“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” – Henry Ward Beecher
When looking for something while shopping online, we hit the “Search” button and expect:
The product is in stock.
It can be delivered to our home overnight.
And shipping is free.
On an episode of the Postal Hub Podcast, Ian Kerr interviewed Chloe Thomas, of eCommerce Masterplan, an expert in the world of ecommerce. Chloe explained the elevated expectations of online shoppers today. In addition to wanting it now, and wanting it shipped for free, consumers are also asking vendors to ship the products in the most environmentally-friendly package possible.
The often unreasonably high expectations of customers aren’t limited to the online world. Hotel guests demanding upgrades, even though they reserved a room at discounted rates. Passengers yelling at ticket agents when flights are cancelled due to storms. Shoppers wanting custom-fitted clothing, without paying for the tailoring.
We want. We expect. We demand.
It’s important that we hold ourselves to high standards. Whatever we expect from others, we should expect even more from ourselves. Not just when we’re interacting with other people, but even when we’re the only person impacted. In fact, that’s when upholding personal standards is most important, and the hardest to accomplish.
It’s been said that we can be our own harshest critics. We find faults where we should seek strengths. We second-guess our decisions – from what we chose to wear to the house we decided not to buy. It seems we never get things right.
At the same time, we excuse our legitimately poor choices. The extra helping of dessert, watching a movie instead of working on a project, or being impolite to another person. After all, the food would’ve gone to waste, we earned some time off, and they didn’t deserve to be treated with respect.
We need to strike a balance – not creating impossible standards while being our best possible selves.
As with so many aspects of our lives, we need the assistance and point of view of another person. We must realize we shouldn’t try to go through a self-evaluation alone but seek out a trusted and truthful friend. Someone who’ll both support us and challenge us. A loving critic.
Together, walk through decisions made over the last week, month and year. Look for the opportunities to do better, especially when they impact another person. Together, create a plan on ways to improve in the future. Then commit to have a follow-up discussion. Accountability improves performance.
We should all strive to be a little bit better. With some help, hard work, and self-honesty, we can become an improved version of ourselves.
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.