"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Standards are the behaviors you hold yourself to (as opposed to boundaries which are the behaviors you hold others to. Standards aren't what you think you "should" do or what you think other people want or expect you to do. Rather, standards are behaviors that you commit to because they will help you be your best. You might have a standard of not overbooking yourself because you want a certain amount of down time. You can implement this standard by committing to staying home three evenings per week or not making back-to-back meeting appointments at work. Sometimes you will need to make difficult choices in order to honor your standards. You may have to choose between two things you really want to do, or decline a party invitation because you would have to infringe on your "three free nights" standard in order to attend. It is temping to make exceptions in certain cases, however, be honest with yourself whether your standard has more exceptions than rule. Once you get used to maintaining your standards and begin to feel how great your life has become as a result, you will find yourself strongly adhering to your personal standards.

Take a few minutes right now to make a list of 10 standards that are important to you. Once you know what standards you want to implement or enhance, you need to make the commitment to yourself to protect them. It can help to let people in your life know that you are raising your personal standards. If your friends are used to you staying out to the wee hours five nights a week and your new standard is that you will only go out twice a week and be home by midnight, they may take it personal when you start declining invitations if you have not informed them of your intention. Let people know that raising your standards is important to you and ask for their support. Who knows, they may be so impressed with how your life improves, they will start raising their own standards.

As is also the case with boundaries, once you start raising your standards you will see the space and richness it opens up in your life and you will protect those standards automatically and never go back to having weak standards. Choose at least one standard from your list to implement this week. Continue adding one each week until you have implemented them all. As you strengthen your standards, be aware of how it makes you feel.

Author's Bio: 

Ruth Hegarty is passionate about helping professional and entrepreneurial women create authentic personal power and confidence in all that they do. As a certified professional coach and educator, she is adept at creating and customizing tools and programs to help even the most unsure women transform themselves into joyful and powerful creators. Ruth is founder of Leap of Confidence, a leader in women’s empowerment and an avid promoter of self-determination.

Download Ruth’s powerful free confidence building e-book at www.ruthhegarty.com/id36.html and receive a free subscription to her popular online newsletter, “IALAC News” (it stands for I Am Lovable And Capable), which brings a weekly dose of practical and powerful confidence to its readers.

As a formerly extremely shy underachiever, Ruth truly understands the personal demons that hold women back and, most importantly, how to shed those demons and become authentically our powerful brilliant selves. Learn more and contact Ruth at www.coachruth.com.