How to Set Your Bar Higher


We live in a "I want it now" society, so I figure the best way to start my story is at the end, with the moral. So here it is: Go big or go home. I'm 35 words into writing this piece and hopefully I haven't lost too many of you out there. I know you're busy, but work with me, and if I still have your interest, continue to read. If you glean nothing from this post other than my moral, I feel as though I have touched your life in some way. But don't sell yourself short, you've gone this far, take it to the next level before an email comes in, the phone rings again, you are tagged in a post and notified or someone demands a LinkedIN connection. Let's start our precursor to the moral with a short history lesson.

Setting the bar higher is not for the faint of heart, but then again, who aspires to be average?

It was November of 2014, and I was working hard conjuring up ways to advance my writing business. I came across a Tweet from a woman with a link to her Huffington Post column. As I read through the column I thought about how fortunate it was that this woman had access to an incredibly powerful publication like HuffPost. Intrigued and interested in finding out how I might be able to have the same opportunity, I asked her about how she made this happen. She said, "I reached out to Arianna Huffington." My first thought was, how could it be that easy? And then I considered the other options. I could write the editorial department, get shoved around to 3 or 4 editors, submit a piece or two, track down everyone again, follow up and eventually get put on the back burner. Or option two, I could email Arianna directly and see if she had any interest. I selected option two. About a week later I received a response from the co-founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, directly, "We'd love to feature your voice on Huffington Post." I can't say for sure exactly how many people have read my column over the past 7 months and 30 posts later, (probably between 10,000 and 100 gazillion readers) but I do know that it has opened more doors for me than would have been the case without the added exposure.

Are you trying to merge onto the superhighway of life in a 1972 Ford Pinto?

Who is your Arianna Huffington, and why have you not reached out to her yet? (Author's note: Let's make a deal, feel free to insert any excuse you want to right here and I will feel free to ignore any excuse you offer.) People, here's the issue, we are either too afraid to go big, or feel we don't carry the clout to make "going big" a part of our agenda. Velvet off the sledgehammer now, cut the crap, we are all small potatoes until we consciously make a decision to move beyond that type of small thinking. The only way to accomplish our dreams is get out of our old thinking and get into some dream duds. Bathe in the richness of our huge ideas. Make reality out of the things that other people only wish they could achieve.

Fortunately, I have an opportunity to speak to people all over the country. I find a common theme is the thread that ties many of my diverse audiences together. In the form of a question, here it is:

How can I go beyond where I am now? It's one thing to believe it, but how can I actually do it? My answer is simple, set the bar higher, here's how:

Think beyond you. Look at the impact that your dreams and big thinking have on everyone around you. If you actually pulled off what you dreamed of how amazing would life be for those around you. If you dreamed of opening a restaurant, think about the positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood and the people you would be feeding everyday. If you are an app developer, look at the all of the lives you would be touching if your app was in the hands of thousands or millions of people. As a writer, I imagined the impact I would have on everyone that would be reading my motivational and inspirational posts.

Forget what is impossible. Take the words "I can't," out of your vocabulary. My dad used to say to me, "Dougie, if anyone else has accomplished it, you can too." I will go one step beyond and say, even if no one has done it, we live in an age where ANYTHING is possible. Since starting my career as a mobile DJ, I have watched technology change my business from records, to cassette tapes, to CD's, to mp3's to instant downloads and music streaming. What once was only possible in a cargo van (DJ transportation in 1984) is now possible with a SmartCar.

Don't just try to get on a different road, get in a different vehicle. Are you trying to merge onto the superhighway of life in a 1972 Ford Pinto? Do an analysis of where you are in life and take a good hard look if the vehicle will get you to retirement and happily ever after. If not, keep in mind it is never too late. A 48, just a couple of short years ago, my career did a 180 degree spin and I have been loving every minute of my professional speaking, writing, training and podcasting life.

Keep gratitude in your heart and know what you do really matters. When you love what you do and you love the people you do it with, life takes on a whole different meaning, and it will come back to you ten fold. Over the past year, I have had an opportunity to interview a host of people on my podcast, each of which has a special place in my heart and in my life. People like Charles Sidi, Stephie Rockwell, Tim Fargo, Ted Coine, Carlota Zimmerman, Jeremy Watkin and several others that have made a huge impact on me. All of their interviews can be found here.

Once you set the bar higher, you start expect more from yourself, others will expect more from you as well. Setting the bar higher is not for the faint of heart, but then again, who aspires to be average? So go big or go home. Push yourself past average and get into the greatness zone. Life becomes much more interesting when you think beyond yourself, forget about what is impossible, you reach for your dreams and you do it with gratitude in your heart. I can't wait to hear about your happily ever after moments.

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