Bribe your way to success

Clients often tell me that they don’t feel motivated to do business development work. Although I understand on one level, it surprises me every time simply because I don’t believe that any successful person relies on motivation to succeed.

Motivation is a transient emotion that typically doesn’t last through the tough, make-or-break spots. I often wasn’t motivated to study during law school–or college or high school–but I did it anyway because I knew that studying was necessary to reach my objectives. I don’t remember ever being motivated to brush my teeth (except when I purchased my nifty Sonicare toothbrush, and that novelty passed quickly) but I do it at least twice a day because I value my teeth.

Undertaking business development activity falls into a similar category: motivation is a nice bonus, not sufficient fuel to get it done. Ideally, some activities are such a good fit for you that you enjoy them, or at least you don’t mind them. Others you may dread. And that’s where bribing your way to success comes in.

A recent Harvard Business Review Blog describes four kinds of rewards to help you complete tasks you dread. The categories are:

1. Regenerative: a reward that recharges your body and brain
2. Productive: the reward of work you enjoy
3. Concurrent: a reward that you enjoy while doing the dreaded task, likely one that doesn’t require a lot of concentration
4. Cumulative: a fund you pay into when you complete a large and dreaded project
Read the blog post to get ideas about rewards in each category, and then create your own list of compelling rewards. Bribe yourself to complete business development tasks you don’t enjoy, and each bribe will help you to build the practice you want.
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