Somewhere in your life, change will be inspired by the questions you ask yourself. On episode 243 of the Achieve Your Goals podcast titled, “The Reality Check We All Need”, Hal Elrod does just that. In a moment of truth with himself, Hal takes an honest look at what was acceptable behavior in his life and produced this podcast that has created a ripple effect of change in mine. Sometimes a question like, “Am I settling for mediocrity in my life?”, can be a catalyst to help move you forward.
“We compare ourselves to most people that we don’t feel are as healthy as us or happy as us or engaged as us in whatever area of life we’re looking at”, he says, and “all it does is justifies our own mediocrity because we find someone that is worse.” “If you, to make yourself feel better, simply compare your degree of unhealthy behavior with people who have worse degrees of bad or unhealthy behavior, that doesn’t make your bad good.” When I heard those words, I couldn’t agree more and started to feel some inspiration from his story. Hearing that he was willing to literally look in the mirror and say, “I’m a mediocre parent” was a truth I don’t typically hear anywhere.
When telling the story of a conversation with a friend of his admission, he went on to say, “We’re not comparing ourselves to an ideal standard. We’re comparing ourselves to other flawed people and making ourselves feel better about ourselves, or worse sometimes, based on those other people.” He then said, “I need to compare myself not to other dads, but to the best dads. Not just to the average dads.” I could tell he was serious and in sharing three questions he’d asked himself, I felt I could take a look at myself, drawing encouragement from the steps he was taking to move from what he considers mediocrity, to a level where he’s now showing up at 100% for his kids.
His questions were:
- Am I settling for mediocrity in my life?
- Am I in denial about it?
- What are the long-term consequences if you don’t make a change?
To help understand if there was denial about accepting mediocrity, he asked simply, “Who are you comparing yourself to?” “Are you comparing your standards to ideal standards or to mediocre standards that make your feel good about your own standards?” When I asked myself what I am constantly comparing myself to others regarding, the first thing that popped into my head is at work with other other sales reps. Watching seasoned sales reps with similar sized territories and expectations for growth, I began this comparison initially for competitive reasons. I would ask myself, “How is my growth in my territory compared to theirs?” and “Am I growing at a greater percentage increase than them?” I think a better way to continue forward is to have an ideal standard for myself on what type of sales professional I would want to see in the world and work towards that. If I operate more in the mindset of how can I be the ideal salesman vs how can I be better than the average sales territory, I could be potentially doing much more than I currently am. That is a much better motivator for me. To do what I believe serves that ideal would ultimately be better for the stores I service, the customers I serve, the company I work for, and best of all, for me.
What could I potentially be then? If I’m living by this ideal standard of the type of salesman I want to see and not purely comparing myself to other sales reps, I think this could be a long-term goal I can concentrate on this year. I am going to focus on being not just the change I want to see in the world, but the type of sales rep for my company I’d like to work with. Now what could I grow my territory into? And what type of impact will I have? Asking myself these questions has led me to realize that my comparison previously was to do just a little bit more, have a higher sales increase than who I work with, and that comparison was based more on job security. This topic is a great opportunity for me to sit down and journal in more depth and ask, “What does that ideal sales rep look like for me?” If I can put a definition on that ideal and then start living that every day, I think that it’ll be interesting to see where I end up at the end of 2019. I had a very good year by my company’s standards in 2018, but what difference will there be in my results this year by living to this ideal standard? That is something that I’m going to find out.
I think this is a good episode to share because these questions that Hal asks himself are the types of questions we can all ask ourselves to help move us from a life of mediocrity to living our best lives now. The content of this podcast and the questions Hal brings to light can help us add to the foundation of who we are and bring to the front of mind what we aspire to live up to. For me, the curiosity of wanting to know who I would be as a result of living my ideal standard everyday motivates me and has already led me here. I think its time to take a look in the mirror and acknowledge what I’m accepting as mediocrity in my life. Let me know what you think of this episode and if you take anything away that will be impactful in your life.
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