I am currently reading the The West Point Way of Leadership. It states that the best followers are self-motivated and they don’t always wait for people to tell them good job. In fact, a job well done should be its own greatest reward.
This chapter reminds me of a story from my own life...
When I was about in elementary school, I had a friend who’s dad gave him $5 for an A, $3 for a B, and $1 for a C. I thought this was great so I asked my dad if he would pay me for my good grades. He laughed and wisely told me that I am getting good grades for myself, not for him. You know what, he was right. I continued to get excellent grades so that I could work towards my goals and finding my dream job. I always found ways to reward myself for great efforts instead of seeking approval from my parents.
What do you think happened to my friend?
Well, once he got older and his dad didn't give him money anymore, his grades slipped once the reward was gone. This friend of mine totally lacked self-confidence in himself and displayed little self-motivation. He also developed a victim mentality and tended to blame circumstances for his difficulties. Instead of rising to the challenge, you would shrink to the situation.
Maybe, getting some money would have been great, but the valuable lesson, I learned about rewarding myself, was a hundred times more valuable.
The West Poin Way of Leadership is a brilliant book that I have been taking content from and teaching it to my leadership students.