Reward Yourself 

Some people are good about rewarding team members and employees, but they’re not so good at rewarding themselves. I’ve fallen into that trap myself more than once; but I think I’ve finally learned that if I have an emotional meltdown, it’s usually because I haven’t followed through on feeding my inner-self. 

Just as I was taking the frightening leap from being employed at a full-time job to being a full-time entrepreneur, I was playing basketball and blew out my Achilles tendon, which had to be repaired surgically.  Six weeks later, while pushing too hard at my physical therapy, I blew it out again.  This was a tough time.  It’s not in my nature to sit around, but all I could do was sit in my bed and work on my computer.  I had started a small business, but there was very little I could do to move it forward. I knew that I had the choice to either sink or swim, but I felt myself sinking—and fast. 

I finally called my partners into my bedroom, where we talked about our predicament.  In mapping out what we could do to salvage the situation, I proposed that if we achieved the success we had our sights on, we would reward ourselves, together with our wives, by going on a cruise.  We went to work, and as I lay in bed day after day, I pictured success as sitting with my partners and our wives on an upper deck, toasting our success as we watched the sun set.  That image drove me to achieve my goals, even though the odds were stacked against me. 

We did indeed hit our goal, and I cannot convey the depth of my joy and satisfaction as we sat around that table and I offered this simple toast, “We did it.  We made it.”  

With that lesson in mind, consider what would have happened had we not taken the celebratory trip?  All too often, people intend to give themselves rewards, but then they become martyrs.  They start thinking, “I am just too busy,” or “I should put this money back into the business.”  I know that had I not taken that dreamed-about cruise, my subconscious would have revolted, which would have damaged my desire to dig deep and sacrifice in the future.

I use little rewards throughout the day to motivate myself, particularly when I’m really having a tough day. When I’m dealing with difficult issues, I might tell myself something like, “When I get through this, I’m going to go outside and smell the air and I’m going to watch the ducks for ten minutes.” There are all kinds of ways we can reward ourselves quietly throughout the day, and they can help us keep our head above water.