Raise Your Standards

Goals, dreams, and expectations all intertwine together. They provide benchmarks for success. Without these opportunities you are merely surviving life not making the most of opportunities given.

Examine your standards. Are they set too low, too high? Are they attainable or completely predicated on preconceived notions?

We have goals. We have dreams. We have expectations. Too often those expectations are not attainable, not quantifiable. Is it entirely feasible that you can be promoted on the job within one day? Overcome addiction in a week? Or beat cancer within the first month after surgery alone without treatment?

My recent job performance review enabled me to examine my personal goals. Throughout the year I met and exceeded expectations. I pushed capacity limits and made significant gains both personally and professionally. The standards that were set forth for me by my department, I took it to the next level as I held myself accountable to even greater standards. I had one goal in mind, to be in line for a significant monetary increase based upon performance.

Despite receiving high marks on my performance, my annual merit raise of 2% is something I bite my tongue on. Perhaps my expectations were too high. Or perhaps the message relayed was “Welcome to Corporate America.”

I spent the weekend pondering my own personal standards and concluded that the standards I set are mine alone. Others can set those expectations, but those expectations don’t always reflect my standards. I define my standards, no one else. This is the life I lead, it’s up to me to decide what I choose to or not accept.

To be successful you have to raise your standards. I’ve learned it’s not about monetary compensation. Instead it’s about personal satisfaction and the strive to reach greater standards. It’s perfectly acceptable to set the bar high. Stretch attainable, quantifiable measures. In the end, you hold yourself accountable for your standards. In time, those standards will ultimately lead to greater achievements and prestige.

Set your sights high. Spread your wings and fly. Soar through the air. Nothing can stop you from achieving your goals, dreams, and expectations. As for that merit raise, I know I am better than that.

Set the bar high and “keep those feet moving.”

February 27, 2015 – Rubik’s Cube

2.27.15Have you ever noticed that life resembles a Rubik’s cube? Colors represent different types of crises exposed. No matter which way you turn the cube, colors become integrated together, sometimes without any real logic. And just when you think you made all the right turns, you discover that the colors are further scrambled. But as you continue to turn the cube, you’ll begin to notice how you are solving each crisis one by one.

Rubik’s cubes come in all different sizes, shapes, and forms. Much like crises, not all of them move in the same direction.  You may have to improvise as you think about the direction of each turn. Despite the difficulty, you have to keep turning.

There are moments in life when it is just easier to toss the Rubik’s cube away. The odds against you are overwhelming. The agony of continuing is too great and the desire is lost. But before you give up, ask yourself one question, “Have I truly done everything I could to overcome the crisis I face?”

As I’ve taught you in these blog postings, you have the power to overcome any obstacle you face. You have the power to knock down barriers that stand in your way. You have the power to rewrite fate and direct it. It all starts with your perception and how you game plan for success. In the end, fate doesn’t control that Rubik’s cube, you do.

Solving my own Rubik’s cube is one of my greatest accomplishments today. Looking back at the battles fought. The pain from life’s punches. All that I’ve endured over recent years have led me to the life I lead today. The experiences gained propelled me to climb mountains, overcome obstacles, and ultimately become strong and powerful. I truly believe there is nothing I can’t do. Each day I remind myself these very words…

Become so strong that no one can rise above you.

Become so tough that no one can hurt you.

Become so powerful that you become untouchable.

Solve your Rubik’s cube and “keep those feet moving.”

February 20, 2015 – Champion

2.20.15To be a Champion, you need the desire to overcome obstacles. To put forth hard earned effort each day. To prove to yourself that you have what it takes to succeed no matter the odds or what others may say.

To be a Champion, you have to train like one. Each day taking vicious hits and rising back up. Pushing yourself to extremes. Taking it one step further than the last step.

To be a Champion, there is no time to rest. No time to feel pain. No time to give up. Just keep going. Any doubts you may have, you need to set them aside and stay committed to your goals, accomplishments, and dreams.

Champions are not sports oriented only. The same concept applies to any given obstacle you face. Be strong, be tough, go the distance. Prove to yourself that you have what it takes to succeed. Learn to block out external noise to stay focused. It doesn’t matter whether your obstacles involve illness, addiction, depression, finances, or any other crisis. Empower yourself to rise above all. So go ahead, make a name for yourself. Be famous, be a role model, be an inspiration.

Champions are defined by success. Success defines a legacy. The greater the obstacle, the greater the legacy. A simple formula misunderstood by many. Success is not as difficult as some make it out to be. With hard earn efforts, will power and stamina, anything is possible.

Don’t be afraid of success because success is certainly not afraid of you. Empower yourself to become indestructible. Only when you achieve that status level do you become truly a Champion.

When you’ve reached the top. There is only one way to go. No, not down, but up. Continue striving to be the best. Soar to new heights and keep climbing. Champions never look back for they are already training for the next obstacle ahead.

Be a champion and “keep those feet moving.”

February 13, 2015 – Finding the right support

02.13.15What do substance addictions, behavioral addictions, depression, coping with grief, and coping with medical illnesses have in common? The need for a support group whether it’s by peer, family, or group.

Regardless of those affected by a crisis directly or indirectly, support groups are a sign of strength not weakness. However, finding the right support group for crises will enable you to climb back to the top. To become stronger.

Upon any crisis, I use the following soccer/football analogy… You are the starting midfielder, you control the game. You control where you want the ball to go. The goal is your target. The remaining field members are your support group. Those that you can turn to for continued support, share ideas, or anything else. These are your strong players, individuals you want on the field with you. The individuals on the bench are those you can substitute in and out based upon the crisis. The manager is simply your time clock. Everyone else is in the stands making noise. Giving you advice, opinions, or simply just creating noise. It’s up to you to block out the external noise and focus on the playing field itself. But what happens when you run out of bench players?

There are moments when we come to the crossroads that we evaluate certain individuals for who they are. Determine whether they will continue to serve a purpose or if they primarily contribute to the external noise. Our substitute members have attributes that we admire and/or despise. But knowing and understanding their core will dictate a clear resolution on their commitment. More often than not, crises do an excellent job distorting their overall core.

Good apples can become bad apples, however, you can’t change a bad apple to a good apple. Once it’s bad, you can’t change it back. It’s still bad. You can clean it, preserve it, but the core remains the same. All the promises in the world doesn’t mean anything. The core has now been molded and shaped.

Most apples in the world are generally good, clean apples. The outer layer may be a little dirty, but as long as the core remains intact, the apple is still good. Choosing the right apples are a challenge. Sometimes the bad apples align themselves and can blend, but given time, true colors begin to differentiate it.

Remember, when overcoming crises, you do have a choice who you want on the playing field with you. Bad apples or not, you decide whether to replace it or keep it. Never settle just to settle.

Find the good apples and “keep those feet moving.”

February 6, 2015 – Nothing is impossible

02.06.2015If all wishes came true, then we wouldn’t have anything to wish for. Life may be unexpected, but unexpected is good, for there is hope after all.

Life knows of no boundaries. It doesn’t recognize how much you may be beaten down physically, emotionally. It doesn’t feel pain nor have any sympathy. It just keeps coming at you full speed each day, trying to knock you down. After so many hits, you start learning to fight back. For every hit you take, you swing back. A battle that truly tests stamina and willpower.

Life’s not about how hard you get hit or how often. It’s not about the pain you feel inside after each hit. It’s about how you can get hit and get back up. To keep moving forward. And each time you get hit, you become stronger, smarter, and tougher.

Despite what many may think, nothing is impossible in this world. The odds may be unfavorable and there may be a small glimmer of hope. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it is impossible. As long as you believe in yourself, who has the right to stop you? There will always be naysayers and skeptics, but why does that matter? There’s a reason they aren’t in your position. There’s a reason why they can’t take the hits. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do something. That you aren’t good enough. That something you want is impossible. It’s not their battle, it’s yours.

Many have asked where I get my strength. Much of it lies deep within me. I’ve taken my hits, I’ve gotten back up on each and every one of those hits. I’ve never complained. I’ve never asked why? For I choose to rise above all and move mountains. Make the impossible, possible. I don’t accept defeat, I don’t accept failure. It’s not part of my vocabulary. Upon each hit I work harder to overcome, ready for the next one to surface. I keep those feet moving, never stopping to rest. If I can’t knock down life walls, I find ways around them. If I can’t find a way around, I make my own way. I’ve made a decision a long time ago of deciding what I choose to accept and what I don’t.

They say only the strong shall survive. Maybe so. But even the strong have their weaknesses. But over time, that weakness can become a powerful asset and enable you conquer new heights.

Get up and “keep those feet moving.”

January 30, 2015 – Our children

1.30.15 2 (2)We do our best for our children. We deal with meltdowns. We comfort fears. We protect them from harm.

We laugh. We cry. We act silly. We get upset. We scratch our heads. We give them everything.

The day my daughter was born, everything I thought I knew about raising a child went out the window. Suddenly I am looking for a manual from the hospital providing guidelines and suggestions for every type of scenario that potentially could arise. Imagine the bewilderment only to find that no such manual exist. Although we read publications and believe we are fully prepared, nothing can truly prepare us for the proceeding moments after a child is born.

As children grow, we begin to teach them values. Values we hope they will incorporate into their life later on.

Although I teach my daughter many values, generosity is one of my favorites. The impact left behind is as self rewarding as it is appreciated. It doesn’t always have to be about money, volunteering time also serves a divine purpose. Too often in life we look for a rate of return in something. Recognition or prestige. But upon doing so, you must ask yourself, where’s the self reward? Generosity comes in a magnitude of variations. Each day is an opportunity to teach values, however, teaching your children is that much more special.

Be mindful because sometimes values can be taken to the extreme. Last year, upon my daughter starting kindergarten, I couldn’t figure out why her lunch account was auto charging every two days. I looked at her purchases online and was astonished to see multiple lunch meals purchased, sometimes additional side items too. I contacted the school to inquire and was informed that my daughter was buying lunches for all her new school friends. Later that evening, I sat her down and asked why she was buying lunches for her friends. She simply responded stating that I am always buying meals for my friends and that she wanted to do the same. I spent the remainder of the night explaining the true art of generosity and how to apply it conventionally. Either that or I would provide lunch for the entire school indefinitely.

As parents we are role models for our children. Despite their infatuation with celebrities and athletes, we are still their most influential individual. There will be ups and downs. Back and forth. Just shrug it off. Pick and choose your battles. Not everything has to be a crisis. Love your children unconditionally and embrace them every moment you can. And yes, even when the next meltdown occurs, it’s okay. It’ll eventually subdue.

Parenting is not easy, but it’s full of rewards, laughter, and achievements.

Values will come and go throughout life. And as we age, our children remind us those values we once taught. In the end, all you can do is smile.

Love your children and “keep those feet moving.”

January 23, 2015 – One moment in time

01.23.15If you could have one moment in time, what would it look like? How would you feel? Would you have tears of joy? Would you dance around, rejoicing gleefully? Or would you stand still smiling, taking it all in?

Every day we face challenges. We can’t always see them. We can’t always hear them. But we feel their presence closing in. Depending on the severity, these challenges leave a lasting impact on our lives and others.

I’ve always been labeled as an underdog. Everyday exceeding expectations, making the most of opportunities presented. For every time I get knocked down, I get back up immediately. You’ll never see me struggle, you’ll never see me give up. I am too strong, too determined to succumb to defeat and pressure. I built myself to win, to exceed expectations, to overcome challenges. It’s my perception that enables me to believe in myself and my abilities that there isn’t anything I can’t conquer.

As underdogs, opportunities surround us. It’s a matter of capitalizing and finishing strong. It doesn’t matter that ninety-nine out of hundred times may end unfavorably, what matters most is that one opportunity presented. One time is all that is needed.

There are no limits in life. Barriers are made to be knocked down. Go the distance and push yourself to extremes. There is no reward for mediocrity. No one is going to pat you on the back and commend you for trying. Strive to be the best and only the best.

This is my triumph. This is what I live for each day, my one moment in time.

Share your triumph and “keep those feet moving.”