I always have interesting conversations and incredible people watching episodes when I’m at the airport. I listen and observe, I engage and I observe some more. At one airport, I was waiting for a flight and we were delayed so many times that it was almost a game to see when the app and the actual board in front of us would match as to the newest departure time. There was a woman standing next to me. She was well-dressed and was friendly enough. We were sharing some travel stories and then we got to “what do you do?” I told her I was an Executive Coach, a speaker, trainer, radio show host and author. She asked who I worked with and I gave her that information. I of course turned the conversation to her and asked what she did. She worked for a large organization and had been there for many years… “After all, why should I leave? I get paid, don’t have to do too much and I get to do some traveling.” The conversation went on for a bit and she mentioned that she had never had a coach but her boss swears by them. Of course I needed to probe a little more and she told me, without any hesitation, she had never and would NEVER hire a coach because she would be expected to work more and harder and that is not what she wants to do. It started me thinking about standards and how as entrepreneurs we need to set the bar higher than we can even imagine. People will choose to work with you if what you are offering them is the best quality or service to solve their problem.
The truth is most people don’t like high standards because they create a lot of work – especially the kind of work that nobody likes in the first place. In the real world, getting from good to great requires extraordinary efforts and high standards. It demands more time than you want, more energy than you have, and more cooperation than any normal person can be expected to contribute.
That’s IF you want high standards. If you are willing to settle for “good,” things can be much easier – and you can be much nicer. How about if we talk about standards…for instance what are they anyway?
Your standards define how you act, which, in turn, builds trust in your brand. They can be guidelines that describe your quality, your performance, your style or your systems. Standards must align with your mission, business objectives, and leadership, and be implemented consistently.
What about our own personal standards? Are they written on a wall for all to see? Not necessarily, but think about this; personal standards are what separates the highest achievers from everyone else. Personal standards are nothing more than a set of behaviors. These behaviors are built upon expectations you have of yourself in a variety of situations. Your personal standards are reflected in how you treat yourself, and also in how you treat other people. They are also reflected in how you expect to be treated by other people. When you have high standards you expect to be treated with the highest of regard. However, when your standards are low it suggests that you are lacking in the self-esteem department. Remember though, no matter who your customer is, you shouldn’t change your standards to meet theirs.
Your personal standards are also reflected in the promises you keep, the way you show up, and are reflected in the quality of your work, values and communication. In fact, everything you do and say gives others an indication of the personal standards you live by. As women, we might have to work a little harder and set the bar a little higher to be treated on an equal playing field, and that’s ok. It’s just a little extra stretch…and we’re used to that.
Luckily, if you turn to entrepreneurship as a way to fulfil your potentials and meet your standards as well, there are so many valuable resources to learn from. No longer do we need to learn everything through trial and error! And that feeling that you’re not alone in your striving, that helps. Just recently I’ve interviewed Stefan Pretty, an interesting Scottish entrepreneur who created Subbly, a management software for subscription businesses. But what really inspired me is the way he shows a step-by-step approach (that’s what I love about it…plus it’s easy to follow) on how to start a subscription box, making that start line (which is often the most difficult one) as straightforward as possible. And once you actually start something, it becomes easier to continue evolving and also, raise the standards when you realize that goals were more achievable then you thought!
Speaking of which…Do you have goals that you would like to achieve? Have you ever considered that in order to achieve these goals that you must first raise your personal standards in certain aspects of your life? Setting low standards will only take you so far along your journey towards your goal. With low standards you will simply not put enough work, time, energy or resources into this goal. You will not be able to give this goal what it requires, and therefore you will end up not getting the results you truly want.
When you set high standards you immediately raise your expectations of what’s possible. You suddenly expect more from yourself, more from your actions, and more from others. And with a higher set of expectations you are willing to do more to get the results you’re after, and your performance level shoots straight up.
As Tony Robbins said, “Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.”
Don’t be like my airport buddy thinking that having a coach means others will expect more from you and that is a negative thing…after all, what is wrong with that?