A few weeks ago I read a post by Sebastian Marshall about getting everything over the bar first. It was based on something he himself read.
It struck a chord with me because I was reminded of my days at The Citadel. The gist of his post is this quote:
You have to get all work over the bar — meaning, good enough quality given your requirements — before polishing anything in particular to perfection.
At The Citadel, a knob’s (freshman’s uniform) is expected to be perfect. That’s the standard. The duty shirt should be pressed and without wrinkle or stain. The nametag should be properly aligned, as should the “4” signifying the class (4th classman) and the company letter for the company the knob belongs to. The duty trousers should also be pressed and without wrinkle or stain. The brass and the shoes should be extremely highly polished without any scratches or gouges. As you might guess, it takes a bit before knobs begin to reach this standard. What is typical is for the worst of the lot to be focused on. For instance, “Your shoes look like you shined them with Hershey bars!” And gradually, but quickly, a knob’s personal appearance is brought up to the standard.
What in your life isn’t over the bar? What’s below standard? Often times folks notice the things about us that are most deficient. We could be extremely good at something, but where we fall short is all that’s seen. Or, whatever it is that is below standard holds us back from our other goals. For instance, if you’re overweight, that saps at your overall health and energy levels. You could be excellent at something, but likely you can’t fully make use of it or demonstrate it because of the fact that your health isn’t over the bar.
Action: Carefully consider yourself. What in your life isn’t up to a reasonable standard? If necessary, ask trusted friends to help you identify what you need to work on. Then put together an action plan to attack those items and get them over the bar.