Happy Hump Day! On Monday, I wrote a post called “prioritize yourself,” which focused on the importance of setting aside personal time for yourself so that you can approach your projects refreshed and energized. In addition to setting aside time for yourself, it’s also important to take time to reward yourself. How many of us - including the many subscribers and readers I heard from who related very strongly to the last post - don't reward ourselves enough? I know I sure don't!
Do you remember growing up as a kid in school? Can you remember the names of the teachers you liked the best or who had the strongest impact on you? I can remember about a handful of my teachers and their classrooms vividly because they were the ones who created the richest learning environments. They operated their classrooms not with a system of punishments for mistakes but with a system of rewards and encouragement for growth. Don’t get me wrong; there are two teachers I remember distinctly who operated on a system of punishment, and none of my friends - to this day - have anything worthwhile to say about them. We're respectful, but it became clear fairly quickly that they'd become people we considered unworthy of our time and precious oxygen.
So why do certain teachers stick out in our minds? More often than not, the teachers we have the fondest memories of are the ones who forgave our mistakes and encouraged our growth. They often reminded us that our first draft was never going to be our best and that editing and rewrites, correcting and learning from our mistakes, was the most important part of the process. People respond better and are more willing to learn and grow when they're given choices, options, and encouragement. Punishments often deter growth instead of encouraging it because they often instill disbelief in oneself instead of confidence.
It’s important to reward yourself when you’ve worked hard, and it’s important to reward yourself when you’ve failed and learned from your mistakes. You’re going to make an infinite number of mistakes in life; the whole point is to avoid making the same ones over and over. Growth happens when you can see what didn’t work and then make the adjustments to avoid that same faulty pattern of behavior.
When I first started doing improv, I would get in my head and replay scenes over and over until I could figure out why something didn’t work. But as with growth in any arena, when you’ve been doing something for an extended period of time, you’re able to figure out your mistakes much more quickly. There’s a learning curve to every new thing in life. You’re never going to be the best you can be at something when you first start out, but when you pause and reflect back over the extended period of time you’ve been doing it, it’s important to reward yourself for your hard work and growth.
Do you have anything you like to do as a reward to yourself? I like to give myself a night off to socialize with my friends or take a day trip to the beach. I love the feeling of the sand in between my toes and the ocean waves washing up on my ankles. I’m a passionate advocate for appreciation of the little things. Those little moments of the Pacific cooling my feet or the sound of the waves crashing in my ears is the perfect kind of reward… usually while reading some Keats or eating some ice cream. Reward yourself, encourage your own growth, and your confidence will build.
Thank you so much for reading, and, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further with me, please subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so grateful you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really challenging questions, great feedback from a community all over the world, and some exciting growth opportunities! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! I’m here for you, and I love hearing from you, too! You’re the best, and you have everything you need inside of you! Please believe it! Starve your ego, feed your soul - and follow your heart! And feel free to share anything that inspires you!