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When High Standards Turn Toxic

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 25, 2009

When high standards are taken too far, they become counterproductive.

Rooted in disappointment that things and people are not as they should be, some level of negativity, stress, and frustration follows. "Should" is not a pragmatic starting point for whatever you hope to achieve, as it simply denies the current state of things. Make it a point to catch your "should-thinking" right away, and instead work to accept what is. Use that, not "what should be," to form your vision, strategy, and tactics, and you significantly increase the likelihood of a great outcome.

Self-coaching questions:

a. How much time am I spending being disappointed in myself or others?

b. Are "should" or "should have" frequently on my mind?

c. How can I reframe my own thinking to get out of the "shoulds" and into the more productive mode of what positive steps can be taken?

David Peck
Executive Coach and President
Leadership Unleashed
Palm Springs, Calif.

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