Thank you!

It's OK to pat yourself on the back

If you’re like some professionals, almost nothing beats the feeling of being recognized for a job well done. But have you ever stopped to thank yourself for your everyday accomplishments? Colette Phillips, president and CEO of Needham, Massachusetts-based Colette Phillips Communications, a diversity marketing firm, counts this “attitude of gratitude” as her daily mantra.

“By appreciating my efforts, I am affirming myself and my abilities,” says Phillips, who treats herself to a home session with a professional masseuse every Friday night. After closing three lucrative deals last year, she took a two-week vacation to Italy. “I’ve found that doing this for myself actually helps me to do the same for my staff.”

Maybe you haven’t incorporated this practice into your life for fear of sounding conceited. “This isn’t about proclaiming your greatness to the world or thinking you’re better than anyone else,” says Patrick L. Townsend, a leadership consultant and author of Recognition, Gratitude & Celebration (Crisp Publications, $12.95). “It’s about privately acknowledging good work-and encouraging yourself to keep producing it.”

Everyone likes a pat on the back from time to time. Here are some easy but meaningful ways to make all your hard work “pay off.”

  • “Bribe” yourself. At the start of any project at work, promise yourself a treat, such as your favorite cigar or a pair of earrings you’ve had your eyes on. “When you have a reward waiting for you, you’ll want to work that much harder to achieve it,” says Townsend.
  • Track your accomplishments. “Every night, I write down at least one thing I did well that day,” admits Phillips. Buy a special journal (and a nice pen, if you like) to keep track of the good work you do on the job. You’ll be more likely to keep it up.
  • Keep your “thank yous” timely. “Treat yourself immediately after the deserving deed whenever possible,” advises Townsend. This helps you feel the maximum impact of what you’ve accomplished and you’ll enjoy the prize even more.
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