Linsin

I believe that the only lasting motivation is intrinsic. The day-after-day work involved in being an entrepreneur must be enjoyable on some level or the quality of your product or service will suffer, and you'll eventually burn out and throw in the towel.

Thanks to Michael Linsin, Smart Classroom Management!


#17 – Motivation is Key to Success

Image Credit: John Waldmann

Motivation is key to running a successful business. I stay motivated by the daily feedback I get from our customers. We collect feedback automatically through our employee scheduling and time clock software. But every week, I make a point to visit our merchants in their businesses, where our software is being used. They often thank me profusely for giving them a free software that eliminates the hours and hassle of filing paperwork. My customers constantly tell me they can spend more time running the business rather than sitting in a room trying to work on paper time sheets, payroll and schedules. Since that was my goal from the start, it’s very rewarding to know I’ve helped make a difference in the lives of my customers.

Thanks to John Waldmann, Homebase!

#18 – Surrounding Myself with More Successful People

Image Credit: Marian Bacol-Uba

I stay motivated by surrounding myself with people who are more successful than me. I have friends and mentors both in person and online that keep me accountable and I can reach out to if I have a challenge, need to vent or need extra motivation. Jim Rohn said You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I choose to surround myself with highly motivated and successful people so that I can continue to learn and grow. Plus these people will tell me the truth and give me real advice and the hard truth even if I don't want to hear it. I know they have my best interest in mind and vice versa.

Thanks to Marian Bacol-Uba!

#19 – Real Life Content

Image Credit: Lisa Kipps-Brown

I'm not really interested in rah-rah cheerleader-type motivational content, but love real life content that shows successes other businesses have experienced, issues they've overcome, etc. My favorite way to consume it is through podcasts, and favorite time is while mowing the grass with a push mower. Although I'm physically working, it's relaxing to my brain; I can get in the zone and my mind just starts working on its own. I've come up with some of my best ideas this way!

Thanks to Lisa Kipps-Brown, Glerin Business Resources!

#20 – 2 Tips

Image Credit: David Kosmayer

As an entrepreneur, I have two tips that I personally use to stay motivated on a daily basis. The first tip is to focus on the overall big picture. Your vision of the future of your company/product/organization should be crystal clear. When you can see with great clarity what it is that you want, you have no problem doing the work needed to obtain your goals and stay focused. My second tip is to adopt consistent daily routines which are actions that grow your business on a daily basis. Stay consistent when motivation is high due. When you find yourself lacking motivation, remember your daily routine and focus on it. Deep down you will reach the vision you have created as long as you remain consistent, focused, and never quit.

Thanks to David Kosmayer, Bookmark Website Builder!

#21 – Workout & Meditate

Image Credit: Nico Muoio

Two things I try to do regularly is workout and meditate. I am not good about doing either every day, but I find that on the days that I do, I am much more focused and clear thinking.

Thanks to Nico Muoio, Freedom of Speech!


#22 – It is Essential

Image Credit: Todd Mitchem

As I indicate in my book, You Disrupted, Seizing the life you want by shaking, breaking and challenging everything, motivation is not in fact dead for the leader or entrepreneur. In fact, I think it is essential, providing a person understands the power of motivation. To be more clear I define motivation as the strength to persevere and overcome any challenge, or the strength needed to move forward positively. However, motivation for the sake of energy alone is not the type I am referring. To me, the key to motivating yourself or others is to understand a concept I talk about in my book. I call it finding your Intentional Why. Many people talk about using a why or a reason for success to motivate you, when in fact this is not specific enough to get a result. Only when we as leaders discover a purposeful and Intentional Why can we hope to also find the needed inspiration and motivation to make the changes within us needed to grow and expand into success. Here is an excerpt from my book you are free to utilize for your article.

Thanks to Todd Mitchem!

#23 – Main Feature

Image Credit: Alex Shumaiev,

I believe that motivation is one of the main features every entrepreneur should have! Motivation and passion are the qualities that lead to success. CEO is like Captain of a ship in the Middle Ages. Could Columbus reach America without motivation? Someone will ask: Could Columbus reach America without the team? Good question. The answer is No! However, every team also has to be motivated! And it is impossible without a highly motivated leader. I believe that there are several tactics everyone can use for motivation. For example, you can watch movies, TV-shows or just successful stories from your sphere. Someone else's success can motivate. Also, do not forget to read! Read a lot – from classical literature to modern articles. Read the stories about successful entrepreneurs, companies, athletes, etc. By the way, sportsmen stories are often motivational!

Thanks to Alex Shumaiev,!

How do you stay motivated or do yo believe motivation is garbage? Tell us in the comments below.



CBNation helps entrepreneurs and business owners succeed with visibility, resources and connections. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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