“What’s in it for me” isn’t so bad…is it?

While exploring different parts of self-leadership, I stumbled across this particular definition and it resonated with me. Self-leadership was defined as “a self-influence process and set of strategies that address what is to be done (standards and objectives) and why (strategic analysis), as well as how it is to be done…[it] incorporates intrinsic motivation (interest or enjoyment in the task) and has an increased focus on cognitive process” (Source unknown).

Instead of rolling out a long list of do’s and don’ts, I thought I’d break my thoughts down into smaller chunks to consider. The first of these “chunks” of the self-leadership paradigm surrounds internal forces. An understanding of internal forces requires the examination of natural reward, thought self-leadership, emotion regulation, and personality. For the moment, I will look at natural rewards.

Whether it’s work or volunteer service, a decision has to be made whether or not to pursue a particular activity. It’s okay to be altruistic, yet in doing so, I offer this question in advance of the decision: what natural rewards are in place? Internal forces are those forces driving our intuition; namely, our intrinsic motivation inthe form of the question, “What’s in it for me?” I forward the notion that examining natural rewards are a part of making this decision.

At the same time, instead of asking youself “what’s in it for me,” try considering what rewards occur in the activity as a natural part of completing the activity. One personal example of this is my volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America, which gives me a sense of working for an organization that helped make me become the man I am today.

I feel good about helping boys attain the abilities, knowledge, and skills learned through scouting, knowing one day these skills will become a part of their personal and professional lives. This is my natural reward. This is a reward I do not find in other personal and professional areas of my life.

So, the next time you need to make a decision or choice about an activity, ask yourself, “What sense of reward will I receive once I complete this activity?” Consider making this one of the internal forces guiding your decisions.