Yesterday I shared a story of how Jim Vaught, my middle school basketball coach and math teacher, taught me to embrace high expectations for myself.
I cannot imagine where my life would be today if it weren’t for Jim Vaught and so many others like him. As I mentioned, such people saw positive things in me that I often could not see myself. Even more, they challenged me to become the best “Kent” I could be.
One of the greatest things about embracing high expectations for yourself is that you don’t need to be extra smart, have extra money, or be extra good looking. The only thing you need is the belief that you can be more, do more, and achieve more. (I know this last phrase might sound cliche-ish; but honestly, the pursuit of being more, doing more, and achieving more is what brings about personal growth and development.)
With that said, there is one tool that I have found to be the most powerful in helping me embrace high expectations for myself. And what is surprising about this tool is it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with other people.
Wondering what this tool is?
It’s doing what Jim Vaught did for me…it’s inspiring and equipping others!
I have found that the more I help others embracing high expectations for themselves, the more I grow in my ability to embrace high expectations for myself. As Zig Ziglar is famous for saying, “You can have anything you want in life just as long as you help enough people get what they want in life.”
So, if you are interested in inspiring and equipping others to embrace high expectations for themselves, here are a few tips that might help:
- Be specific—Giving a pat on the back and saying, “Way to go,” only works if your compliment is connected with something specific.
- Be honest—Inspiration is not the same as false flattery. True inspiration is rooted in authentic, meaningful, and appropriate insight. That insight can come in the form of both encouragement and challenges, and often it is the challenges that have the biggest impact in our lives (again, read the story of how Jim Vaught positively impacted me by challenging me).
- Be personal—The more individually focused your encouragement and challenges are, the more powerful they will be for the recipient. What’s more, the more you “speaks a person’s language,” the more likely he or she is going to hear what you have to say.