Want To Feel Younger? The Secret Great Entrepreneurs Use To Stay Motivated

Dan Sullivan
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We live in a world that’s becoming more and more entrepreneurial.

You can see this in the proliferation of magazines and articles focused solely on entrepreneurship. Universities now offer entrepreneurial studies, and big corporations talk about becoming more entrepreneurial. Today, more than I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime, entrepreneurs are admired and looked up to.

I can tell you that in the 1950s when I was growing up, people weren’t talking about entrepreneurs; they were talking about big corporations and government. There were no entrepreneurs who became cultural heroes like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk have today.

These great entrepreneurial geniuses are new role models, not politicians or generals or even Hollywood’s biggest stars. Today, it’s the people who create new products, new services, new industries, and millions of jobs around the world. These are today’s heroes.

The great entrepreneur.

One thing these great entrepreneurs have in common is that they’ve all been great entrepreneurs over a long period of time. Having one or two great breakthroughs that people are talking about for a couple of years won’t do it. You’ll only be remembered as a great entrepreneur if you’re continually great.

“Great” means there’s a perception that you’re always at the top of your game, you’re continually more inventive and innovative, and you’re always increasing your impact and your influence in the world.

Being able to maintain this level of creativity and stay motivated over a long period of time requires an internal ability to rejuvenate yourself on the run. You just never run out of gas—the “gas” of the entrepreneurial world being:

  • Inventive new ideas that are more useful than any existing ideas.
  • Exciting new products, services, and organizational methods.
  • Fresh ways of marketing and selling.
  • An impressive reputation for being at the cutting edge.

The word “rejuvenate” itself is interesting. It comes from the ancient Latin word “juvenis,” which means “young.” So rejuvenate means to make yourself young over and over again.

I’m in my fifth decade as an entrepreneur, and I can tell you that my excitement about the next 25 years is incomparably greater than it was 25 years ago. I’ve always had the ability to maintain my energy level and stay motivated. I don’t get tired. I don’t get bored. I don’t get burned out. And there’s a very good reason for this.

Free Days come first.

At Strategic Coach, we have a time system designed specifically for entrepreneurs. It’s made up of three types of days: Free Days that are entirely away and disconnected from the business are for rejuvenation, Focus Days are centered on money-making activities, and Buffer Days are for preparation.

Notice that Free Days come first in this line-up of days. And at Coach, they literally do come first. Instead of seeing time away from work as a reward, we see it as a necessary precondition for success.

I take about 150 days off a year, along with Babs Smith, my partner in business and life. On our Free Days, we aren’t involved in the business at all. No checking in by phone, no email, no business reading. Instead, we do the things that not only rejuvenate us, but ensure that we have a well-rounded life.

When people ask me when I’m going to retire, I say “never.” I love what I’m doing. And I love the activity of being an entrepreneur.

Exciting times.

Being an entrepreneur as I’m describing it here wasn’t even possible 50 years ago. We didn’t have the technological base to continually do new and exciting things. But we’re living in a new age, and life has changed.

The secret to being a great entrepreneur in the 21st century is developing early in your career the ability to always rejuvenate your mind and your body. This is what we coach at Strategic Coach. It’s what I’m always going to be doing. And it begins with taking rejuvenating Free Days that always keep you at the top of your game.