If you were wondering about the title of this article, it comes from my college soccer coach. It’s his motto, and I have witnessed him live it out. I researched this quote extensively (well, to the second page of Google) and was unable to find the origin, so I am unofficially crediting Coach Stacey with it. He is a great leader who taught me lessons on and off the field that will stay with me forever. His leadership style was not dictatorial; he would simply communicate that he believed we could always play better than how we were playing. He communicated that he believed in my abilities and that the team needed me to be focused and playing the best game I had to offer.
“Rules are made to live under; standards are made to live up to.” This is more than a quote, more than a motto; it is a lifestyle developed from a mindset.
Coach Stacey’s credo is about choosing to live in a way that makes those around you operate at a higher level—not out of fear, but out of respect. This is not a note directed toward any single individual or group, but to the masses in leadership roles. We must alter the way that we communicate in order to see change on a global scale. Authority figures have the ability to choose their leadership styles, which means they have the ability to change them. When employees, students or children have to walk on eggshells because they fear being disciplined, the ability to show them that they are appreciated is lost.
Humans are hardwired to seek acceptance. We want to feel valued.
We want our efforts to be noticed, whether privately or publicly. Whether it’s books sold, blogs shared, tweets retweeted, Facebook/Instagram “likes” or respect/love from our spouse, we yearn for affirmation. Why is it then that businesses operate in a different reality? Those who are keen to this human desire for affirmation are able to inspire those around them in a way that others will never be able to.
Toss the rules out of the window and set standards that will raise the bar, motivating those around you.
Jake Gregory is a manager at Global Exchange Events.