I need to give credit to where credit is due for this episode. Thank you Vincent Pugliese for this mindset. If you don't know Vincent, check out "Content But Not Satisfied". Vincent has grown an online community called Total Life Freedom with over 100 strong in the past 4 years. The members inside this community have access to expert calls on various topics of online platform building, elite masterminds, internal courses, retreats, and of course, the extremely valuable connections between like-minded, freedom-seeking entrepreneurs. I have been a part of this community and mastermind since the first day. In fact, I am an original member and was there to help Vincent set up the foundation. I've had a unique perspective of watching Vincent build this community and raise up leaders from within it. I remember the hard times too, such as last summer. We stayed together in Nashville for Podcast Movement. When the masses went to the insane iHeart afterparty with drinking, we stuck around the hotel to mastermind. You see, Vincent had built a great community. But like any business, he had some parts and people that were higher maintenance than others. I showed him my 2 x 2 grid to map out the various aspects of his business. I talked about this in "Why I Fired My First Client", where I divided all of our clients into 4 groups - low-paying & high-drama, high-paying & low-drama, high-paying & high-drama, and low-paying & low drama. When you hear these listed out, it's obvious that we want the high-paying & low-drama and don't want the low-paying & high-drama. It's the other two groups that cause us so much grief. I explained this to Vincent and he started getting excited. Then he asked if we could add a mid-range box and make it 3 x 3. That's when I got excited. We started mapping his various clients and income streams on this grid. It spoke so loud that we knew what he needed to do. I did the same exercise for us as well. By the way, this is vintage Ken & Vincent since we met at a Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, Gary Vee conference in 2014. We mastermind so well together. When the drunkards returned from the iHeart party, we were chilling in the hotel restaurant with wings and our maps. We were so excited. Vincent pledged that he would raise the standards in his community to have 100 amazing people that were all low-drama. Some were low-paying and some were high, but no one brought drama. They would be an ultra generous community always looking out for others. This was the vision. This episode releases at the 1-year mark of that mapping meeting. Vincent's vision has come to fruition. TLF has leveled up more than I've ever seen it.
Vincent is in a much better place to understand what was happening and why. He told me in a recent call that it all comes down to standards versus expectations. I asked for clarification. "Ken, it's like this. Standards are boundaries we put on ourselves and expectations are what we put on others. There are so many people that operate their lives with expectations of what others should be doing for them or how others should be acting toward them and others around them." I responded. "This is what's going on in our culture with cancel culture. A group of people has a belief. That's great. They have a standard and I can respect that even if I don't agree with it. But this cancel culture expects others to conform to their standard." Vincent agreed and drove the point home. "I support when someone has a standard and lives by it. But when they try to put their standards on someone else, that's called judgment and expectations. When you have expectations on a relationship that you're in and you put yourself in a position where they don't do what you expect... you're unhappy. There aren't any flags to put in the ground here. It's a moving target. Another problem with expectations is that you can have them upon others and then not do them yourself. This is when you cross the line into hypocrisy. How many people have you seen with an online social media profile that puts expectations on others but yet they don't operate that way in real life. The only way you would know is if you know that person in their day-to-day walk and you see their online profile doesn't align."
This really made me think. I'm a Christian, a follower of Jesus. In fact, one of my life verses is from the first book of John, Chapter 2, verse 6. John writes this. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did." I have a standard. It's called the Bible and my Standard is the person of Jesus. I want to live my life as closely to how He lived it. Will I be perfect? No! But can I do my best to live in that way? Yes! That is a standard that I choose to follow. If I don't follow it, I just failed in my standards. This doesn't infringe on anybody else. When I have standards and expect others to follow the same ones, it does infringe on others. It comes across judgmental. Worst of all, when I don't follow my own standards and expect others to follow it, then I'm a hypocrite. I'm not trying to preach a sermon here. I'm just making the connection to my own life. Let's go back to Vincent. He let go of expectations a year ago and focused on standards. He set the standard of how an amazing TLF community member acts. Then he talked about it, demonstrated it, and looked for potential members that shared the same standards. This is identical to how I've been building C3 locally. We set up our standards called our core values of Excellence, Ownership, and Safety. We don't force compliance, but we allowed our standards to attract the right people and repel the wrong ones. That's made all the difference for C3 and for TLF in the past year.
I want you to examine your life. Do you have standards and living by them or are you trying to comply to someone else's? Get your own! Are you trying to enforce your standards on the wrong people and getting frustrated? Stop and find the right people.
I want to end this episode with an incredible quote to emphasize what a standard looks like.
"You can be in the middle of a hurricane or you can be on a calm day. North is still north. You could be in a thunderstorm. North is still north. People can yell at you. North is still north. It doesn't change fundamental things. And in this business, right is still right, even if you stand by yourself." Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Now that is living with standards! Thank you Justice Thomas and thank you Vincent Pugliese for the meat of this podcast episode!
Check out my interview with the T-Bag Company Founder, entitled "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible with Damon Washington". You can purchase any of the T-Bag products at a 10% discount through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page at smartcleaningschool.com/resources.
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