What’s In It For Me?

Or…why I should ask myself this question often, especially when I decide to do nothing…

“What’s in it for me?”

This is a question you need to ask yourself many times per day. It seems very direct, very raw, very… un-British.

Well, what’s is in it for me?

The raise, the promotion, the bonus, the whatever-it-is.

It’s good to know what you will get for what you do.

It’s positive…

We tend to think of what we get as the reward for an action. And we usually direct the question to others, because they are doing the giving…

But let’s turn it around…

Here’s one from my early days in self-employment…

I need to make twenty cold calls per day.


What’s in it for me?

“Well, I will find clients and that will be good because then I’ll be able to pay my bills.”

Hmmmm…OK. The snowy peaks of Maslow’s Pyramid are hardly being penetrated with that are they?

I hated making those calls and sometimes I didn’t make them because I didn’t want to. Then the next day I’d ask myself again – What’s in it for me?

“Well, I will find clients and that’s good and it will get my business going and”…yeah, yeah, yeah.

Some days I got it really right (although it took about three years) – I’ll get lots of clients, then money, giving less stress, less pressure, more freedom, a self-sustaining business making money without me turning up, financial freedom….weeeee-heeeee….you know the trajectory.

Great and positive stuff indeed.

So far so obvious…

OK. Here’s the bit I’ve been missing…


I think I’ll say that again because it looks good here on my screen – I NEVER ASKED MYSELF WHAT WAS IN IT FOR ME WHEN I CHOSE TO SUBMIT TO MY FEARS AND NOT DO WHAT I KNEW I HAD TO.

We never judge the status quo…

But we should, because there is something in the status quo for you. It’s just that it’s usually a bit rubbish. If we liked the status quo we’d still be living in caves.

Let’s try it…

“I am not going to make those calls because I don’t want to. I am not comfortable doing it and I hate it. This task is like a millstone around my neck…”

“What’s in that for me?”

Well what’s in that for me is the destiny of those other wild-eyed dreamers who pursue the siren call of self-employment – 70 hours weeks and a mediocre salary. Spending more and more time doing the same stuff in the vain belief that doing more of what doesn’t work will miraculously turn out to be the stuff that does work! No, no, no, no, no…..

I love Mondays…

OK it’s another Monday. I don’t know about you but it felt like yesterday when I sat down and planned this year. It’s now October 10th. Wot?

I’ve been using the “what’s in it for me?” technique when faced with the less glam tasks for five weeks now and it really works.

It’s allied to the question I ask my coaching clients in goal setting – “what bad stuff will be avoided if you achieve your goal?” But it’s a wee bit punchier than that.

We conceptualise the good stuff that flows from positive action pretty easily. But we struggle to crystallise the bad stuff that will come from our inaction.

So – what to do?

There are consequences to everything we do, including deciding to not do something.

Starting now…when you find yourself taking avoiding action on something you know you should do but don’t want to and you’re getting comfortable with that decision…ask yourself…

“This decision to do nothing – what’s in it for me?

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