Are you hoping things will change and you will eventually get to your “ideal,” or are you going to settle for nothing less than your standard? I recently received an amazing email from a friend. One of those emails filled with enthusiasm for a recently experienced ‘Eureka!’ moment that she was simply compelled to share. I’m so glad she did. After you read it I believe you may be equally glad she did. Because you see,
If we’re going to get down into the trenches and get the job done… the real business of the business… then we better start out with a clear idea of where the target is and what it looks like.
And Margie shares about that right here: Subject: I get it! I get it! I GET IT!!! Have you ever been taught the same thing over and over, but then one day—BAMit really sinks in? Like it took hearing it from several different sources and put in many different ways for you to finally “get” it? NULL Well that’s what happened to me. Though I have learned this lesson before, finallyfinallyit sunk in. I mean really sunk in. My life will never be the same.
So what lesson am I referring to? The difference between having a standard and having an ideal.
A few days ago I had HAD it with my daughter’s room. She was having a birthday party in a few days, and it was important that she get her room clean, so I set her to the task while I went and made some phone calls. I told her that if it was not done when I came back, I would clean her room, and she wouldn’t be happy with the result (i.e. I would throw away all of her possessions!). Well, I came back, and it wasn’t done, so I got out the shovel. I literally went through every corner and gathered armfuls of trash, broken toys, dirty clothes, books, art projects, jewelry, hair stuff, scattered shoesit was really disgusting. And the whole time I was kicking myself for being a bad mother and letting her let it get this bad. I have always felt like the kids’ rooms were their domain and that they should be responsible for how they live there. I make them clean the rest of the house (so it’s not like they don’t know how to clean!), and I guess I was just hoping the lessons would spill over into their rooms. Not so with my daughter! I was mad at her and disappointed that she would let it get this baduntil I realized it was actually my fault for not teaching her correct principles. I never taught her how to care for her roomhow could I expect her to know what to do? She is only 8 years old. So when we were done, she and I sat down and I wrote out a list of standards for her room. The list included things like: Clothes belong in the closet, the hamper, or the drawer. Shoes belong in the closet. Toys only go on the floor when someone is playing with them. Unless you are sleeping in it, the bed should be made. etc. After that, I made two checklistsone for morning and one for bedtimeto get her in the habit of checking the state of her room against the standards (checklists are nothing new in our housewe use them all the time and love them!). Finally, I made her an accountability chart, which she has to sign each morning and bedtime, to indicate that she followed the checklist and her room is up to spec. So far, it has worked beautifully! This experience got me to thinking about the power of standards. I thought,
“Good grief, I need to write up standards for everything in my life!” I felt I needed to develop a measuring stick that says, “This is the minimum I expect in this area.”
I started making a list of all the rooms in my house, and my mind started churning about how they should look. Then I started expanding my ideas beyond the house and into things like my physical appearance, my relationships, my daily life, my business, my energy level, my financial condition…I was on fire! And then it hit me…
Suddenly I realized the motivating power of a standarda power far stronger than an ideal.
Like I said, this was not the first time I have learned this. T. Harv Eker, author of “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” calls this principle your “thermostat.” The temperature in a room is determined by the thermostatthe setting of what the temperature should beand it is so powerful that even when conditions temporarily change (a blast of cold air or sweltering heat), it will work to bring the temperature in the room back to the setting on the thermostat. The only way to make a permanent change, he says, is to change the setting. Harv uses this analogy when referring to finances and having a “millionaire mindset”that is, an expectation of being a millionaire, being financially free, etc. Many home-based business gurus teach their associates to have this same expectation. “Expect success and you will get it,” you will often hear them say. But I never “got” that concept. I had a hard time believing it because I could point to example after example of times when something turned out differently than I expected. I think what made it click for me now is simply applying a new word to the same concept: standard.
A standard is something that is usual, normal, average, common. The standard is the natural state of things.
What made it really sink in, though, was when I compared it to a word I had been using instead: ideal. An ideal is something you work toward but never really get. In fact, dictionary.com goes as far as saying an ideal is “something that exists only in the imagination.” So all this time, all my affirmations, all my personal development, all my house cleaning, all my working out, all my financial decisions were based on something that could never happen!
My reality was, in fact, my standard.
Look at it this way. Every single aspect of your life is governed by the standards you set for yourself.
If you are in a relationship that you’re unhappy with, and you remain in that relationship, it’s because the relationship meets your minimum standards. Even victims of abuse will use this logic: “Well, at least he doesn’t beat me” or “Well, at least he only beats me and not the kids.” The very fact that they use the words “at least” is an indication of where they draw the line. If you’re in a house you don’t like, if the house you live in is not as clean as you’d like, if your kids are not behaving the way you’d like, if you don’t make as much money as you’d like, if your body does not look the way you’d like it toit’s simply because your current state is somehow “acceptable” or “good enough” for right now.
Once you raise your standards and your current state is no longer acceptable to you, all the force of the Universe will conspire to deliver what you desire!
This is why studies have shown that the number one factor of success is the expectation of success. This is why kids who grow up with money end up making a lot of money. This is why the only thing required to succeed is the decision to do so! Since this powerful realization, my life, my marriage, my home, my relationship with my kidseverythinghas changed in a tangible way. So take a look at your life. Are you hoping things will change and you will eventually get to your “ideal,” or are you going to settle for nothing less than your standard? All it takes is the decision. Suddenly I feel I can accomplish anything! Suddenly I my dreams feel like reality! Suddenly the burdens and “overwhelm” of my life have vanished! I get it, I get it, I GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!! :o)