2010 Career Challenge: V = Victories

By Skip Lineberg

You just crushed the sales pitch! And no one noticed.

You pulled three amazingly valuable insights out of a foot-high mound of research data! But you’ll never get one ounce of credit.

The new database application you programmed will save the company tens of thousands of dollars a year! Yet nobody expressed a word of thanks.

In the world of work, thousands of good deeds go unnoticed and unappreciated every day. In our lean, downsized, increasingly self-managed environment, there are fewer and fewer occasions where someone will be there (in person) to give you a pat on the back when you’ve done a great job. Yet, you are expected to do great things on a frequent basis. While that’s entirely backwards and rather sad, it is reality. So you’d better become darn good at high-fiving yourself… at patting yourself on the back.

As Steven Pressfield explains in his book, The War of Art, ““We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune, attention or applause.”

To be a top performer, you have to be committed. You have to be self-motivated. And you have to be smart enough to harness the power of self-praise. If you want to become a rock star, you need to get in the habit of celebrating your own victories. This habit—and it really is nothing more than a habit—is shared by the world’s top performers. It’s a trait common to all super-achievers, whether in business, entertainment, sports, education and so on.

When you give yourself praise, even though the words are emanating from you (be it spoken, whispered or silently pondered), your brain still processes the praise as a positive stimulus. The best of the best embrace this psychological tool and master the art of praising themselves.

Do you celebrate your victories, especially small victories, when nobody’s around? You should!

When I’ve done an A+ job … on a client project, a writing assignment, or accomplishing a fitness goal, I tell myself:  “Well done, Skip. That’s world-class!” If it’s an especially noteworthy achievement, I will sometimes carry it one step further and give myself a reward. Before anyone assumes that I’m buying myself lavish gifts, understand that, like small victories, I’ve come to appreciate small rewards too, such as a good cup of coffee, a magazine, or an iTunes download.

So…how do you reward yourself for a job well done? Please share your stories with us!

Note: This is Part 22 in a series called the “2010 Career Challenge: Becoming a Rock Star from A to Z” by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, co-authors of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.

Back to top