This is part of the series Lessons from the Backseat…

One day, a few years ago, I stopped at the ATM to get cash to cover some bills. Having agreed to pay some service providers in cash, I withdrew more than I usually would on a normal occasion. Lauren was watching from her rear vantage point, securely strapped in on her booster seat. She was stunned as she counted the bills that slid from the machine. “Five hundred dollars!” she exclaimed, “That’s a lot of money Mommy! What are you going to with that?” I explained to her that I was going to use it to pay some bills.  

She said, “you should buy yourself something first Mommy, you should treat yourself.”  I shook my head but she insisted.

“Mommy, do you have a wand, you should buy yourself a wand.” Yes, she was in her princess phase so naturally, a wand would be a reasonably good purchase. In her seven-year-old mind I was fully deserving of a treat and she had boldly offered her best suggestion.  

I chuckled then but I didn’t lose the lesson. I noticed that she said ‘first’. This wasn’t lost on me as it echoed all those old adages we have heard: ‘pay yourself first’, ‘put on your oxygen mask first and then assist those around you’. So many of us have a problem with putting ourselves first, yet it is the necessary thing to do if you are to thrive. Again, the saying goes – you can’t pour from an empty cup. Sure, there will be more bills to pay, unending work and responsibilities, but have you paused to check in on your own needs? It just might be time to give yourself a treat! 

And if we glance through the corporate lens: when you work hard with your team and you accomplish something, even a small breakthrough, remember to celebrate. Celebrate yourselves and celebrate your successes. A reward doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive either, it can simply be verbally highlighting what you have achieved. My friend Carole sent me a note recently with this quote from Ralph Marston, “Reward yourself for your discipline and persistence by feeling truly good about what you’re able to get accomplished.” 

Why not make that part of your daily life – feeling good and celebrating what you have accomplished. And start treating yourself more. It’s an important act of motivation. Do it for yourself and do it for your team. You both deserve it! 

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© Arlene Amitirigala 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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