Is Raising the Bar for Yourself A Good Idea | Blog

Come on – more is better – isn't it?

Sometimes, or maybe most times, more is not better. Faster and bigger aren't always better either, but my mind seems to go there pretty often.

Have you ever experienced some version of this?

For instance, I wanted to feel stronger. I found a strength training class I really like, and I go to it three times a week. I've been consistent, and that feels great. However, I also find myself thinking, “You should do more.” While I walk most other days, there is still this noise in my mind that more would be better.

Recently, I've been working on some new projects in my business. I'm super excited about it all and have felt inspired and creative. I've launched some new things, and more are coming. Yet, in the midst of all that, I find myself thinking, “You should be moving faster.” “You didn't do enough here or there.” etc.

Even as I type this, I think, “Well, that might be true. Maybe more would be better.”

Yet I've noticed that this internal pressure to do more or better often leads to discouragement, giving up, or never getting started.

Rather than appreciating what is, I keep raising or moving the bar, resulting in this low hum of dissatisfaction or a feeling of not being enough.

Pretty soon, my goal or the path to get there looks like a huge leap.

In our work and lives, I see the value of stretching ourselves, getting out of our comfort zone, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and trying new things.

Often, on the other side of discomfort is a whole new experience of our potential.

Yet, at the same time, that maximizer personality, self-improvement focus, and achiever mindset often get in the way of taking action, being consistent, appreciation, and feeling fulfilled.

So, how do we know when to aim higher or farther and when the pressure of more or better does not serve us or our work?

Ask yourself…

Have you stopped moving, creating, taking action?

Do you feel pressure or give yourself a hard time for how you do your work or your life? Are you not productive enough or brave enough?

Does it look like you're not living up to some idea you have of how you should be?

Do you feel disappointment or dissatisfaction with yourself – even subtlety?

I get it. All those thoughts about how it would be better if I (fill in the blank), feel true. They can look reasonable. “More, bigger, and better” can look like the answer.

Yet, I can't help noticing a distinct difference between feeling the inspiration and inner nudge to stretch myself, go outside my comfort zone, try that new idea, and the sometimes subtle but depilating feeling of you're not doing it right or good enough.

Nothing stops the creative flow or progress like trying to get it right, pushing for better, or constantly questioning or evaluating ourselves along the way.

Nothing frees the flow of creativity, inspiration, and progress like giving ourselves permission to begin – as we are.

When we lower our standards, allow ourselves to create, share, and try without an expectation to be the best, get it right, or “be all we're meant to be,” something happens.

A new freedom emerges — a freedom to move and to express.

Rather than seeing what could be better, we appreciate what is, and in that feeling of freedom and appreciation, newness grows.

When we stop evaluating and looking to improve, we drop into natural states of flow and are guided by something greater than our will.

Freedom, appreciation, and fulfillment are possible along the way, not only at the proverbial end or when we finally hit the mark we set.

What if the secret to creativity, progress, and new expression is letting go of your standards and trying to get it right or better?

Where can you let go of a standard, appreciate who you are as you are, and allow yourself to keep moving?

“Nothing stops the creative flow or progress like trying to get it right, pushing for better, or constantly questioning or evaluating ourselves along the way.

Are you a coach, consultant, or practitioner who works at the intersection of human potential, transformation, and business? Check out my new training: IMPACT. Doors close soon.

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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at 



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