One of my favorite clients of all time (Hi Teri!) got married for the first time in her 40’s. It can be hard when all your friends are tying the knot in their 20’s and 30’s, but she said, “I just didn’t want to settle.” Then she looked at me with her wide-set gorgeous eyes, and with a smirk said, “Don’t EVER settle.”
I watched her walk down the aisle to the love of her life and let me tell you, there was a confidence, a clarity, I had never seen before.
Tony & Teri on their wedding day in 2011.
What I’ve learned is that it takes courage to set your expectations, but if you do, those who can rise up will show up.
From my assistant shooters, to graphic designer, to photo album company – I work with people who are talented and care deeply about what they do. That’s the only way the results will be high quality. I care a lot about my work and expect other people to, too. It is also pleasant to be around people who are passionate about what they do.
People will do what is expected of them. If you expect people to be incapable and do mediocre work, that is exactly what you’re going to get. I set the bar very high with who I choose to work with, and love every single one of them.
From age 16 to 32 there has been a huge shift in the quality of people in my personal life, particularly men.
I used to have low self esteem and have dated some real Mickey Mouse Ding Dongs. It’s funny because it’s true! The last few years I set the bar to what I truly want, and somehow, magically, the ones who show up are smart, successful, funny, adventurous, handsome, treat me like a lady, and have adoring qualities that I want in a partner.
When it comes to setting standards and expectations, I learned these 2 things:
1. Set the bar.
Ask for what you truly want and think you deserve. Life will give it to you! If you aren’t happy, perhaps it’s time to work on raising your self-worth. This took me years of ups, downs, and consistent personal growth. I still experience disappointment when something doesn’t work out the way I hoped, but that’s all part of it.
2. Set your boundaries.
I think this is where it gets tricky. If someone doesn’t meet your expectations, you must have the courage to say no/no thank you/bye bye. The ideal person isn’t going to come into your life if you’re still hanging on to a MMDD because they’ll do for now. Make room so your YES can show up.
This is what came up in Google when I typed in “Mickey Mouse Ding Dong.” Hahaha!
Is there such thing as having too high standards? I don’t think so as long as you’re happy. Some people might tell you your expectations are too high because they believe it’s not possible, which brings me to another point – I only take advice from people who are where I want to be. Hence, listening to Teri when she told me not to settle.
Now, having solid people show up in my life, I have proof that if you set high standards and honor your boundaries, you will be rewarded.