One of the ways that we can help ourselves gain more clarity is to create new standards. We often think of the worst case scenario, not the best case scenario when we are attempting to do something new. We plan for the worst – but we’re not planning for the best. If we really want to create sustainable success on our terms, we must also plan for the best case scenario by creating new standards.
What happens when we go after something new is that we feel a sense of fear kick in. What if this doesn’t work? What if it’s not worth the time? What if it’s not worth the money? What if I look like a failure? These thoughts come up because we are trying to make the situation feel good before we even step into it. So much of our lives revolve around feeling good about ourselves. We are trying to improve ourselves and our self-image: the thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves. When we’re in this process of trying to feel good about ourselves, things that seem uncertain don’t fit the bill.
This is why we often don’t do the new thing. We focus on the worst case scenario only. We fear the worst case scenario so much that we don’t go through with it. We don’t go through with signing up for the thing that will help us stay committed to the process. We don’t go through anything that commits us to a new path. We stay exactly where we are. One year later, you’re doing the same thing just somewhere else.
I remember when I was thinking about careers, I had this idea of “options”. I wanted the thing that would give me the most options. If I went to business school, that would give me a lot of “options”. If I went to McKinsey, that would give me a lot of “options” but at some point, I had to ask myself, “options for what?” What’s the point of options if you never choose? You’re prolonging the decision, but you still have to make the decision or stay in “option land” forever.
You might be waiting for someone or something to choose for you. You might be waiting for the choice to be made. You might be waiting for clarity. The thing is, decisions and clarity come from us. It comes from us creating a space for ourselves to say that maybe, right now is the time to decide to make your choice. That the decision is so obvious because we can see that there is not just a worst case scenario, but a best case scenario as well.
When we’re fixated on the negative, we plan for the worst. We give ourselves lots of ways to exit and options for it to not work. If you’re trying something different and challenging, this will usually end up in things not working. Why? Because that’s what you’re planning for and we’re often more comfortable with the uncertainty we know than the uncertainty we don’t know.
When we’re fixated on the positive, however – we plan for the best. We say to ourselves, “no backing out – we’re doing this” and we move forward. We create the clarity from moving forward with the momentum of life. We think that there is no decision to be made or that it’s not clear, but it’s often our resistance to what is actually happening that keeps us exactly where we are, years later.
Decisions are already in front of us. It’s the voice inside telling us that we need to work on ourselves. It’s the sense of frustration that we keep dealing with the same issue again and again. It’s the feeling that we’re not on the right path.
Planning for the best doesn’t mean that you don’t know how to mitigate if the worst case happens. Planning for the best means that you are also creating standards for yourself that allow you to move forward more quickly and effortlessly. You are being pulled forward, instead of pushing yourself up a hill. What if the solution you wanted could be purchased – it was that certain. This is that level of standard I am challenging you to inhabit.
Think about a trip that you’re going to take. You usually have to get a place to stay in your new trip. I like to think about a new standard as a new place. Instead of saying I’m just going to book a flight and wander around, you know that you have a place to go to when you get there. What kind of place is it going to be? This is how you think about your new standards. The accommodations fit the location and where you want to stay. Your new standards are the new ways that you will operate. They fit this new way of thinking, receiving, working, interacting or being. They’re not the place you just left from – they look different. They are naturally desirable – they are what life looks like when you’re clear on releasing what doesn’t work. They are certain.
Maybe you’re trying to do work that you’re more passionate about. You have to build a new standard where this is obvious and exists in your life. It’s not just possible, but it’s highly inevitable. If you have that as your standard, where you know that this exists, you’ll find it. You stay in this energy of “yes” even when you don’t see it yet.
Whether it is less stress while working demanding jobs or more time for ourselves while leading a fulfilling career or business, you have to create a new standard that isn’t just based on the past, but the future. It isn’t just based on what you know, but based on possibility.
When you create a new standard, you expand your vision for what’s possible. Things I’ve had to create new standards around included:
- Getting help – investing in teams, childcare, and coaching to expand me in all areas of my life
- Physical health – what I eat, how I move
- Mental health – my emotions, thoughts, and stress
- Relationships – how I spend my time and the presence I have with people
- Money – how much I earn, spend and save
- Careers/Business – what’s possible in terms of alignment with values and gifts
- Spirituality – the depth and consistency of my practices, vision, purpose, and sense of connection
- Play – the frequency with which I enjoy life; having unstructured time for the unexpected
These new ways of living are purposeful. They are new standards for the way you operate in your life. They are a new structure and place for all of these areas of your life where it feels like you’re suffering or struggling. They are that new structure and a place for when you’re moving from good to great. If you use the travel analogy, you’ll find that not everyone likes to travel. If you’re not wanting to move anywhere or shift, that’s your choice too. If you’re not wanting to improve an area of your life, then new standards are not necessary.
Yet, if you’re here – most of you are thinking that you would like to have more of a sense of purpose or clarity in certain situations or areas of your life. If so, then this is an important concept for you to master.
This week, think of an area where you are in need of creating new standards and just witness what you are experiencing in terms of thoughts and emotions in this space. Do you feel like you’re circling around with the same thoughts and emotions, feeling stuck? If so, you’re likely in need of new standards if you want to have different thoughts and emotions that lead to different actions and results in your life.
My final thought I want to share is that it can feel like a heavy lift to create a new standard. This is why I look to get help when creating new standards. I invested in education, resources, coaching, teams. If you don’t believe it’s necessary, take a look at where you invested in yourself and how things have changed as a result.
If it was so easy to do this without investment of time, money or energy, you would have done it already. You’ll feel like you take a few steps forward, and then a few steps back – but remember this: progress is a spiral. You just have to keep going with this, holding yourself accountable and committed to this action however you can so that you don’t give up before you’ve shifted into this new way of thinking and living. New standards are not for when you want to stay exactly where you are – it’s when you’re ready for a shift.
If this topic resonates with you and you want to see transformational results in your life, you’ll love coaching. Getting coached consistently is the spark that will light the fire of inspiration to make the change you’re looking to make. It is the first step in creating clarity, making a massive shift and moving obstacles out of your way so you can move forward. You can go to www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more.