Rewards: Reward Your Own Success

Chapter 6 Pg’s 157-158 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki

So far, leading yourself has been hard work. Your natural reaction will be to say, “All this work deserves a reward.” You must resist rewarding hard work. Never allow yourself to fall into the trap of confusing efforts with results. An improvement plan is great, and you should feel good about getting to that stage, but feeling good is not enough. Reward yourself only when you achieve a goal.

 The whole concept of self-reward assumes you know how to deny yourself what you want. Perhaps the most significant difficulty in applying your LEADERSHIP strategy to yourself is the issue of discipline. When you apply these concepts to your associates, you are the person in power. You control the leadership efforts, and you also control the Final reward. You can give rewards when you think they are deserved, and you can deny them when you believe an associate has fallen short. Rewarding yourself, on the other hand, requires you to play two roles—the “rewarder” and the “rewardee.” This requires significant personal discipline. You must deny yourself a reward until you have a real achievement. If a reward is truly something you want, it will take great will and commitment to avoid cheating. If you resist, the reward will have a twofold benefit. First, you will reward the improvement in behavior you have been targeting. Second, you will reinforce personal discipline, which is itself a major behavioral characteristic that will pay huge dividends throughout your career and life. What a bargain: two lessons in one.

 Be certain to keep the rewards in perspective; save the big rewards for big accomplishments. A trip to Hawaii should be saved for a major milestone (like completing a full degree program, not just finishing a single course). This point may seem obvious, but it is easy to fall into this trap. What will you do for the really big accomplishment if the small ones get huge rewards? Unless you inherited a multimillion dollar fortune, you will quickly run out of carrots and have only the discipline stick to keep you focused on big improvements. You will find that the joy of achievement can itself become a powerful reward. In addition, you will become conditioned to continuous improvement as a way of life, rather than as an event you must force-feed yourself. #is will happen in large part because you will continue to see improvement in your life and your career as you follow your development plan.

 The other side of this process is punishment. You will generally have an easier time developing punishment systems for your associates than you will for yourself. This is because of the discipline factor. How do you punish yourself? Does punishment mean giving yourself pain, or does it mean denial of something you want? You may feel a need to punish yourself when you fail, but you must focus on what you will do to avoid the next mistake or failure in the future, not on the failure itself. Even if you can create a punishment that hurts you enough to motivate you to anger, getting angry has value only if it motivates you to take action to rectify the cause of the failure. Anger that is not directed toward constructive action often turns into remorse, regret, or self-pity. None of these will contribute to your achievement of a goal.

 Regret is a useless burden. Mistakes are to be learned from. Learn to forgive yourself and to use your mistakes as stories that will help others years from now. Use the mistake today as a basis for forming a new goal and a new plan to achieve your intended improvement, and make certain you avoid making the same mistake once again. The only effective way to follow up on a success is with a reward; the only effective way to follow up on a failure is to set a new goal and achieve it. Punishing yourself does not work any better than punishing your associates.

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