You’ve finally made the jump. You’re an entrepreneur. You have a business of some kind, and no boss (other than yourself) to motivate you each day. Awesome! It is the best.
Question: How do you reward yourself?
Do you reward yourself materially after you’ve made those big bucks? Perhaps you go out and buy yourself that fancy car? Take that dream vacation? Or purchase that home that’s been on your vision board all those years?
Perhaps. Those aren’t bad things. But if that is the only way you reward yourself I’d throw in some caution.
A lot of entrepreneurs give up and get discouraged long before they’ve ever earned enough in their business to get those things.
So what are the other ways to reward yourself?
What about emotionally?
Are emotional rewards only received when other people tell you how great your business is? The local business pages write up a shining review of your innovation / service / or idea? You get a profile in a business magazine? You get glowing review after glowing review online from highly satisfied customers?
Those are all good things as well. But if that is the only way to reward yourself emotionally I’d add caution again.
The journey that is involved in receiving any of these emotional rewards can be very difficult, and it is through the process of trial and error – trying things, seeing if they work, adjusting for what doesn’t work, taking new action, gauging feedback, adjusting again – over and over again that you eventually get your process and systems right so that you are in a position to receive these glowing reviews and testimonials.
You’ve got to reward yourself however during this feedback process. You’ve got to learn to reward yourself before you make the big bucks, or get the glowing reviews. If you don’t you’ll fizzle out. You won’t have the emotional capacity to see your venture through.
So how do you do that?
How do you reward yourself in the lean months (or years)?
How do you reward yourself when you aren’t making the big bucks yet, and when you haven’t received dozens of glowing reviews….yet?
You do it by becoming a master of administering “self-rewards”, and frankly this can be one of the only things that will keep your spirit alive during those lean years.
What do I mean by “administering self-rewards”?
You’ve got to build an emotional eco-system that internally rewards action and detaches (at least in the early stages of your business) from results.
Don’t get me wrong – results are critical. Results are “data”. They are what you use to adjust action, correct mistakes, and gauge the value that you are giving to society. The value that you give will directly lead to the amount of money that you receive from your venture in return. So we need results.
But often results can take a while to come in, and we have to keep ourselves emotionally strong in the process of gathering this data. This is why we need that “internal” emotional eco-system where we have the ability to reward ourselves for actions taken independent of the results.
How is this done?
The best way that I’ve found is through the process of “small chunking”
Small chunking involves writing down a list of vital behaviours that are needed in your business (that you are aware of) and then simply tracking how many of these you execute each day.
After you track your “chunking” for several weeks (or months ideally) you will notice that you’ve created a powerful habit of action. You’ll also notice that you are less focused on “results”. Instead you are focused on process.
This methodology has a lot of positive consequences:
- You are more present in the moment;
- You are more emotionally stable;
- You worry less about the future (since your focus is shifted to completing the chunks of the day);
- You start seeing quickly which chunks drive results and which chunks don’t (and as a result you can shift your actions – remember you aren’t stuck in your initial chunks, they are only experimental based on your best knowledge at the time);
- You start to enjoy the “process” of being an entrepreneur instead of just the “fruits of your labour”. This is critical because every entrepreneur has to deal with setbacks and failure at some point;
- You’ve achieved an incredible freedom – the ability to emotionally reward yourself;
Our mind is the source of great inspiration and innovation, but it can also be our biggest liability. It can be the source of constant self-doubt, worry, fear, unmet ambition, desire, etc, etc.
For an entrepreneur these negative “worry states” can be debilitating. Action – where we “lose ourselves” in the process – is the best remedy for this. This is why small chunking is so effective.
Also – the road to success as a entrepreneur can be lonely, and seem to stretch for much longer than we had initially anticipated. That is why rewarding yourself is so critical.