(Didn't have any fresh carrots...)
It seems to me that, when it comes to motivation methods, many spankos belong to the whip faction rather than the carrot faction. Which means that many fellow kinksters seem to motivate themselves through rules and objectives in combination with the prospect of being punished when falling short of the agreed expectations and standards. I already explained in earlier posts why this approach doesn't work for me at all.
The reason is that I have very high expectations of myself, anyway, and that I tend to push myself too much even without the additional threat of a punishment. One member of my inner team already is a strict lady with a whip, who only has eyes for the goals I am supposed to achieve. She makes sure that I always come out on top of every exam or project. The problem with her is that she doesn't care too much about how I feel. So, I try to teach her that my well-being is at least as important as my work output. And while she is appreciated as a part of my inner team, she has to function as a team member and do her job in collaboration with the other team members who make sure that I live out my creative streak as well and tell me how to take good care of myself. Discipline agreements would be very counterproductive in this process.
That's why I very much prefer to work with carrots in order to motivate me. I know that I need some time to relax after a difficult project in order to recharge my batteries. And so I motivate myself with the positive pictures of how cool it will be when I will have achieved my goals and take a wonderful time-out afterwards. But even that approach can become dangerous when it turns too much into a strict "first work then fun" paradigm. I already told you in an earlier post that this is the Protestant work ethic I have been raised with. I still find this approach generally fine, but taking it to the extreme would mean that one is only allowed to feel good and have fun when all the work is done, and done perfectly. Thus, the carrot turns into a whip.
I am in such a situation right now. As I mentioned in recent posts, Ludwig and I haven't seen each other in quite a while. It's been more than four weeks now. The reason is that I am in the final stage of a project and my work requires lots of attention right now. So I told Ludwig that we would better not see each other until the project is finished. My plan was to take a week off afterwards and enjoy an intense time with Ludwig without any distraction from work.
But, as usual with projects, the finish date had to be postponed several times. The project won't be over before next weekend. According to my plan, that would have meant no trip to the Oktoberfest this year. Still, I accepted that, my eyes firmly fixed on the carrot of being free soon and sharing a full relaxing week with Ludwig. I have been running on low batteries for quite some time and I know that I need some time off, soon. Especially because another important task awaits me. One that I can't ignore. Basically, it is about making sure that I can still buy myself carrots next year.
Then it happened: That other, second task has suddenly popped up earlier than expected. So, no week off after my current project is finished. When it happened, I suddenly felt like a mountain climber who has only enough energy left for what she thought were the last meters to the mid-station where she could take an energizing meal at a panoramic restaurant. And all of a sudden she becomes aware that the end of the cliff isn't near yet, that it is many more meters to the safe alpine meadows. That's when I realised that I didn't have enough energy left. I felt like I started slipping, rocks breaking loose beneath me, and I was scared of falling.
But instead of simply sticking to my plan and pushing myself forward as I most probably would have done in the old days, I took a moment to breathe and thought about possible new solutions given the unexpected changes. And I realised that I can't wait until the current project is over. I need my carrot now! Without the energy, I won't make it to the finish line. And, let's face it, if you want to convince someone that they should pay for your carrots, you better look like a winner horse and not like an old mare that will break down any minute. Another reason to change plans and get some energy now.
That means I am going to meet Ludwig on Tuesday. I can hardly put into words what a relief it was to finally make that decision. I will work on my current project and on my task to make sure that I can still buy myself carrots next year from his place. But, I will also take off a few hours every day and spend leisure time with Ludwig. I hope the weather will be fine so that we can go on some walks and spend time outside. I am sure we will have great food as well. Plus, we will go to the Oktoberfest! I am quite confident that these carrots will carry me through the next weeks, until both of my tasks are finished. And then there will hopefully be some more time for a proper holiday.
I have to admit, I am very proud that I put my well-being over my usual working paradigm and over sticking to my plan. I think relying on certain approaches in life is fine. It gives orientation and stability. For me, the approach is the carrot, for others it's the whip. But I have learned from past experiences that one should not put theoretical approaches or ideals over one's well-being. In case of doubt, trusting one's gut feeling seems to be much healthier than blindly sticking to paradigms. It's not easy, but I think it's extremely deliberating!
Still, it is funny to see how different possible motivation strategies generally are. My approach is the carrot. One of my carrots is the whip, though, and the hand, and the cane, and... How about you? Are you a carrot or a whip type? Or maybe a bit of both?