Not long ago I had to go to the DMV. To get there, I had to drive through some sketchy neighborhoods. And as I was driving, I kept an eye on the old homes and the people who occupied those homes. You know, the folks on porches, in pajamas, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol… at 10am.
Now, I don’t say any of this to judge these people. But I will gladly judge their mindset. They have a minimum-wage mentality. And guess what — they are living their standards. That’s right… they are living right in-line with the standards they set for themselves, consciously or subconsciously.
Hear me on this. You don’t rise to the level of your desires, you fall to the level of your standards. It’s not a “desires” issue that keeps people from achieving greatness, it’s a “standards” issue. And it’s not an issue, it’s an epidemic.
This has massive — and I mean MASSIVE — implications for people in sales.
But it’s too obvious to say “raise your standards.” That’s not my main point or key thesis here. What I want you to realize is that you have standards now, whether you know it or not, and you’re currently living at those standards.
If your standards were lower, you would be living those standards. If your standards were higher — like caviar, lobster, and enjoying puffing on Padrón 50s while counting your assets — you’d be living those standards. You will never live above or below your standards… at least not for long.
Once you understand this truth, there are no more excuses to make. The only thing left to make are moves. Now let’s dive a bit deeper on this.
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A Stone in Your Shoe
Have you ever had a small stone in your shoe while walking or hiking? I have, and when it happens, it’s all I can think about. The nagging pebble in my shoe has to go. It’s too uncomfortable to continue walking, so I stop and I remove it.
Ever drive a beat up car that constantly broke down on you? If so, you know that buying a new car is #1 priority. Almost nothing else matters. Have you ever had to work in a hostile environment? If so, you probably (hopefully) found a way out. FAST. What about this one — ever found a mouse in your house? If so, I bet it was all-out-war to eradicate them.
You make moves because you have a higher standard for yourself. If you didn’t get the stone out, buy a new car, leave the hostile environment, or remove the mice, then that would mean you were happy with that way of life. Or at least it was never too uncomfortable to inspire change.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins
Standards in Sales
If you’re only closing three deals per month, it’s not because you don’t have all the right training or tools. It’s not because [insert whatever excuse you want]. It’s because THAT’S. YOUR. STANDARD. If your standard was 10 deals per month, you’d find a way to build a ladder to that standard and reach it.
If you want to dial 500 prospects in a day, there’s a proven way to do it. You make it your standard. Anything short of that standard will make you want to lose your lunch (it’s a mouse in your house!). You should feel it viscerally. It should be a big blow to your mind, body, and soul.
Standards in Life
Same goes for life. You live where you live, you drive what you drive, and you date who you date not because “that’s the way it is.” No. It’s because you’ve made a contract with yourself that outlines your standards.
Now look, this might seem simple or overly obvious. But it’s not the default mode of 99% of people (remember, it’s why there’s a 1%!). In fact, most people never give their standards a second thought. They go through life on autopilot. Or they make the mistake of setting goals instead of standards. That’s not to say that goals are ineffective… they just aren’t nearly as effective as raising your standards… and meaning it.
Look – my standards are luxury travel. My standards are success in business. My standards are publishing books, training teams, raising kind and hard-working kids, being a great husband to my wife, and on and on. I don’t say this to brag. I’m blessed. But I also know that my standards are clearly defined. And I get after it.
So what are YOUR standards?
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It Has to be Genuine
Once you define your standards — and write them out on paper! — you have to make them genuine and authentic to you.
You can’t just say, “OK I want my standard to be 15 closed deals per month” or “50 booked meetings per month.” You have to feel it in your bones. You have to feel the fire at your feet.
You can’t trick yourself into change. And there are no shortcuts. If it’s genuine, and you really do want to enjoy a better life, then good! You will. And it will last. But it will take sacrifice.
I’m one who believes everyone in America has the chance for upward mobility. This nation is brimming with opportunity. If you grew up poor, you have the chance to break free from that poverty and make something of yourself. So I don’t believe in generational poverty (for the same reason I don’t believe in generational wealth — just as easy as you can earn it, you can lose it!).
That said, I also know there are systemic issues in certain socioeconomic classes that could make it more challenging to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” I’m not blind to that… and I know it’s not always so black-and-white.
But at the same time, I came from nothing and made it. And I have business partners, colleagues, and friends who came from nothing and made it. While it might be more challenging to break a cycle of minimum-wage mentality, it can be done. And it’s worth it.
You just have to wake up and see the standards you’ve already set for yourself somewhere along the way. Set those standards higher. Then get to work making the moves to bridge the gap. You’ve got this.
Until next time…