Remembering to reward yourself and the value of hard work

Winning is good. Winning decisively, rapidly, with style, against the odds, or all of the above is great. A big win really deserves a reward above and beyond the victory itself. Is this reflected in how you run your business?

This year’s Six Nations is currently underway and has introduced bonus points into the scoring for the first time. An extra point is awarded to a team for scoring four or more tries or for losing by less than seven points. Wining the Grand Slam earns another three points. John Feehan, The Chief Executive of the Six Nations explained that ‘we must reward try scoring and an attacking style of play that will deliver more tries and greater rewards for fans and players alike’.

Teams and players will push themselves further for greater rewards. When you walk away from a large business or corporation in order to start up on your own, you often leave behind a reward, incentive or bonus scheme – whatever form that may have taken. You may have an abundance of drive and motivation to succeed in your endeavour, but what about the extra incentive to win big?

Of course, there is a great incentive to survive. Many new business owners will not even pay themselves a salary let alone award themselves a bonus. The continued existence of the business is a reward in itself. Except that it’s a hollow, psychologically draining reward. Working for yourself, there’s not even the chance of a symbolic ‘well done’ and a pat on the back from a boss. Yes, cash is very tight in the early days and there are good reasons behind people’s decisions not to reward themselves with a salary or a bonus. However, it is important to motivate yourself to thrive, not just to survive. Though paying yourself is eventually vital – as your business grows you will need to accurately assess its value and factor in your worth – specific rewards for specific wins are an easier place to begin.

You’re probably setting yourself targets already. SMART targets that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed-Upon, Realistic and Time-Based. When a target is measurable you know when you have just crept over the line with a last minute kick at goal and when you have thrashed the opposition and scored four or more tries in the process. You can decide beforehand what deserves a reward and, assuming you’re honest with yourself, reward yourself accordingly when you meet the criteria.

Unlike a salary, which has to reflect market value, rewards themselves can be flexible and scalable to the size of your business and the target you’ve set. If you’re not running a multinational bank, you don’t need to offer yourself a banker’s bonus. A meal out, a day at a spa or a new set of golf clubs are equally valid rewards. If that still sounds too decadent for a start-up, your reward for a contract won or yearly profit could easily be turned back to the business itself – meet your target and upgrade that laptop you’ve been longing to replace.

Very few people actually feel any joy upon viewing figures in a bank account increase. The joy comes from what that money could be used for – whether it’s growing your business or taking your family on holiday. When it comes to your earnings, you need to feel a sense of relativism – that more effort will bring more eventual joy. Hard work needs to be worth something to you and an incentive gives your work more value. Rugby players are willing to burn their lungs for a bonus point, what could drive you that extra mile?

Posted in: Growing Businesses

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