“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In 2006, the baseball team of which I was a part won its district championship. For the school, it was their first district title in school history (in any sport!). Personally, after finishing as a district runner-up in high school three times as a player, it was my first baseball district championship.
After the trophy presentation, team photos, and lots of celebration, if you were looking for the trophy, odds are that it was wherever I was. I held onto that thing like some sort of vice grip. I actually kept it on display in my apartment for a period of time before returning it to be placed in the school’s trophy case. For me, it felt like a validation for all the years coming up short. The trophy was the reward, and I felt like I needed it to say I had done something well or accomplished something.
As I reflect back on that season and some of the subsequent championships that I have been a part of, I believe Emerson had it right. I never remember the trophy. I remember the smiles on the players faces; I remember the excitement of the parents and fans; I remember being a part of it. I No trophy or medal could ever take the place of those memories and being there for all of it.
Recognition and praise seem to be motivating factors for why people choose to do certain acts. What will I get in return? This is a common question often heard when we ask for assistance with something. You may even see a person act one way in private, then put on a façade in public because they will be seen or noticed.
Those who have some personal agenda will actively seek praise or adulation for their accomplishments. If our motivation is in serving others, then credit doesn’t matter. We will not latch on to the trophy. The reward will the process of doing the job in the first place.
My challenge to you for today or the coming week is to do something for someone solely because it is in the best interest of that person, not because of a personal agenda. I think you will come to find that the rewards from doing that will far outweigh any trophy, ribbon, or medal that you might receive.
Start today. Put others first. You will be happy you did.
Bring your best today!