Growing up, I always believed that hard work paid off. To instill this ethic in me, my parents assigned me chores in exchange for an allowance, which I spent on fuzzy stickers and nail polish.

Now that I’m a full-fledged 20-something, not much has changed. I still spend my money on nail polish and I work towards my goals on a daily basis.  When I’m feeling discouraged, I remind myself of one of my most important lessons that I’ve had in my career so far.

Kendra Hagerman Scotiabank

Mother Knows Best

At the beginning of my fashion writing career, I was struggling to get my foot in the door and it seemed that the only emails arriving in my inbox were polite declines, or worse yet, nothing at all. I would leave my desk at my day job and go directly to the desk in my home office. I sent hundreds of emails, researched, studied, networked and refused to give up.

After a few tears, an intense workout or two and plenty of chocolate, I landed my first major article contract. I was ecstatic, and more importantly, I proved to myself what I believed in: work long enough and hard enough, and your efforts will pay off.

When I shared the news with my mother, she asked me how I was going to celebrate. A celebration hadn’t even occurred to me; I was already focusing on my next goal and how I was going to achieve it. After discussing the importance of reflecting, celebrating, and rewarding yourself, I decided I was going to buy myself the Diane Von Furstenberg purse that I had looked at longingly for months.

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Road Trip

My sister and I got up early on a Saturday morning and made the trip to Toronto. As soon as we entered the store, I bolted towards the purse section. I rarely let myself splurge on a big-ticket item, but after months of persistence and focus, I knew that I deserved it. I didn’t bother to consider other items as my reward; this purse was a symbol of what I had been working for.

Under the bright department store lights, I purchased the object of my style obsession. To most people, it was just a purse; to me, it was a daily reminder of my dedication. Every time I swung it over my shoulder, I was reminded of my drive and determination; every time I unzipped the smooth zipper, I knew why I was working 70-hour work weeks; and every time I touched the buttery leather, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

These days, my purse shows a few signs of wear: the leather is comfortably worn in, the remnants of a pen explosion speckle the lining, and some of the stitching on the strap is barely hanging on. But that doesn’t bother me; no matter how old my purse gets, I’ll still wear it with pride because I earned it.

Take it From Me

Slowing down long enough to reward yourself is important.  No matter how driven you are, stopping to celebrate your success will reinforce your hard work and provide the motivation to continue on. Whether it’s a coffee, a walk in the sun, a designer purse, or fuzzy stickers, rewarding yourself for a job well done is important at every age.

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Top: Thrift Store Score.  Necklace (top) H&M (bottom) c/o Loft.  Bag: Diane Von Furstenberg.
Pants: BCBG Maxazria.  Shoes: J. Crew.

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Scotiabank.

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