What Happened When I Realised That Standards Matter


Have you ever made a promise to yourself that you didn’t keep? Like the time I promised myself I wouldn’t eat chocolate for a week. Sounded good on Monday, but my willpower had plummeted by morning tea Friday. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a Tim Tam!

“What’s the big deal?” I hear you say (especially Tim Tim lovers amongst us). Consider this… If you want to be known as a professional, are your habits aligning to your vision? How you do the little things are a representation of how you do the big things. Think about it, where else does a lack of commitment show up in your life?


You and I both know that when you give yourself a ‘get out of jail free’ card there’s a split second of relief. You make up a whole range of ‘reasons’ (aka excuses) as to why you made the right decision. Any of these familiar?

  • I’m too tired.
  • I worked hard all day, I deserve some time out.
  • Who’s going to know anyway, I only made that promise to myself.


Or maybe it’s bigger than that, a long list of plans to improve yourself, and they all start tomorrow?

  • Like the diet that starts on ‘Monday’.
  • Or the course that you’ll enrol in when the kids get older?
  • Or the job you want to apply for but are just too ‘busy’ to find the time to write the application?


Big mistake! “Why is it a mistake?” you might ask. This is what I have learnt:

When we have self-awareness we know the truth. It’s a differentiator. Moving us from being an amateur to a professional (Steven Pressfield has written a book about this called “Turning Pro”. I highly recommend reading it, best couple of hours investment of time you’ll spend if you are serious about raising your standards).

It’s breaking the promises we make to ourselves that are the worst kind to break. Because when that happens, we lose trust with ourselves. And the flow on effect of low trust shows up in other areas – uncertainty, doubt, fear, self-sabotage. These feelings hold us back from being the best versions of ourselves we deserve to be.

We need to build a belief in ourselves that we are a person of our word. And the best way to strengthen that belief is to find evidence of it every day. Which means we need to live it every day. Stick to your commitments. Get up earlier. Read that book. Make that phone call. Apply for that job. Finish that course.

Stop running away from your fear and face it. You won’t self-combust.

It’s quite simple to set standards. It’s not easy to live by them. Why? Because following the standards you set is hard work. It takes discipline. It takes commitment.

And the pay off? When you make the decision to live by your standards, life becomes simple. You do as you say, and say as you do. There is only congruence between who you are and who you say you want to be. And with this, you will become someone who trusts and believes in your ability to do anything. With that thinking, the sky is the limit!

For me personally, holding myself accountable to the standards I have set has filled me with a stronger feeling of certainty within myself. And the ripple effect of that is now showing up in my business, my relationships and my life in general. It’s pretty phenomenal.


This article originally appeared in the Successful Coach Magazine, November 2016


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