It’s a seemingly simple little thing that can have a huge impact on our energy, enjoyment, enthusiasm and results. And, it could be easily missed. I didn’t learn this until later in life. It was so obvious and so simple to implement that I wondered why I didn’t get it sooner. When I did get it, and put it into practice, I received immediate and huge benefits.
During my fifteen years as a type-A, workaholic entrepreneur I didn’t take a vacation longer than an extended weekend – not one holiday. I didn’t get up in the morning enthused about the day, and I didn’t go to bed at night knowing it was a fulfilling, satisfying day. But I was going to someday. After all, isn’t that part of why I was working so hard?
But there was never an end to the work, thus no reward.
If you have ever lacked the energy to start the day, the next step, or the next project; if you have ever been listless, exhausted, had trouble getting going and then procrastinated; if you ever fail to get out of the bed in the morning anticipating a good day; if you ever go to bed at night exhausted and yet feeling that you didn’t really accomplish much: then here’s a simple little thing to do to help change that.
The simple little thing is: acknowledge and reward yourself when you finish a task or project, no matter how small or big the project.
Without this reward and acknowledgment our activities, projects and tasks are incomplete. And a part of our consciousness knows that. Some of our energy is leaking out, unconsciously, knowing there’s more to do in order to complete, and it’s not done yet.
We don’t have all our energy and focus available in the present here and now for whatever, or whomever, we are presently engaged in or with. Thus we miss the joy and power of the moment. We’re not as effective. And the result, inside as well as out, is less than our potential. The journey is the destination, after all.
Every incompletion reduces our available energy. An amazing way to regain energy, and feel more energetic, is to reduce the number of incompletes in our environment.
One quick way is to just declare some things done: close the book and put it back on the shelf where you can always find it if you want to read it later. You can do this literally and figuratively with any of the other “open books” in your environment.
If I’m aware and remember, some days I may acknowledge myself several times for seemingly insignificant actions: getting out of bed rather than hitting the snooze button; getting in my run even though it was cold and rainy; doing my meditation even though I have deadlines pressing; eating fresh, healthy, organic food; calling my mother; thanking my wife when I know she didn’t expect it.
The rewards for smaller completions are usually something simple that is a treat to me. It could just be desert, like a gluten-free cookie and coconut milk ice cream, a soak in the tub, a massage, watching a movie, dinner out with friends, seeing a play….
The bigger the project I finish the bigger the reward I give myself. When I finish a week-long business leadership seminar I take my staff to dinner in the nicest or most interesting restaurant we can find in whatever country or city we’re in. When I get home from a business trip of a month or more I’ll take a few days off, often a “busman’s holiday”, going to a relaxing retreat hotel. I like travel and variety in my life. And from no vacations for 15 years I now take at least a month each year, usually more.
Does this work? I found out by doing it. Try it: think about the ways you can pause, acknowledge, and reward yourself. It’s a simple little thing.
Terry Tillman lives on purpose. He is a Scout. In business, people talk about pushing the edge; in Terry’s business, he just goes there. He’s known for going the distance; that showed up in years of running marathons. And he likes to get a high altitude perspective on the issues and opportunities Life offers. He talks about this a lot in the professional and personal development seminars he designs and leads. And in the inspirational talks he gives. It makes sense that he’s also a pilot.