We all know people who live conditionally: I will play more golf when I retire; I will travel more when I get a raise; I will buy some nice clothes when I lose weight.
There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for achieving something special, whether it’s retirement or weight loss.
But there is also something powerful about treating yourself now. It is important to supplement the sticks with the carrots.
Make a list of small ways to treat yourself (a round of golf, an hour of uninterrupted reading, a weekday matinee movie). Pick the item that most sparks your interest right now.
Do the legwork. Where can I play golf? How much does it cost? What do I need? When can I go?
Be flexible. Is the course too far away? Consider a driving range.
Do it and then repeat several times. Experience your reward several times fitting it into your life as it is right now. Don’t quit your job. Don’t mortgage the house. Fit it into your existing life.
This is living unconditionally. This sends the message that you are worth it right now and right as you are. When you love someone unconditionally, they feel that and they benefit strongly. When you live unconditionally, you are inspired and confident, and people will respond to you in a positive way.
There is a side benefit to this that is central to career management in this tough market. The employers you target, the people you network with, and really most everyone you encounter will be anxious. Your ability to remain inspired and confident is very reassuring and puts you in a position of strength.
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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate recruiting and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citibank, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer, and Time Inc. She currently writes career columns for Portfolio.com and Vault.com and teaches Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
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