Reward Yourself- 7 Ways

Practice self-love.

Rewards come in all shapes and sizes and don’t need to break the budget, but not doing it could break your back. We all need rewards, but we don’t need to wait for them to come externally. It’s not productive.

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Know what makes you happy. Then do it. Sounds so easy. Often is not.

We all get busy. So much is expected of us. I recently learned that a friend’s 21 year old son uses 5 computer monitors simultaneously at his summer internship. FIVE monitors. How can one possibly practice balance or self-care when this is what we are doing to ourselves?

No one will love you more than you love yourself. Not your spouse. Not your doctor. No one. They might disguise themselves as a friend and tell you they love you, while they enable you to continue bad habits. OK, maybe not, but I believe no one will love you more than you love yourself, assuming good mental health

A friend of mine once taught me the difference between sympathy and support. Honestly, it was a lesson for me. Sympathy is given by wallowing alongside you, when you keep wallowing. Support is different – constructive, productive and progressive.

A friend might listen to you go on repeating the same things. They observe you repeat unhealthy patterns and yet they don’t point that out. They give their listening ear without limits. But a TRUE friend listens and then reflects back to you what YOU might be doing to bring the aggravation on yourself in a pattern, so that you might break the pattern.

I digress. Today is about rewarding oneself. Do it. Often and generously. Here are some suggestions that work for me:

  1. Bubble baths
  2. Martinis
  3. Ironing cloth dinner napkins- perfect commitment to ironing process…a napkin
  4. Blogging – I like to think everyone thinks I’m as brilliant as I think I am.
  5. Chatting online with friends. Not with strangers…
  6. TED talks, so easy, informative, entertaining and accessible
  7. Exercise in any form, even if just a walk around the block.
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Pain is Weakness Leaving The Body

Intellectual growth is a most humbling experience. In order to grow, you must push yourself beyond your comfort level.

It’s easy to repeat what you already know. It’s satisfying to be the expert. But, to be the rookie is humbling.

Careers are crumbling among my peers. What seemed a long term plan yesterday, is gone today. Things like reward for loyalty, insurance benefits and administrative support are no longer realities for a lot of people I know. Automation, cheaper and younger workforce and entrepreneurialism have replaced those perks.

If you’ve been doing the same thing for the past 10+ years, earning about the same, with a similar degree of stress, please hire me. I want what you have, but you are probably a figment.

More likely, you are working harder, earning less and pining for yesterday. If that sounds familiar, get over it. We all can relate.

Here are 5 ways to improve your job security starting today-

Tell your customers “I don’t know, but will ask ” more than “its not done that way”. Because, before you know it, someone else will do it “that way.”

Stretch yourself to perform beyond your former benchmark. That means set quantifiable goals and evaluate yourself at set intervals for accomplishing them. This doesn’t have to be directly tied to your work. It can be physical achievement, a challenging hobby, or any marketable skill. Take a tech skills class. Learn a new language.

Read the signs around you. If your job responsibilities have shrunk as others have taken on some of your former work after a restructure, don’t sit back and congratulate yourself on your good fortune. Karma is real.

Consider the job that no one else wants. I don’t mean the grunt job that’s unappealing because there’s little reward. I mean the job that’s too hard or too scary or too inconvenient, but, because of these reasons, the reward is available to be earned. There’s little that’s more secure than the job that no one else wants.

Finally, just work hard. You know when you are and when you’re not. The reward for a hard day’s work is tangible. If you don’t know exactly how to make yourself more useful, then ask. I promise you there’s someone looking at your gig and thinking, I could do that and I’d be willing to work harder, earn less, be more likeable, etc.

Get Out To Get In

The hidden job market, those millions of openings that never get formally posted,now accounts for up to 80% of hires, according to a recent article in Forbes.com.
Jobs are only one kind of opportunity that can be uncovered by getting out more.

Last week I was asked by a customer for candidate referrals for an anticipated opening. The more I engaged the customer to tell me about his needs, the better idea I had of who I might know to suggest. Suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. A contact that I’ve known for 25 years, who’s not even actively seeking full time employment and doesn’t even live in the same city, struck me as a perfect match. I called her that day and after our conversation, she’s very interested in the position and the hiring manager is interested to meet her.

Opportunity strikes those who seek it, make it possible and recognize it when it happens. If I’d not kept in touch with this person over the years, we haven’t worked together in over 15 years, I wouldn’t have thought of her. But I brought an opportunity to her and also to my customer in need.

Another example. Yesterday I rented a car while having some body work done. The young man behind the desk asked me a few conversational questions about what kind of work I do. He was simply breaking the monotony of his pretty automatable job. I was impressed by his curiosity and communication skills and also his easy manner. If I was a hiring manager seeking a seller, I’d probably encourage the guy to interview. In fact, I was so impressed by his demeanor, if he’d asked me for an introduction to a member of my network, I would’ve obliged. He was an opportunist, the good kind.

Discovery is an integral part of sales. You can’t discover if you don’t get out. That means, literally, get out. Step away from the computer. Meet with people face to face – customers, prospects, colleagues, former colleages, prospective colleages, industry peers, etc. People choose people, not titles. Make a human impression. For this there is no substitute.

Get out of your comfort zone too. If your job feels like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, maybe one day it will be automated. What unique value do you bring that isn’t so easily replaced? Stretch yourself until you can answer this. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying that hard.

Learn new skills. The world is changing. Quickly. If you are not changing, you’re flying without a net. Today I signed up for a certification course that I’m not sure how I will use and I’m half sure I will struggle not to be bored while in the class. However, on a tip that this coursework is valued by my new employer, I asked my manager if he would make this investment in me. He said yes, so how could I possibly pass that up?

Challenge. Raise the bar, not only for yourself, but for your customers. How else can you get a customer to add your offering to an already stretched budget? The greatest enemy to selling isn’t hearing, “NO”. “No” easily leads to, “Why not?” It’s harder to respond to, “I’m not looking to make a change. We are happy.” Well, Mr. Customer, how do you know if you’re getting fair market value for your inventory if you can’t tell me your market penetration in finite quantitative terms?

Get out from the regular to get in to the game.

More Tina Fey Than Cinderella

I just learned about the “tiara syndrome.” It’s a valuable business lesson and it actually has a name.

The founders of Negotiating Inc., describe the Tiara Syndrome this way: “Women expect that, if they keep doing their job well, someone will notice them and place a tiara on their head.”

Wow, this is a gender problem? That’s even more disturbing.

If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, you know that self-advocacy is a faster way to recognition than silence and hope. This is a personality trait, not a gender issue. But, I suppose, if women are far less likely to self-advocate than men, now we have a gender issue, not just a personality trait.

However, can women self-advocate the same way that men do and achieve the same result? Now there’s a loaded question.

Think about what it takes to self-advocate. Boldness, articulation, self-assuredness and confidence all come to mind. These traditionally are traits that are rewarded in men and perceived differently in women. That’s not a judgement. It’s an observation of fact.

Frequently, but unintentionally, I illicit friction from others merely by being myself. I tend to have more confidence than average, articulate more, am naturally more direct and blaringly honest. This is a summary of my strengths and also my weaknesses.

I move at a fast pace mentally, and when I’m rushing, I take shortcuts that might be efficient, but frequently aren’t effective. Not when interacting with people. That requires care and patience. For me it also often requires overcompensation.

Everyone has room to improve. Trying to over correct is a great way to find middle ground.

In an effort to be awesome, sometimes I try too hard. When I get excited, maybe I get too verbal. Effusiveness and energy can be welcome. But telling 1 too many jokes, or interrupting someone because you want fast clarification can backfire on a relationship.

I’ve noticed that others tend to say “sorry” more often than I do. I don’t mean apologizing for wrong doing; I’m very quick to apologize for wrong doing. It’s more of a manner of interpersonal communication. For example, you notice someone is in your assigned seat on the plane, you say “I’m sorry, but I believe that is my seat.” Or, “I’m sorry, I ordered the tilapia, not the chicken that I was served.”

A lot can be gained from a “Give to Get” manner. Parents give responsibility to a child and get respect in return. Negotiators give a concession to get one in return. Supervisors give a perk to subordinates and gain a happy and productive worker. Give trust to receive it.

More to come, still learning.