Rewarding yourself for acting – often and repeatedly

Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can be paralysing. I know, I’ve experienced many, and have seen my productivity and outcomes temporarily plummet as a result.

As I wrote before, while we can acknowledge that fears and negativity can hold us back, acting is the true side-step around these barriers.

Acting can be tough, especially when the rewards for our acts are stretched out so far before us, seemingly so small that they feel nearly out of reach. Too many people only reward themselves when they have accomplished an outcome, instead of rewarding the steps it took to reach that outcome. As a result, their energy wanes, the doubts creep in, the action slows down and the outcomes fail to materialise.

Today, we’re going to talk about rewarding yourself for action steps. I’ll be honest, I’m horrible at this. Despite being blessed by so much life has to offer, I consistently deny myself the pleasures that would make be happy, because I haven’t quite reached my target… yet.

Perhaps it’s one of those male / female differences. I would hazard a guess, that there are many men out there that don’t reward themselves enough. I’m sure women too suffer from self-denial, but somebody must be keeping all those spas and pamper shops afloat! From what I gather, those places are not flooded with men.

Maybe men reward themselves in other ways, like a pint at the pub with mates or an afternoon spent feet-up in front of sports on the tele. I’m not sure I know, because I just don’t tend to reward myself much at all.

So today, I’m going to change that. Want to change that with me?

One thing I’ve been able to do fairly routinely for a while now, is write two blog posts a week. This, let’s be honest, is an activity that supports my greater goals: to be recognised as a thought leader in my field. I don’t, however, ever reward myself for meeting my posting goal, week after week. Am I waiting for that big day when someone comes down to anoint me as that “thought-leader” I’m hoping to be recognised as? Who needs to wait for that?

So, if you tend to deny yourself rewards for accomplishments along the journey, let’s work on changing that now. I’m going to suggest a few rewards you can adopt when you reach your next step along your journey, whether it’s calling a prospect, or improving your ratios by a small percentage, or implementing the objection handling process at your next opportunity – regardless of the outcome.

Now these are only my suggestions. If these don’t float your boat, change them up and plan your own. Your rewards have to resonate with you.

Relationship rewards

  1. Arrange a “brag” session with a colleague where you allow yourselves to claim your recent successes. Yes, I know, we’re not supposed to boast in this country. Get over it and do it once in a while – if only in private with someone you trust! It feels great!

  2. Meet up with a colleague or business contact where your reward is NOT talking about business at all. You’d be amazed how enjoyable this can be, and it has the side benefit of getting to know people outside of the work context. We try to do this with our staff at least once a week, and it’s something I look forward to every single week.

Visual rewards

  1. Plot your successes in a spreadsheet – illustrate your accomplishments in a chart and smile at your creation that represents how accomplished you are. Keep updating it and reward yourself again when you’ve reached another milestone.

  2. Plot out your big goal as a grid (say 30 calls this month in a 6×5 grid table in a document), Now black out the calls you’ve already made, showing yourself how every step is a part of the larger whole that you’re on your way towards completion. Keep updating that every day and watch your success grow and grow right in front of your eyes.

Material rewards

  1. Buy yourself something you don’t really need after every big step. This has to be something that you ordinarily wouldn’t purchase for yourself because you might consider it frivolous. For me, that would be clothes. Like many men, I try to get the most out of the clothes I already have, and I don’t dress up if I can possibly avoid it. Still, I love the feel and look of a brand new dress shirt – whether I need it or not. If you’d rather not consume more stuff – and I completely respect that if you don’t – give some money to charity for every step – just doing that will make you feel good.

  2. Get some bottles of Champagne or the like, and open one after every sale you make. If you work in long-cycle sales environments, open one up at every big milestone in your sales process. In a previous job, we had little ones on hand to open up with clients upon a successful agreement, they loved it, and it really attached the sense of success to the material reward.

Time rewards

  1. Take a day off for every set of accomplishments (e.g. landing a big contract, or writing a months worth of blog posts, or successfully implementing a process 20 times). This might be difficult for some, but entrepreneurs will find this astonishingly rewarding. Something we’ve implemented here is the concept of free days. This means, we’ll take one free day every few weeks or so, and literally leave it all behind. That means no business calls, no emails, no texts, not even any discussions about work. Free means free for 24 hours. Strangely, this is really very tough to do.I think I’ve managed only one 24-hour stretch during a workweek in which I’ve been successful doing it. I still remember how wonderful that day was, and it happened months ago.

  2. Choose an activity that you haven’t done for a long time, but really enjoy, and reward yourself once you’ve completed an intermediate goal. For me that might be playing a round of golf on a sunny day, or walking through a wilderness trail. I enjoy both things, but neither can happen without some planning, so I seldom do them. So, the next time I meet a particular activity goal (e.g. deliver 3 months of consistent blog posts) I’ll book it and enjoy it.

Now write down some of your ideas. And carpe diem!