Quarterly targets, meeting quotas, monthly sales figures, securing finances for a major deal... all worth the pat on the back and the high fives around the office. But how often do you recognise and reward yourself for the minor moments? When you just have a good week where you have cleared your inbox, dusted off the to-do list and managed to keep yourself on track and achieving those small moments that make you feel good about yourself - isn't that cause for something equally as celebratory?
The idea and concept of the self induced reward is ingrained in theorems as an aid to short term motivation and instilling a sense of achievement in the workforce are well documented. We work for a reward. There is always a carrot dangling at the end of achain somewhere in our psychological headspace.
But how often do we recognise the small matters? When we have achieved a small menial task or found a way to make our day feel that it has achieved a sense of purpose. Making yourself feel good about achieving a small task can often lead to an increased sense of purpose that can elevate a seemingly minor day to one of great pride.
I am not talking about rewarding mediocrity here. Just because you got the Xerox machine to deliver a double sided copy doesn't mean you should insist on the office manager taking you to lunch at Tetsuya's. But we are talking about delivering yourself a hearty pat on the back when you have achieved something you worked hard on, just to keep that little bounce in your step, or that smile in your grin.
Gaining recognition whenyou have achieved something is a natural need and desire in a workplace environment. After all, who wants to work for someone when you are not getting any indication that your work is not fully valued. Those 10pm finishes don't mean a deal of codswallop when the boss is putting you under constant pressure and telling you that your best is never good enough.
Indeed this is one of the reasons why you should train yourself to monitor and reward positive behaviour rather than let the drudgery of a workplace relegate you to the doldrums of ineffectual performance. If you can't recognise and reward yourself, how do you expect someone else to recognise it within your work?
Often it is about accepting that what you offer is of benefit. Thinking that what you do actually matters. As a massage therapist, it is easy to gauge when you have done a good job. When someone gets off the table and shrugs their shoulders and says 'Oh wow - I can really feel that moving now'. That's instant feedback that makes you feel like you have contributed to someone's immediate situation. But it's also about recognising that you played a role in that result. You could downplay it and say that it was only the fact that the person layed down for an hour and actually took time out to relax that resulted in the relaxation of the immediate situation. Perhaps also true, but don't downplay your part in the process. Recognising when you have contributed to a situation that has brought about a positive result is vital to ensuring you feel good about what you have contributed valuable time and energy to.
It's also about small rewards. Setting targets and having them in place in your head are important ways to giving you a measuring tool against which you can assess whether your performance has been significant or not. If you don't have a clear target or objective in your head, how can you measure whether or not you have made a good use of your time at any given interval? The smallest target can sometimes make the largest difference in feeling like you have contributed. Take the construction of a BMW. A car that relies on the smallest grade of engineering so that mechanics and machines mesh and work together. If the machinist on the pistons is more than .25mm outside of a drilling case, does the car perform as well? Don't de-value just because you are part of a smaller element that ultimately contributes to the bigger result.
Don't downplay the minor. The smallest contribution can also be the most significant one. The benefit of making someone feel good about themselves can transform an average person into a powerhouse of initiative, ideasand new concepts in your workplace. In a team environment, this is most important. Harnessing the abilities of a team makes for increased effectiveness of the whole.
So sometimes it is worth looking back on week that may have appeared lack-lustre and without consequence, but finding the one element within that week that actually made a difference. And if it did - well maybe that is worth a bit of a reward and a bit of gratitude generated from yourself towards the self. Small targets and achieving them can sometimes make the world of difference to your own motivation. And keep you on track and motivated to persist and keep working towards the larger goals.