In addition to both being multimillionaires and having thousands of raving fans, Tony Robbins and Michael Jordan have something big in common: high standards.
After Jordan played his last game, with a record-breaking, history-making career average of 30.12 points per game, Robbins asked him what his secret was to standing apart from even the best of the best. “What sets you apart, Michael…. Is it God-given talent, ability, skill? What is it?”
“‘I have a lot of talent, a lot of God-given talent, a lot of skill. I worked really hard,” he shared. “But really, it’s my standards. Every day, I demand more from myself than anybody else could humanly expect. I’m not competing with somebody else. I’m competing with what I’m capable of.'”
“You know there are days my back is hurting, my throat is hurting, I’ve had a challenge, or my father passed away, and I’ve still got to deliver for these people because my standard is give my all every time,” he shared.
“Every event has to be better. Talk to anyone who has been to our events five, 10 years, some of our trainers. They’ll say, ‘I don’t know how he does it. He always finds a way to make it better.’ That’s not an ego thing, that’s a standard in me. I have to find the way,” he said.
Robbins insists that goals don’t lead to success, high standards do. “Lasting change is different than a goal. You don’t always get a goal, but you get your standards.” He advises that a key to raising your standards is to change shoulds into musts. “Everybody in life gets their musts, but they don’t get their shoulds,” says Robbins.
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” —Michael Jordan
Tony’s Keys to High Standards
Tony has identified three keys to develop and execute against high standards.
1. Make sure your vision is compelling.
Robbins says, “You’ve got to have a vision–a vision for what it is you really, truly want, not what you think you want or what you should have.”
He continues, “A vision that really works is one that excites you…. It has to be a compelling vision. It’s got to have something that has the power to pull you, not something you have to push yourself to do.”
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” –Michael Jordan
2. Make sure that there are strong enough reasons to follow through.
“Along with that compelling vision, you’ve got to have strong enough reasons that you’re going to follow through when the going gets tough,” advises Robbins.
“You don’t let the fear take you over if you’ve got strong enough reasons.” When times get tough, you’re less likely to give up if you have strong reasons to follow through on your vision.
“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.” –Michael Jordan
3. Have rituals.
“You’ve got to review it and feel it every day,” Tony shares.
Robbins’s own key to success is his ritual of talking to himself–something he has done since he was 17 years old. Before meeting with any person or hosting any event, he recites an incantation to get himself into his peak state of mind. He ruminates on his own standards for himself.
Jordan didn’t achieve success by taking days off. “I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat,” he once said.
“People are rewarded in public for the things they practice in private for years,” says Robbins. Michael Jordan is a perfect example of this notion.
Rituals are the little things we can do day in and day out to build momentum, and momentum leads to successfully living up to our standards. The little daily victories provide results. Have rituals that back up your standards.
“You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that.” –Michael Jordan
“Results don’t come without action. If you identify yourself in a new way and own that every day, then that becomes the standard on how you’ll live. You’ll find a way to make that standard real,” says Robbins.
He says that while you cannot control the outside world, you can control the inner game.
The strongest force out there is our need to remain consistent with how we define ourselves. If we define ourselves as someone who is the absolute best at our job, we find a way to become just that.
“Whatever you really want, wants don’t get met consistently, standards do.” –Tony Robbins