Whenever I watch Olympic-class sporting events, I especially admire seeing the distance event athletes in action. The marathons they compete in are the ones that really put the inner strengths and endurance of competitors to the test the most. You really see who has what it takes to go the distance. Whether they’re swimmers, runners, or cross-country skiers, one thing they all have in common, besides being highly motivated, is smarts—a keen sense for knowing how to balance and pace themselves to make sure they finish, and finish as strong as they possibly can. They know when to go all out. But like a jockey and racehorse, they also know when to hold back. This same idea is true of how you work. If you don’t take time out to re-energize, you’ll eventually burn yourself out. What good it that?
Quite often you’ll see someone “get on a roll” and they just can’t stop. Things just seem to fall in place for them. They’re afraid to stop—they’re “in the flow” or in the “groove”, as we say. They’re making money. Or maybe they’re a hit on the social scene. Whatever. All they want to do is to keep going and going until they finally run out of gas—until what? They drop dead? If we’re talking about work and maybe you in particular, pretty soon you find yourself putting in 10-12 hours a day. Your family has practically forgotten who you are. You’re on a runaway stagecoach, and you can’t get off. I know I was on that runaway stagecoach myself. You must take the time to re-energize your engine!
There probably isn’t a better feeling than that moment of personal triumph. Victory is finally in your grasp. You’ve just won the battle. You’ve closed the deal. You’ve met your goals. Whatever it is—YOU’RE THE BIG WINNER TODAY! As they say at McDonald’s, “You deserve a break today.” So take one! REWARD YOURSELF! As my success grew and I exceeded my goals (which was most of the time) my wife and I rewarded ourselves with trips to Las Vegas for nice long weekends. It was a great way to spend some personal time together, relax, and celebrate our successes. We had a ball back then, to take in the shows, the energy and the excitement of The Strip. Now maybe that’s not your thing. Maybe you’d like a quiet weekend in a log cabin up north. Or perhaps golf, fishing, or boating is what you like to do. Maybe you’re an artist or a concert-goer. Whatever it is, make it special and do it with someone who is special in your life. Celebrate the moment. You deserve it!
When I first got started, though, those kinds of rewards were just out of the question. Whenever I made a few extra bucks, I was just happy to see my family feel a little bit of security for the first time. Perhaps a new dress for my wife or a new pair of shoes for my kids was all I could manage at first. I was just happy to see the smiles on their faces. I think I’ll remember those days of “small rewards” more than the bigger ones that came later. You may be in the same situation I was in. Be patient. It’ll get better. Trust me. Most of all trust yourself. You have to decide what’s important and what you can afford. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you remember to put some of your reward away for a rainy day. Take the pressure off yourself and plan ahead. Try to stash some of that success away in the bank. That’s the smart play.
If you reward yourself with things you can see in your home, like a big TV, some new furniture, or even a second new car in your driveway, they serve as constant reminders to you and your family of your achievements. In turn, they also become your motivators to re-energize yourself to continue your successful growth pattern. No secrets, just doing the basics better than anyone else! That’ll make you feel like a million bucks every time. Personal success also brings other rewards, the satisfaction of which almost goes beyond what words can describe