Higher Standards & Greater Expectations

In both my professional and family life, my primary goal is to set a high standard of expectation for myself and the people God has surrounded me with. I take this responsibility very seriously. Sometimes too much so. But the fact of the matter is no one succeeds without someone else caring about him or her. With this in mind I want to address the leader in all of us, regardless of roles or titles.

In all the places that we interact -family, school, the community, and yes, even the office or virtual office -one conspicuous change has occurred within most of our lifetimes: all the commonly accepted standards for our skills and behavior and our kid's skills and behavior have fallen drastically. Less is expected, and, in turn, less is received. Times have changed. What an understatement. I cannot believe how much change my generation has seen. I can only imagine the future generations will see.

I understand that we need to adapt. But to think we need to lower our standards and expectations because society has told us that it is not politically correct or good for a person's self-esteem to expect too much from them, asking them to go the extra mile -maybe work an extra day or two if they have not achieved their goal -is ludicrous. Being too politically correct has focused our attention on things such as self-esteem" rather than on substantive sources of pride like achievement or responsibility.

As leaders, we cannot blind ourselves to the truth out of the fear that some may find it offensive; and it is especially inexcusable to do so when the stakes are so high. We need to set high standards and we need to expect people to achieve them. That is the essence of leadership.

Is the reason we are not willing to hold people to a higher standard because we are not willing to hold ourselves to a higher standard? I know that in my life, whenever I have failed, it has been for that reason. Let's do our best to get rid of that excuse from our personal and professional lives. 

We need to care about the people who look to us as leaders and role models. Real caring does not mean always saying what is popular or easy. It means making decisions that may not be easy and popular today, but that will reap great long-term benefits. 

So, as we move forward with a clean slate, or canvas, if you will, on which we are going to paint the vision of our lives for the next 6 months, one year, 5 years, what is your life going to be like? 

Is your vision CRYSTAL CLEAR? Are your values clear? 

Does your life have meaning? Will you work for something higher than yourself? Do you need answers? According to Carlos Santana, "The mind is the house of questions and the heart is the house of answers." Only YOU can find the answers for your life. Your attitudes determine your happiness . Have you prepared for obstacles and suffering? How are you going to deal with it? If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.

Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete. The way in which we accept our fate and all suffering entails, the way in which we take up our cross, gives us ample opportunity -even under the most difficult circumstances -to add deeper meaning to our lives. 

Why am I getting a little deep here? Because I understand the connection between business and personal. Cause and effect.

If we all have higher standards and greater expectations for ourselves and the people we surround ourselves with ... success in business will be guaranteed. More importantly, our individual lives will have meaning.

I leave you with this thought from Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning:

"Don't aim at success -the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued ; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself."