Challenge Your Status Quo

If you are trying to advance yourself in an entrepreneurial adventure, or by climbing your own career ladder, then you are not interested in just getting by. Good enough is not good enough for you!

When I was younger, I played a sport professionally. One of the other teams had a motto that they quoted all the time, “Better every day.” We laughed at them for it. Why would that be funny? “Better every day” is a great motto for a youth activity. It’s bold. It’s exciting. It promises and guarantees a delivery. What made it so funny is that they were terrible. They were dead last and had been in a perpetual state of dead last for more than twenty years. It was lip service.

What was our motto then? We said “hitting the status quo means we’re moving backwards.” It was pretty much the same thing, but we lived it. We set league records over and over and over again, many of which still stand today, 10 years later.

That’s what this is all about. If you are trying to advance yourself in an entrepreneurial¬†adventure, or by climbing your own career ladder, then you are not interested in just getting by. Good enough is not good enough for you! Challenge your status quo and only look back occasionally to admire where you came from.

John C Maxwell is an extremely popular motivational speaker and business coach. When he publishes a new book (he’s published more than 30, including a Bible commentary), he takes the first copy of the book and locks himself in his office. For 15 minutes, he indulges it: smelling it, flipping the pages, rubbing his fingers over the cover, anything you can think of. After 15 minutes, he puts it on his shelf and never goes back to that book again. Why? Because that would be moving backward.

You can’t expect to find future success by living in your former glory. The same is true for your career. Your personal brand, You Inc is your business. And you want to have a successful business. If you spend all your time living in flashback-mode of when you were a big shot, or employee of the month, then your career is already dead. It won’t go anywhere. But if you set out to advance past that, then the sky is the limit for you.

I once had a coach who would nitpick every single thing about my technique. He never missed a beat. But every time I got it right, he would always say, “Alright, that is your new standard of sucks.” Since I’d achieved that particular level, achieving the same thing as before was now unacceptable.

So how to you capture this philosophy for yourself?

First off, get your metrics. This might mean building a few new spreadsheets to monitor transactions, sales, average ticket prices, etc. You may be able to change your POS software to do this for you. Perhaps you have a company resource or analysis software to quantify your performance. Use it, even if you have to pay for it.

Once you get you metrics, track them. This is where you establish your suck level, or your status quo. You can also share some of this info for your team or accountability network.

Make decisions for your business based on your status quo. For example, acquiring debt to pick up another franchise is not a good idea if your metrics have not been in a steady state of rise. An aggressive ad campaign or moving locations aren’t going to go over well if you are circling the toilet bowl.

So play smart. You, your brand and your team deserve it.

How have you challenged yourself recently? Tell me in the comments below.