The idiom of “raising the bar” is all about setting a higher standard and expecting more from life.
No matter what you are doing or where you are in life, if the bar isn’t rising a little higher exponentially, you stop growing.
In an academic setting, a competitive corporate environment or as an athlete, this idea of raising the bar is easier to assimilate. For all of us who want to grow and have no structure that pushes us in certain ways by its nature, we have to actively choose to raise the bar.
A higher bar isn’t about standards that are unrealistic or damning or wanting for perfection. Raising the bar is all about incrementally expanding and getting better and better every day, even in small ways. In fact, small ways work much better than enormous leaps most of the time.
Let’s get into ways to set your own bar higher for your space… and your life, too!
Today in the Catalyst Camp life decluttering group, a lovely member decided that she was raising the bar for herself. After a few weeks of decluttering her eyes were opened to the pitfalls- and possibilities- that she didn’t notice before this time.
That’s what happens when you start clearing lots of space that was cluttered by stuff, or bad ideas or outmoded emotional baggage… you see things freshly.
My own mentor, Gabriele Van Zon, called it “feng shui eyes” that people develop when they start making changes in space for the better. Your awarness is greater. You see more that you couldn’t notice before.
The first step I’ve seen in successfully raising the bar for anything is awareness. You need to wake up even more to see what’s actually going on in your home… or your office… or your life in some way.
One of the best ways to raise awareness is to get back to basics. Eat well, sleep more, clean your house to the degree that you can at the moment and feel as present as possible.
When you have your own personal sense of wellbeing in a good place, you can see things more clearly.
Next: decide what matters most to develop to a higher level first. If you try to do everything enormously better all at once, its a bit of a nightmare.
For example, I spent a long time developing my blog to a place where it could expand with less effort on my part. I did this to the exclusion of lots of clients and developing other projects because I really wanted a platform to share with all of you that would be vast and exciting. It required a lot of developing to get it to that place. It started with learning how to post more effectively. Then it was focusing on photography. Then, photoshop. Then, expanding content…
Now, between projects I can revisit this deep focus on the blog and expand it in fun ways. But I had to get it to a place where it was working well first before I could take my eye off of it and focus on really growing and developing other things.
In your own home or life, if things are stagnant, decide what would be most beneficial for you to focus on first.
Then, focus. Focus. Focus. You can’t focus on everything all at once. I heard lots of people telling me that my blog was a waste of time and I should be “hustling” more in business. That was their thing. I did it my way. And with focus. Whatever you put your eye on will grow.
If you want more organization, focus on it. More love: focus on it. More money: make that your focus.
It doesn’t mean that you sit with tunnel vision and only do that one thing… but it does mean that you are committed to doing what it takes – including tossing extra time and energy and resources- to grow that stagnant, stuck, or outmoded area to a place where you feel like the bar is higher and you love the way it feels. It can be fitness. It can be house cleaning. It can be anything you need and want to improve.
Keep innovating. This is the “metal energy” part of the cycle of creating anything in feng shui. Curate what you are doing. Innovate as you go. Streamline your new routines. Make your workout more effective. Set aside the time you need to stay organized. Find ways to do things easier, better, more effortlessly, and more specifically, most of all!
And then, pick a new thing to more intensely develop. Once you have things rolling with a higher bar in one area of life, pick another.
I had a friend take a year to develop her business with her heart and soul invested with intensity, and now she’s doing the same with other areas of her life. While this example is extreme- dedicating a year nearly whole-heartedly to one thing- it was her way and it worked.
You may get into working out and then decide its time to focus on your social life. Or you may invigorate your home with a big declutter and new organizing habits and then decide its time to focus on expanding your education.
Whatever it is, however it works and wherever it is applied, keep raising the bar a bit higher.
The simple decision to raise the bar as a friend and be there more for the people you love is life-changing. And the more you can make these decisions, for you and for others, the more you will actually see change where you used to feel stuck.
Exciting stuff to stretch yourself this week… and moving forward… all the time!