You are going to be measured by your work. You are going to generate a reputation for yourself. Whether or not it is the reputation you want to precede you is going to be determined by your standard. Those with low standards are known for having low standards. In the same way, those with high standards have a particular reputation.
Who you are matters. The opportunities that flow to you—or don’t find you—are going to be determined by your work and your reputation. Others are going to measure you by your standards.
You are what you appear to be. There is no inconsistency between what you say you are and your actions. If you say you will do something, you do it. If you say you will not, you don’t. For integrity to be your standard, it has to permeate every part of your life.
You cannot be like those people who profess to be a person of integrity in their business dealings but lack that same integrity in their personal life. Or vice versa.
Integrity is binary. You either have it or you don’t. Once you prove you lack integrity, you no longer have the personal standard that would help you create and sustain the relationships necessary to a successful life. Of all the things you should maintain, integrity is the most important.
When you commit to doing something, you do it. If, for any reason, you cannot do what you commit to, you either renegotiate your agreement or you find a way to produce the outcome some other way. It’s also crucial than when you commit, you go all in, never withholding any part of the value you create, and giving yourself over to whatever you agreed to do.
Your standard needs to be based on your keeping your commitments, and more still, fully committing to what you agree to do. This quality of a personal standard is based on your commitment to excellence in all that you do.
Your Very Best Effort
It’s important that your personal standard is giving your very best effort to everything you do. It’s a difficult standard to uphold, especially if you are not fully committed, and when you would rather be doing something else. Life isn’t very much like high school, where you might put off your work, do less than is necessary, accepting a C minus grade when you are capable of an A-plus.
You are going to be measured by your standard. Those who give everything their very best effort accrue rewards far above those who refuse to put forth the effort, primarily when they are known to be capable of far more than they deliver.
Execution is a personal standard. It means once a plan is made and agreed upon, you immediately take action to move whatever project, initiative, or goal for which you are responsible. There are a lot of people who talk, and far fewer who walk their talk. Your standard must be that once the talking is over, you are already taking action, executing whatever needs to be done.
Your standard must be that you are an action-oriented person, violently executing your plans today, without pontificating, talking about, and sharing how wonderful the result will be in the future. Instead, your standard should be seen in your execution.
Many of the ideas here overlap, but this one especially. Integrity means not only doing what you say you are going to do, but it also means you produce the outcome implicit in your promises. Your commitments all hang on an outcome, making your promise a pledge to deliver the result.
An outcome that is half of what it might have been had you given it your very best effort isn’t the outcome to which you committed. Your best effort is your standard. Your outcomes are the result of your execution.
Maybe You Are Bored
Being bored with what you do has much less to do with the work you are doing and much more to do with your standard. The fact that you are bored is evidence that you have a personal standard that is at least three sizes too small.
Were you to raise your standard, deciding to make what you do exceptional, creating more value than anyone else would dare, you would no longer be bored. Instead, you would be inspired, and maybe even a little be frightened, by imagining what is possible.