Who doesn’t love a little recognition for a job well-done? Well, I don’t, but then again, I do. Well, it depends. Okay, which is it? Good question! I can remember being a Junior Olympic Gymnast standing up on the podium to receive my medal, my award, but feeling self conscious and wanting nothing more than to step down. Was I happy I had done well? Of course. Did I want to win? Yes, but the joy was in the competing for me. Being the best felt good, but it seemed embarrassing to stand up there and get an award. To me, it was like standing above them and saying, “I’m better than you.” That’s just something I’m not programmed to do. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that!! Champions, winners and 1st place finishers, I applaud you. I’m probably jumping up and down on the front row with tears running down my cheeks! I’m just more comfortable applauding. I’m the person who wants everyone to do well and have fun. I like to win, I even like to perform and participate, don’t ever doubt that, but I want to do it gracefully. Awards are, well, awkward.
So fast forward forty (holy moley, that is not a typo) years. Nothing has changed. I got an award at work for being a Top Producer. Did I want to be a top producer? Not just yes, but hell yes. When my name was called, I was happy and relieved, but I had that same feeling of timidity. Am I still shy? Um… not even a little tiny wee bit. It’s easy for me to have lunch with someone I’ve never met, stand up and speak in front of strangers, or stick out my hand and introduce myself to someone who seems unsure, or nervous in a crowd, but being singled out publicly for an accomplishment still makes me blush. I’ve got a shelf full of work awards at the office, but they’re kinda stuck behind the photos and stuff one collects. I’m embarrassed when someone comments on them. Why? Those same reasons, I guess.
I’ve decided that there is a huge difference between an Award and a Reward. I recently won a contest at work for bringing in the second largest percentage of new business during a specified time period. I got a $300 gift card. I was surprised and thrilled! For some reason, that felt different. It was a reward, not an award. I find awards kind of useless. Tennis trophies get donated pretty much as soon as I win them. The only ones I’ve kept are the useful ones and those are usually engraved beer steins or wine glasses. Those are cool! They serve a purpose, and aren’t just a “look at me” item. I drink out of them in private and they’re rarely used when we’ve got company. I get to enjoy them, and why I got them.
Sometimes, I even give myself a reward. Like, for losing weight. I told myself that when I hit the 30 pound mark, I’d buy myself another pair of boots. This is Texas after all! (SQUIRREL! I’m a native Texan and I have not worn cute boots since I was probably 8 and wouldn’t take my red ones off. Ranch boots, yes, but in the last 5 years, I’ve rediscovered the joy of a lovely pair of boots… Old Gringos to be exact) They’re an investment, let’s be honest, but they last pretty much forever. Well, I’ve lost 38 pounds and I was due a pair of boots. I’ve put it off because the choices are mind boggling and the price tags are (gulp) also mind boggling. I wanted a black pair. I have been to Allen’s more than once here in Austin, and that place is boot heaven. I’m picky though. I just ordered a pair of very sedate, black boots online, and on sale!
Why doesn’t this reward bother me? Here I stand, well, sit technically, and tell the world on this blog that I’ve done something pretty damned spectacular. I’ve done something I’m proud of. Well, I am and I’m not. That’s another blog. But I’m publicly stating that I’ve lost 38 pounds and by golly, I’ve just ordered a pair of Old Gringos. Maybe I’m only bothered when it’s a competition and by winning and getting an award, I’ve just been “better” than someone else. Here, I’m in competition with myself and I achieved something that I actually set out to do. No feelings got hurt along the way (except my own) and nobody got hurt. I doubt that anyone is sitting around wishing I hadn’t lost 38 pounds. If they are, well, in this case, I’m not sorry.
Am I crazy? Do you reward or award yourself?