Your Bar, Their Bar

We have two bars, the one we set for ourselves and the one we set for others.  The bar is what we expect of ourselves and what we expect of those around us.

Each of us set’s our own bar. Some of us set the bar low.  It’s easy to set the bar low. It allows us to avoid failure. We can avoid working too hard and can blame everyone and everything else for not making it.  Some of us set the bar in the middle. Setting the bar in the middle gives us just enough to say we’re working.  It allows for small victories to validate us. It gives us just enough to not feel bad about ourselves and say we’re putting in a good days work. A small few of us raise the bar higher than everyone else.  Those who raise the bar higher, don’t look for validation from others, but rather from their own higher standards. Raising the bar higher comes with autonomy and independence.  Those who raise the bar higher set their own goals, their own vision and their own rules.  Where each of us choses to set the bar, dictates our experience and success.

We don’t just set the bar for ourselves. We also set it for others. This is where it gets tricky. As leaders, parents, friends, children, partners and siblings, we set the bar for those we interact with.  We have expectations of those we live with, work with and share our lives with. What makes it tricky is sometimes we set the bar higher for others than we do for ourselves.  It’s easy to set the bar higher for others. We don’t have to do the work. As the bar setter, we are the recipient of the achieved expectations. When we set the bar  high we benefit. It’s a net gain for us. When we set the bar low for others we experience the negative benefits of low expectations. It’s a net loss. Therefore, it serves us to have high expectations of those closest to us; at work or at home.

The real win with expectations or setting the bar is to always set it higher for yourself. Having higher expectations of yourself raises everyone around you.  You don’t have to set the bar for others as high, when you set it high for yourself.  Watching you, others around you will set it high for themselves.  Setting it lower for yourself does little for anyone. It’s demoralizing. No one wants to feel the pressure of having to live up to standards higher than those around them set for themselves.  It’s easy to set expectations for those around us higher than we do for ourselves. They key is not to

Those who set the bar higher for themselves than others are givers. Those who set the bar lower for themselves than those around them are takers.  Are you a giver or a taker?

Where do you set your bar?  Where do you set for everyone else?

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