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.


Why Would Anyone Follow You?

People are pretty interesting to study. So many people from so many places, so many different cultures, backgrounds, and histories. So many differences.

 

But even in a world of differences there are some things that most everyone has in common, and one of those commonalities is that the majority of people hold others to a higher standard than they hold themselves. It’s just far easier to speak your principles than it is to live them. And that’s likely a key reason why most people are not Authentic Leaders. Authentic Leaders, the type that we would all follow, hold themselves to a higher standard than they hold others.

    

Most people have high expectations for themselves but Authentic Leaders do not merely have high expectations, they have high standards too. We may expect much of ourselves but we too often also provide ourselves with many excuses that Authentic Leaders simply don’t need. Authentic Leaders don’t make excuses, they make commitments to excellence.

 

Authentic Leaders are led by their core values and one of those core values is almost always to make certain that their actions match their words. They do what they say they will when they say they will do it. That makes them very easy to trust. 

     

Authentic Leaders know that people tend to “follow up”, that is they follow people they respect and trust or they follow someone they believe sets an example of the type of person they would like to become.  

 

People seldom “follow down”, they don’t follow people that they would not want to be like or people that they cannot trust or respect. When someone with a leadership title or in a position of leadership holds themselves to lower standards than they hold others they lose the trust of their people and they lose the ability to truly lead.

     

Here’s a few important questions for you: Why would anyone follow you?  Do you expect more from others than you expect from yourself? Do you hold others to a higher standard than you hold yourself? Do you allow yourself excuses that you would not allow others? Are the majority of your mistakes “excusable” but not the mistakes of others?

    

In order to properly answer those questions you must be completely honest with yourself because if you can’t be honest with yourself you most certainly won’t be honest with anyone else.

     

Excellent, experienced, Authentic Leaders pause from time to time to ask themselves those very questions. They will also ask their mentors and accountability partners. If they don’t like the answers, they take immediate steps to change them.

 

A truly Authentic Leader has no other choice.