I get asked a lot about what I wish I knew earlier about leadership. There are many things, but one of things that I do not do a good job with is the reward. I wish I had known earlier about the need to reward myself and I should have done it sooner and much more often.

I know I should not wait for someone else to pat me on the back yet sometimes I do just that. Sometimes I act as if my accomplishments are only valid if someone else recognizes them. And I know that goes against everything I believe in and everything I talk about.

Rewards should be given for whatever reason one feels like giving them. Did you make it to all of your workouts this week? Did you speak up during a meeting and get your comments noticed? Did you get an A on your difficult assignment? Did you accomplish a personal goal? Then reward yourself.

Now that you are thinking about what you should reward yourself for let’s chat about how to reward yourself. There are as many ways to reward yourself as there are imaginations and desires. I have bought myself shoes for running faster during a physical fitness test, an ice cream cone (and yes I know I should not reward myself with food, but this is my reward so keep your comments to yourself) for passing an exam, a walk on the beach after surviving a challenging day, and the biggest: a Pandora bracelet. I bought a bead for every class I completed while working on my PhD. Now my bracelet is full, heavy, and a sense of pride.If I had waited for someone to buy that bracelet for me I might still be waiting. Are you waiting for something?

A reward does not have to be expensive or something you buy. It just has to have some sense of importance to you. It has to be something you really want and it should fit the accomplishment. A reward  can even be free.

Giving yourself a reward is not selfish, conceited. It is a purposeful action of kindness to yourself. Think of it this way, if you would congratulate someone else for the event then you should congratulate yourself. And even if you would not congratulate someone else but you feel great about what you did, then you deserve a reward.

Don’t wait for someone else to notice your accomplishment. How are you going to reward yourself? You deserve it.

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