Everyone has challenges and hard times. If you're living the startup life or any sort of entrepreneur, self-starter mentality then you know exactly the very unique challenges associated with this life choice. This is the environment I live in. And many of you do as well, I am sure.

Each week I post a Reading for Success post reviewing the 3 books I read over the past seven days. But this post and these reviews I discovered don't tell you the full story behind why I do this. And as you know, I like to identify and share the why behind things.

As I was saying, we all have challenges and struggles. We face obstacles which may seem insurmountable and we may find ourselves believing all hope is lost and there's no reason to continue our current course of action. These feelings threaten our success and steal our motivation. In order to be successful we need to find ways to overcome these feelings and find the motivation to continue working. Success comes to those who don't give up, who never stop trying. There's an entirely different message to be drawn from that last sentence since, of course, we want to learn and grow and change our actions to be smart - but that's a post for another day.

This week rather than sharing merely the books I read I'd like to share with you four ways to find motivation and then tie that into our Reading 4 Success series I publish each week. So without any more elaborate of a lead-in, here are four ways I believe you can find your motivation and stir that passion inside you to keep going.

Find sources of encouragement.

There's incredible value in being able to find and identify sources of encouragement. Whether that's taking the time to look back at your past successes or listening to the stories of others and recognizing the ways your work has impacted their lives - these sources of encouragement help you keep things in perspective. These words or feelings of encouragement help to bolster your spirit and strengthen your resolve.

Now, sometimes it might be hard to find sources of encouragement for your own work (particularly if you're just getting started) so there need to be alternative ways to seek out encouragement. For example, you may find encouragement in the work of someone else. Listen to their stories of success, or rather, listen to their stories of failure after failure on the way to success. This can be a massive source of strength when things are looking bleak.

Identify creative outlets.

There are a couple different ways in which this can be considered. Creative outlets are an awesome opportunity to allow your brain a chance to rest from the day-to-day challenges you face. The freedom to be creative and explore the world often yields positive side effects on the very challenges you have been facing. Sometimes your brain simply needs the opportunity to not think about a particular problem before you can solve it. So what are creative outlets? There's a beautiful world full of them. Here's just a smattering:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Kickboxing
  • Bowling
  • Skating
  • Board games
  • Movies
  • Concerts
  • Theater
  • Writing
  • Reading

There truly is an infinite list of creative outlets. The key is to find those outlets that are best for you and your brain. You absolutely don't have to pick just one. In fact, I'd recommend having several you enjoy doing (and that's key - you have to enjoy doing them).

There's value in some of the things you choose requiring physical activity as these help your entire body while also requiring your mental focus (taking your thoughts off your current challenges).

Build a trusted network.

There is more to finding motivation then could ever be found in a single soul alone. We've all heard the old saying "No man is an island." And yet we so often tend to think that if we're not sharing something positive or something successful we need to keep it to ourselves. (I blame social media in part for this major flaw in our thinking.)

Now, I'm not saying go share your grievances and your deepest darkest fears with the world at large. Rather, you need to build a trusted network of close friends and trusted compatriots who understand the depths of the challenges you face, the daily struggles you are undertaking and know best how you "tick." These are friends who are able to relate to you and know what you need when you need it most. Sometimes that trust network will offer you advice, sometimes they'll merely listen. These individuals are incredibly important to finding your motivation.

Take a deep breath (or two).

The last suggestion I'll give for when you are struggling and need to find your motivation is to simply stop, take a deep breath (or two) and clear your mind. Call it meditation, call it a silent prayer, whatever your preference the goal is a clear mind. So whether you do this once a day, once a week or once an hour...there is immense value in these deep and cleansing breaths.

Now, quickly let's tie this all back in to the topic of this post. My goal is to explain some of my why for sharing what I am reading and what I learn from these books.


If you've followed my blog for any length of time then you can probably guess where one of my creative outlets lies. Books. I find reading to be a source of encouragement as well as a creative outlet. And to be honest I also find reading to give me an excellent opportunity to take a deep breath. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this week's Reading for Success is a bit different because I want to share with you just one of the books I read this week but more importantly I want to give you a glimpse into why I read and why this book was helpful to me.

The Third Door

This book is the only one I'm going to highlight this week because it lead me to share everything above. Alex Banayan wrote The Third Door, as a means by which to uncover other successful people's paths and their secrets to success but realized some powerful truths about himself along the way.

Alex tells a wild tale full of color and excitement which leads the reader along a crazy journey through the lives of well-known celebrities in his quest to understand what made them successful. The truth of the journey led to a series of unexpected revelations about himself and a very different conclusion than what he expected.

I'm not going to spoil this one for you, but let me tell you, this is a book worth your time to read. And it's an easy read at that. Trust me. You'll laugh, you'll contemplate your choices, and you'll hopefully find some motivation!

The other books from this week: