As you’ve undoubtedly heard me say, I believe that a person’s standards can always be higher.

Even when a person believes she has things nailed, something will come along—a situation she couldn’t have seen before, an experience that wakes her up to something she was asleep to, a challenge she faces and learns from, just to name a few possibilities—that show her that the standard she had simply no longer serves her and needs to be higher, or stronger.

Most people think I must not go through this—after all, I’m the standards girl; I live and breathe standards. But I do experience my standards needing to shift, just like you do, and I wanted to share a story of how I just changed one of mine, in case it helps you understand how the process can happen.

A bit of backstory: for years, I’ve been coaching using a model I refer to as “the front of the bus.” The bus is an analogy for a person’s business. And in this analogy, the person has a blinged-out, rock-star tour bus that takes her wherever she wants to go. Instead of having a driver for the bus, she likes to drive it herself, but she does see big value in having a navigator for the drive, and so she gives me, her coach, that role, and a seat in the front of her bus.

The reason having the front seat is so important is that, from there, I can see what she sees, and that gives me more information with which to navigate (support her). If she puts me in a seat in the back of the bus, I can only see out the side windows, and can’t be as helpful. From there, I can only coach reactively, although from the front seat, I can be all kinds of proactive. I only coach women who give me the front seat and communicate with me enough to keep me there.

I love that front seat; I have to tell you. I know many of you have that front seat in your clients’ busses, and I’m betting you know what I mean.

It felt good to me for years to be quickly available to my clients—if I were awake and saw that something had come in from one of them, I’d respond. I thought to myself, “How can I ask for the front seat but not be there when navigating is happening?”

On Valentine’s Day I got the answer

On that day, I was, well, deep into valentining with my husband. ♥ At some point, I picked up my phone to remind myself of the time of our dinner reservation and saw there was a text from someone. A quick glance told me that there wasn’t a question or a problem. And so, I didn’t respond because I was—you got it—valentining! My focus was elsewhere.

That I didn’t respond upset the person who sent that text. And as that was being explained to me, I woke up to the fact that by being quickly available, even occasionally, I had unwittingly created a situation I didn’t want.

Unexpected Events Help You Create Stronger Standards

First, I realized I was over being attached to my tech in a biz capacity—even on my whim—evenings and weekends. That meant I was less present for those I love most. Ouch.

But then I got the bigger lesson

I coach my clients to work during their business hours. If they’re doing that, they shouldn’t be navigating the bus during their life hours. But I wasn’t walking that talk; I’d created a “Do as I say, not as I do,” situation. And that sure wasn’t ok with me.

My standard needed to be much higher. And so I revised it, and I wrote to all my clients to tell them about the change which significantly changed my availability. I didn’t ask for a response to the note, but those who did respond said they loved that I made the change, were happy to see me model raising my standard for them, and understood and respected the reason for it. I was glad for the positive response, but would have made the changes, no matter what.

I also wrote to the person whose text woke me up to thank her; had it not been for her text and the upset that followed, I’d not have noticed that it was time for a change and a higher standard. And that’s another great standard to have: always show gratitude for those people and situations that wake you up to your truth and allow you to make changes; they’re angels.

This week is my first week with the higher standard. It feels good, and a bit odd, but soon, it will become the new normal. I’m looking forward to that!

What messages have you gotten that tell you it’s time for a higher standard in your practice and your life?

You might also like: Ask Anastacia: Who Helps the Client in an Emergency When I’m Not Available?