Instant gratification. Just the phrase pops a cupcake or a McDonalds hashbrown into my hand. Back in the days when I was a smoker, instant gratification was easy. I made a sale, finished a test, got a project done, had a break-through in sermon preparation, and boom. Cigarette. Which is frankly a ridiculous reward, and I knew it. What kind of reward cuts 8 minutes off my life?
The most common instant gratification for me these days is food. I close a new client, I get to eat lunch out. I'm sure the fact that I'm also the primary homemaker has something to do with this. Being responsible for the majority of the buying and preparing of food for the house means that one of the greatest ways I can celebrate is by not having to prepare and clean up after food. But there's more to it. There always is.
As I talked this through with my own coach, and as the coach of a more than a few clients who also struggle finding ways to celebrate success, the subject has so many facets. Sometimes its hard to hold ourselves as awesome enough to celebrate. Other times, it's our relationship to giving or family birthdays and such that gets in the way. The challenge is that we simply don't have ways to discern what celebration actually looks like for us in our real life instead of the reality that we are constantly sold in Snickers or Viagra commercials. Listening to our inner voices, our instincts, our authentic selves is not really something our consumer-driven culture wants us to do. But that is exactly what we must do in order to find truly rewarding instant gratification.
The question I'm sitting with right now is this: What are the rewards I can create that are instant gratification without sabotage?
Mountaintop Perspective: What's your instant gratification? How does it call your best self forward? How does it increase your awesome? What is the relationship between an instant reward and your values or bliss?