PFA 021: #2 in the 11 most common rules to be awesome everyday is to raise your standards

The Prepare for Awesome Podcast

Where I want to educate, inspire, motivate and empower you to strive higher, push further, give more, do more, be more as you become all you possibly can be.

PFA 021 Show Notes

On today’s show, we will be talking about setting the standard you expect from yourself and how that standard will drive who you are and who you ultimately become.

#PrepareForAwesome #PersonalStandards #Mindset #Change #PersonalDevelopment #Motivation #WhatInspiresMe

However, before getting into this topic today, I was recently asked after a speaking engagement whether, as a motivational speaker, I am always positive, upbeat and on top of my game? 

How do you answer a question like that?  Well here is the truth.  The answer is no.  I am not always on top of my game.  I am not always positive and upbeat.  Ask my wife and she will tell you, I have down days.  I have days where she has to pick me up.  I have days where I wonder if it is all worth the effort.  I have days, where I can’t write anything, let alone anything intelligent.  

You see being a positive person does not mean you are positive all the time in everything you do.  It does not mean being motivated to be the best all the time.  What it does mean is that when all does look lost, you are able to find the ray of sunshine in the darkness.  When the world seems to be crashing in around you, you are able to stand firm in your beliefs.  When everyone else is saying you can’t, you know you can.  That is what it means.

So on to today’s topic.

Have you ever wondered what separates high achievers from everyone else?  What separates the extra-ordinary from the ordinary?

If you asked 100 people, you are likely to get 100 different answers.  And their answers will range anywhere from self-belief and wearing the exact same style of clothing every day to living with a sense of urgency and being lucky.  Often when answering the question about what separates ordinary from extra-ordinary, you will hear someone invariably suggest the catch phrase, ‘giving a little extra’ or ‘doing a little extra’ with an emphasis on the word extra.

Think of this.  If you are into sport and say you are a soccer fan.  What separates players like Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo?  Or what separates quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Payton Manning or more recently Aaron Rodgers from the rest of the quarterbacks in the NLF?  Equally, you could ask what separates Serena Williams, Steffi Graf or Martina Hingis from the other women’s tennis players?

Do they have more talent?  Is it that they are more naturally gifted?  Are they bigger or stronger or more skillful?

In some cases yes and in many cases no.  Some of these people are bigger and stronger and some of them have a little more natural talent then their fellow competitors, but I don’t think that really is the answer.  

In all honesty, when you consider the very best high achievers in golf, cricket, rugby, football, tennis or soccer, the high achievers in law, accounting or engineering and in almost every field, it is not because they are stronger, smarter or more naturally gifted.  It is not because they have been to the best schools, come from the best families or even have the most money.

What I have noticed is that there is one over riding thing which separates the high achievers from everyone else and that is a constant drive to set and meet a high set of personal standards.  You know, those expectations you have of yourself.  The benchmark you set for yourself.  Personal standards.

In fact, research has shown that even the proverbial ‘child protege’ is generally where they are not from a natural talent or gift, but by a standard being set and them hitting and surpassing that standard.

In the world of sport, golfer Tiger Woods is almost universally known and recognised.  But even he, with what seems like endless talent, set a standard for his game and practices his craft relentlessly.  In fact, he practices between five and nine hours a day to maintain the standard he set.

Author and speaker, Tony Robbins said, ‘If you want to change your life you have to raise your standard.’

The fact is the quality of what you do with your life and the quality of your life, are uniquely and intrinsically a reflection of your standards.

I recently read that at 33 years of age, Christiano Ronaldo has the physique and fitness of players 10 years younger than him.  The standard he sets for himself as a player demands supreme fitness and he pushes himself to maintain that level even when he does not feel like it.

If you want to go from good to great, you have to set the standard of what you know is acceptable at the level you want to be at and you have to apply the discipline of that standard.  You can not apply the disciplines of a lower standard but try to hold yourself to a high standard.

It is actually fairly easy to identify how high or low your or other peoples standards are.  For example, you may be incredibly wealthy in a financial sense, but if your mindset is poor or you have a poverty mindset, then you are poor and that will be reflected in the way in which you use your financial wealth.  And we will look a little more deeply into mindset a little later in this podcast.

It is aslo reflected in how you treat other people, in how you treat yourself, in the words you use to describe other people and the words you use in describing yourself.  They are revealed in your actions and the way in which you accept or deflect responsibility.

And the one thing I have learned over the years, is how you do one thing is how you do almost everything else.  If you set low standards for yourself in what you expect from you, you will accept most things as they are and will generally not be interested in making any changes for the better.

If you are to improve your life, you have to set the standard for what you are willing to accept and the standard your are willing to reach toward.  If you don’t, you will very easily slip to a standard far below what you are capable of and you will reap the rewards of that standard.

The question then is, how?  Do do you raise your standards?

Firstly it starts with a simple and easy decision.  And that decision is deciding to change from, ‘I should do XYZ’ to ‘I will do XYZ’.  It is that simple and yet that challenging and difficult.  ‘I should’ is like a News Years resolution.  Easily made and just as easily forgotten, but ‘I will’ well that is an entirely different ball-game.

Secondly, you need to have an understanding of what your current standards are in the various areas which we will look at shortly.  There are 3 key areas that you need to assess your current reality in and then, thirdly define what your new standard will be.

So you have where you are now and where you want to go, then determine what it is you need to do to get from where you are to where you want to be.

A very simple 3 step process which is applicable to almost anything in life, but the reality is that changing or raising your standards is not easy.  The process may be simple, but when you are faced with doing and committing to those changes, then you find out how tough it is.

So if you want to raise your standards, here are 3 areas which will dramatically change, upgrade and improve your life.


Research shows that 1 in 4 adults have 2 or more chronic health conditions to deal with in 2012 and according to the world health organisation, obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide.  Hypertension, poor diet, obesity and being over weight are all preventable issues and can be prevented by higher standards.  

In the UK in 2014, more than 2/3rds of men and close to 6 out of every 10 women were classified as either overweight or obese. 

These issues are exacerbated by physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and the availability of sugar enriched fast food.  It is so quick and easy to pop into your local fast food joint or the local supermarket and grab a burger and chips, or a soggy sandwich, or some other thing which does you more harm than good. 

And that is where your acceptable standard is!

Have you ever said, “This is going to be the year I get in the best health of my life”? or “This is the year I am going back to gym.  I need to lose some weight.”  Well, this is the year to do it.  Raise your standards, make the decision and make this your year to improve your health and becoming happier and more energized and effective.

As your body is getting mainly what it needs in food and exercise, you will almost automatically become a happier, more productive and more enthusiastic person.

Also to aid with healthy living, raise your standards on how much sleep you get and how well you eat and take care of your body.  It is the only one you get.  Make sure you treat it well.


In podcast 19, we discussed mindset fairly extensively and if you haven’t listened to that yet, can I encourage you to do so as it will give more context to this discussion.

But raising your standards in terms of your mindset would be moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.  Or moving  from a predominantly fixed mindset to a predominantly growth mindset.

It is about altering the way you think about everything and the attitude you have in every situation.

Self-discipline or Focus

Distractions will steal your dreams and ultimately your life.  The idea of self-discipline is not one of ‘one thing to the exclusion of everything else’.  But rather the focus on the thing you are doing to do it to the best of your ability and to be successful at that thing.

By getting more focused on what you desire in this hour, this day, this life, you become more aware of the moment and what you want to be doing and experiencing now. It gets you where you are going and gets you there faster.

I see so many people accomplish so much less than they could accomplish because they allow themselves to become distracted by things which in most cases don’t add any real value to their lives.  

So raise your standards with regard to your self-discipline and focus.  

Now, these 3 areas are obviously not the only areas in which to raise your standards, but they are a good place to start. 

So that it for this episode.  Thanks for listening.  I look forward to chatting with you again in the next episode.

Again it would be great if you would go over to Apple iTunes and leave us a review.  5 Star reviews help the show to grow and get it out to more people.  So if you would, that would be great.

Thanks again for your time today and I look forward to chatting with you on the next episode where I will again share with you ideas, tips and tools to help you become the best version of yourself you could possibly be.

I do value your interest and support and would like to hear from you, so if you are listening to this podcast on a PC or Mac, please go to the bar on the right or left of this page and send me a email message.  It would be great to hear your testimonial and your story.  

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Have a great day.  And remember to be awesome today.

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