I heard a powerful thought from Ben Newman, mental toughness coach for the University of Alabama, Kansas State University, multiple corporate clients, and pro athletes.
He said, “Operating below our standard results in issues.”
A basic, yet powerful truth.
Something we ALL know and see pop up in our own lives.
We all have standards or ideals.
We all fail at times at one or more of those standards or ideals.
Operating habitually in a way that is below those standards or ideals eventually leads to ‘issues’.
You know how you should eat. If you continually do NOT eat that way, eventually you’ll become obese and develop type 2 diabetes or heart disease or some other thing.
You know how you should handle money. If you continually do NOT watch your finances, you’ll eventually end up in debt and experience the stress and pain that can come from that.
You know how you should handle your spouse or children. If you continually do NOT act with love or service toward them, you’ll eventually experience distance in your relationships and possibly divorce or longterm strain with your children.
You’ve seen it in others and possibly in yourself. You know this is the natural course of things. Just like not mowing your lawn or washing your car or dusting the shelves, eventually things just get gross.
How Do We Operate Below Standard?
We either actively avoid operating by the standard, or we drift.
Sometimes, we simply fail to be intentional about attacking the standard. We do not prioritize certain areas of our lives and all the sudden look up and realize issues have arisen.
Other times, we actively avoid the standard. This can be out of fear or out of bitterness or out of some sort of self-destructive need for immediate gratification.
Either way, issues will start showing up.
How do we maintain the standard so that we avoid the development of adverse issues or circumstances?
First, there are times when others’ choices have the potential to create issues. If that’s the case, then be extremely honest with yourself about how you’re responding to that person.
If there’s a ‘responsibility pie’ and their slice is 99% of the pie and yours is 1%, then absolutely own 100% of your 1%. Begin your focus there.
Normally, if we’re honest, our operating below standard is a result of our own neglect or our own choices.
Therefore, the antidote is what is becoming my philosphy for effectively engaging your life:
- Clarity: Get clear on what you want and what your priorities are and what your standards are in the key areas of life.
- Courage: Find the courage to begin taking action. This part is tough and can be a major hang up. But if you’re clear, then you’ll know what you’re shooting for. The courage might require coaching, accountability, counseling, or some other outside resource, but you’ll at least be able to be honest with yourself.
- Focus: Stick with the plan. Daily. Over and over. Attack the process, as Mr. Ben Newman likes to say. Here again, you might need some outside help in ferreting out and building out your environment to remove and minimize distractions so you can focus.
It’s not easy. It’s relatively simple. But never easy.
Nothing new or groundbreaking from a knowledge standpoint, but absolutely powerful.
New knowledge is highly over-rated.
Execution on old, simple truth is highly under-rated.
Go attack and work on finding and living to the standards. If you’re struggling finding a standard, may I recommend Scripture as a very fine place to start?