“The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.” — John Ruskin
You’ve probably heard of Warren Buffett’s Inner Scorecard and Outer Scorecard. In a nutshell, our outer scorecards measure our success relative to how others define success for us and what they think about us. Our inner scorecards, on the other hand, are how we measure and define success for ourselves based on the rules we’ve set for ourselves.
A lot of us are raised in environments where outer scorecards are valued. We want to be acknowledged by others for our merits. We know how well we did in school based on the grades we received. We gauge the success of our careers based on how many accolades we’ve accumulated over the years.
External rewards (our outer scorecards) play a vital role in helping us see ourselves somewhat objectively from an outsider’s point of view. They act as our pacers and points of reference—they can motivate us and help put things into perspective for us on our progress and cannot be disregarded.
However, we can easily fall into the trap of chasing external rewards when we put too much emphasis on our outer scorecards. We get so distracted by the shiny new promotion or additional revenue a project might bring us that we sometimes forget what our goal was in the first place.
We can get distracted by the fact that they are “rewards,” not noticing that they have taken us away from what we set out to do.
When we feel like we are chasing accolades instead of our dreams, it is time to take a step back and do some self-reflection. Are these rewards helping you move towards where (and who) you want to be?
This is why our inner scorecards can be more valuable than our outer scorecards most of the time.
Our goals are something personal to us. And while it is important to learn from the experiences and mistakes of others, we also need to learn from our own mistakes and experiences.
In the same way, defining what success means to us, and how we can measure it internally is necessary.
Try and ask yourself, "What would internal rewards look like for me?"
Is taking that new masterclass one of your hobbies or skills? Maybe it is time to book that flight and schedule a vacation with your loved ones. Or maybe you want to go backpacking alone somewhere exotic.
What would help you realign yourself with your purpose?
At the end of the day, rewards are tools. We use tools to help us achieve what we want and need to do. It doesn’t make sense to let those tools take control of our decisions.
Are your scorecards driving you to your goals? Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.