Do You Have Standards?

The legendary Zig Ziglar said that “Success is a personal standard.” He explained that personal standards are like a personal constitution which are based on life principles and core values. 

 

Those personal standard become, or should become, the basis for making daily decisions. 

 

Do have have  personal standards? Can you articulate them when asked? Do you review them periodically to be certain you’re living up to them? Are you using them to guide yourself to the life you want and deserve?

 

If you answered “no” to some or all of those questions then here is one more…how the heck do you make decisions and choices that benefit you and those around you? 

 

Here are a few examples of what personal standards look like from Richard Templers’ best seller “Rules of Work.” 

 

  • I will not knowingly hurt or hinder another human being in the pursuit of my career.
  • I will not knowingly break any laws in the furtherance of my goals.
  • I will have a moral code that I will follow no matter what.
  • I will endeavor to provide a positive contribution to society by what I do for a living.
  • I will always try to give something back.
  • I will pass on freely and openly any skills, knowledge, or experience to anyone who could use them to benefit themselves.
  • I will not be jealous of anyone else’s success in the same industry.
  • I will question the long-term ramifications of what I do constantly.
  • I will play by the rules at all times.
  • I will carefully think things through before agreeing to do them.

Those are just examples. They are not the standards you need to live by but I think a lot of them would be pretty good standards for most anyone. But here is the deal….your standards are just that, YOURS. 

 

YOU have to decide what you will do and what you won’t do. Social norms will play a part. Laws will play a part. But most people know right from wrong without needing society or a judge to tell them. 

 

The bigger question is do you live by your standards? It’s a lot easier to say what your standards are than it is to live by them. But if you can’t even say them then you certainly can’t live by them.


Determining your personal standards takes some real effort and a substantial investment of time. It takes some serious self-reflection. But you’ll discover lifelong value in making that effort. Once you start using those standards to make decisions in your life then people around you will notice that value too.


You Only Might be Wrong

I love the story about the guy who gets a phone call from his wife while he’s driving himself home from work. His wife tells him to be extra careful because there are reports of someone driving on the wrong side of the road on his route home. 

 

He thanks her for the call but then says it’s not just one person driving the wrong way, it’s everyone but him.

 

I guess you could say he was a little over confident in his driving abilities. 

 

If you’re in a room with 100 people and 99 of them believe something different than you then you must come to grips with the reality that you could possibly be wrong. 

 

Possibly.

 

Okay, so it is very likely but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt depending on how you came to the conclusion that everyone else was wrong. 

 

If your conclusion is based on something you’ve “heard” or heaven forbid, something you’ve read on the internet or seen on TV then you need better facts to base your conclusions on. 

 

But if, if your conclusion is based upon your core values then I’m with you 100%. 

 

If your core values are based on doing what’s right, for yourself and all other people, then stand firm. If your core values are based on honesty, equality and doing what’s right then don’t be moved one inch. Not even by 99 other people. 

 

Authentic Leaders know that doing what’s right and doing what’s fair are often two different things. They do what’s right!

 

Authentic Leaders don’t assume they are right because of some title or position they hold. They don’t say wrong is right to be popular or to get someone’s vote.

 

Authentic Leaders know that wrong is wrong no matter how many people believe it or do it.


Whether you’re a leader or someone who wants to lead one day never succumb to pressure from others to sacrifice your core values. In fact if you do, I’d say they weren’t truly core values in the first place. 

Who Will You be Tomorrow?

You are changing. You change everyday. The events you’re involved in today change you. The people you associate with today change who you are tomorrow, big time. 

 

You are always in the process of becoming the person you will eventually be. The question is are you becoming that person intentionally or are you just letting that person develop by default? 

 

I guess the experts call what I’m writing about “Living Intentionally.” Since I’m not an expect I’ll just say that you’re a whole lot better off if you’re the one deciding the direction your life takes. 

 

Deciding the direction of your life does not happen by accident. It comes from making choices and decisions that get you closer to being the person you want to be. Step one is of course determining exactly who it is that you want to be. 

 

That sounds easy until you’re asked about your core values. Most people can’t state their core values off the top of their head. Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person. Core values dictate behavior. They can help you understand the difference between right and wrong. If you’re unaware of your own core values then you kind of jump about from one popular way of thinking and acting to the next one that comes along. 


Some examples of core values include:

 

  • A belief, or lack thereof, in God or an affiliation with a particular religion
  • A belief in being a good steward of resources, both natural and man-made
  • A belief that family is of fundamental importance
  • A belief that honesty is always the best policy and that trust has to be earned
  • A belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance

Most people pick up these values from their parents or someone else close to them. They might get buried beneath the surface, sometimes deep beneath the surface, but if they are really core values they never completely go away. 

 

The problem is to remain in control of your life you need to keep your core values close at hand. Not in the back of your mind but in the front on your mind where they are readily available to help you with your decision making. 

 

Before every decision you make there is a moment. In that moment, you have the opportunity to pause and think about whether the decision or action you’re about to take is aligned with your core values. A two second pause can be the difference between living in alignment with those values or bouncing from impulse to impulse.

 

Each day is as important as the next in creating the life that you want and deserve. While each day is just a day years later you’ll find that progress was made one small day at a time. One day you’ll realize that how you spent your days is how you spent you life.


To become the person you imagined yourself to be you’ll need to define your life before circumstances do it for you. Knowing your core values takes some serious effort and soul searching but the return on that effort is living your life your way. That’s something that far too few people have the chance to experience. But you can, if you’re willing to make it so! 


Do You Ever Wonder Where You are Going?

I wish I could say I’m surprised by how often I come across people who seem to be drifting through life. But I am not. 

 

The sad reality is that most people, the vast majority in fact, drift through life on a day-by-day basis taking what comes their way. They accept what happens and very often settle for less than they want or deserve. 

 

I suppose there could be many reasons that happens to people but one of the big ones, likely the very biggest one, is that they don’t have goals. True goals. Goals that are written out along with a plan on how they intend to achieve them. 

 

Direction in life comes directly from your goals. No goals means no direction. 

 

I understand why so many people lack true goals. It’s requires serious effort to first determine your core values and then set goals around them. Your core values are those values that you will not compromise on, regardless of the circumstances. Those core values guide every decision in your life. Beliefs can change over time, core values do not. 

 

Determining your core values does not happen overnight. It requires both reflection and introspection. The dividends of truly knowing your core values however are substantial. Your core values are who you are deep inside and once you know that, every decision becomes easier to make.

 

Once you’ve set goals around your core values you need to develop a plan, a workable, actionable plan, to achieve them. 

 

That plan must include the date AND time you will begin. I can’t tell you the number of great plans I’ve seen people create through the years and I can’t begin to tell you the number of those plans that were never implemented. You will not finish, you will never finish, what you do not begin. The pressure of a “start date” will push you to begin.

 

Remember, someday does not appear on a calendar.

 

The plan must also include a completion date. When will you accomplish each individual goal, do not leave yourself wiggle room by setting a date range. Nail it down with an exact date. You don’t want to almost accomplish your goals, you want total success.

 

Carve out time EVERY DAY on your calendar to work specifically towards achieving a goal. Success in achieving your goals will not happen by itself, YOU must make it happen. 

 

Do not allow yourself to get stuck where you are. Do not allow yourself to settle for less than you desire. Do not allow others to set your goals for you. And oh by the way, if you’re married the fastest way to being a better couple is to be a better you. Don’t forget to set some personal development goals along the way.


Goals are the beacon of light that can guide you through life’s never ending challenges. But for the light to shine you must have those goals in place. Set goals today and all your tomorrows will be better because you did.

The One True Shortcut to Success

I’ll begin by admitting that the title to this post is clickbait. But lots of people will indeed click on it because lots of people are indeed looking for that shortcut to success.

 

If you’re one of those you’re going to be disappointed with this post. You’ll be disappointed because the only true shortcut to success is to lower your expectations for yourself. Settle! 

 

Settle for less than you deserve, settle for less than you could have, settle for less than you know in your heart you are worth. 

 

Settling is easy, it’s fast, it’s efficient and once you’ve told yourself that you’ve achieved as much as you can, you’re set! When get over that feeling of failure you’ll be able to convince yourself that you’ve achieved an acceptable level of success. Unless you’re like most people and you just can’t get over that feeling. 

 

If you’re one of those people who just can’t shed that feeling that life has more to offer then I’m sorry to say it but there is no shortcut for you. You’ll have to work for your success.

 

The good news, great news actually, is that there are no limits for you. You can do it all, you can have it all, and once you believe that, it’s possible that you will have it all. 

 

Having what you want begins with knowing what you want. Most people have madhouse type hectic schedules these days. So much so that they often don’t stop long enough to ask themselves if what they are doing is actually what they want to be doing. In essence their life is running them instead of the other way around. 

 

That’s where goals come in. 

 

The process of setting goals, at least the serious process of setting goals, begins with self-reflection to determine your core values. That allows you to determine exactly what you’re willing to do in order to hold firm to those values. 

 

For instance, perhaps your core values include raising your kids to value all people and help them understand the importance of giving back to their community and those less fortunate than themselves. That will require a fair amount of influence from you. That influence will most likely come from modeling that behavior while investing loads of time with them.

 

Where will that time come from? What are you willing to stop doing so you can start sharing time with your kids? You undoubtedly would say nothing is more important than your kids. Do your goals reflect that? Are you actions reflective of your goals. Do those all important kids only get whatever time is leftover at the end of your hectic day? 

 

I don’t know anyone who wants to lose site of what’s important to them while on their journey to success, it just kinda happens. Unless you make it not happen. Setting goals can be a challenge but the real challenge is developing the habit of reviewing them on a regular basis so you never lose site of them. 


Setting, reviewing, and reaching your goals is not a shortcut to success but it is a proven method of achieving it. Stop wasting time looking for shortcuts and start investing your efforts into something that gets you closer to your goals.

Let Me Introduce You to….You

Do you know yourself? Really? Do you know how others see you and perceive you?  

 

Many people spend a ton of time trying to figure out what makes other people tick without ever really giving any thought to themselves. Have you ever considered why you actually do the things you do and think the things you think?

 

Do you know, almost instinctively, what your core values are? Do you consider your life principles, those “guideposts” that are most important to you when making decisions? 

 

Can you, at the drop of a hat tell someone what your goals are? Can you tell them with a pretty good level of specificity, what you did this very day to get closer to one of those goals?

 

Have you ever really thought about your temperament?  

 

Are you in introvert who regains their strength after a long day by being alone? Are you an extrovert who recharges from the energy of others? Do you just love details or are you a big picture person who would prefer to leave the details to someone else? Are you a planner who plots out the events of your life big and small or do you just go with the flow and see where life takes you?  

 

When you know the answers to those questions you can put yourself into situations where you’re more likely to do well. You’ll have less stress and more fun. When you know yourself, really know yourself, you can understand why you react the way to do to other people. 

 

You’ll learn that “different” is perfectly okay. You’ll also be more likely to understand that to others you may be the one who is “different” and it won’t bother you a bit. 

 

Don’t spend another minute trying to figure out somebody else until you invest some serious time to understand yourself. Who you really are, what matters to you, what you want out of life and what you’re willing to do, and not do, to have it. 

 

The odds are overwhelming that when you get to know you you’ll like yourself more or at the very least understand what you must change so that you can. 


You can’t really understand anyone until you understand yourself. Start the process of really knowing yourself today and every tomorrow will be brighter. 

The Value of Core Values

Do you know your core values? It may seem like a simple question but it’s shocking how many people say yes and then can’t site even one true core value. They kind of float through life letting other people and random circumstances dictate their decisions. 

If that describes you then you should know that’s a high price to pay for never taking the time to truly reflect on what matters, to think back on the times when you followed a principle rather than a popular opinion. Without a solid understanding of your core values you can sometimes feel as if your life has lost its direction and purpose. You know something is just “off” and that something needs to change, you’re just not sure what.

When you define your core values you also discover what’s truly important to you. Core values, those ideas, beliefs, and principles that you hold closest are your guide to every decision and choice you make. 

Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging exercise but one that all truly successful people undertake from time to time. Their core values very rarely change but they review them periodically to keep them top of mind. It is a serious investment of time but one that is well worth the effort. When you understand and can readily identify your core values you’ll find it easier to make even the toughest decisions. Every choice either aligns with your values or they don’t; decisions don’t become smaller or less important but they do become easier, much easier.

Here’s how to discover your own core values:

Write down your values, that’s all the “stuff” that matters to you, don’t judge, write them all down, big ones, small ones, serious ones and silly ones. Write them ALL down. Take as long as you need, there is no deadline here…it could be weeks, maybe even months.  

Once you believe your list is complete then start prioritizing. If you had to eliminate one value which one would go away? Eliminate that value from your list, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important value, it’s just not a “core” value.

Review and prioritize your values list everyday until you have just 6 or 7 on your list…those are likely your core values.

Once you have your core values defined put some depth and specificity to them. Don’t leave yourself any wriggle room or wiggle you will. Share your values with those close to you. Share them with your mentor or accountability partner. 

You will find your core values and principles are easier to discover than they are to live so don’t be timid when asking for help to live them.