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Just the other day, I had the great benefit of connecting with a friend I hadn’t seen in probably about three years. Now, we connected on social media and actually scheduled a time to get on a video. Now, circumstances had kept us apart. I’ve been busy traveling the world with my family and just really haven’t heard from him. It was great that he reached out to me and I got really excited.

Then we jumped on a video and right away I recognized that he had aged about 10 or 15 years. His hair was scraggly and gray. It’s thinning out. His face was long. He’d gained at least 20 pounds since last time I talked to him and he just looked frumpy and depressed. I reached out to him and said, “Hey, look. I don’t mean to say this but what’s going on? You used to be this vibrant, healthy athlete. We played sports together. You are always one of those guys that was leading the pack.” He said, “Yeah.” Just over the years, the last couple of years, he and his wife, and I won’t say her name, but they’ve been struggling with some marital issues. I was like, “Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s really common and I hope things are better.” He said, “Yeah, they are better.”

I was like, “Great.” I’m like, “What did you do? Did you go to marital counseling? Did you hire a coach? What was your secret sauce?” I love to learn how other people overcome relationship hurdles, so I can apply them to my clients and just see if I can help out. What he said to me wasn’t really surprising. What he said to me was, “Doug, really, I just lowered my expectations. I realized she’s not going to change. I realized I’m not going to get what I want. I realized I’m not going to do anything different, so I just lowered the expectations.” I said, “Wow, how is that working for you?” He just stared at me for a little bit and you could see tears forming in his eyes and almost a distance or deadness is how I would describe it. He said, “Well, it’s working.”

Then we talked a little bit more. Obviously, I just don’t try to coach friends, but I do try to lead them in a path because obviously when people reach out, usually they want a little bit of help and I just care about people and I want them to have the best of their lives. I want them to be the authors of their own story and be on their journey.

I said, “How is business going? You had two thriving businesses just a couple years ago. How is that going?” He said, “Well, I let go of one business. We started to lose a profit and the other business, yeah, we’re getting by. We’re a little in debt. We’re in the red but I’m able to pay rent and so I can’t complain too much.” You could see that he had lowered his expectations and settled in all areas of his life as we went down the list. I started asking him about other areas. How are you getting outside? Are you running like you used to? He used to be an amazing trail runner. He used to love the environment. He was like, “No, I actually haven’t been outside in probably a year or so doing any trail running or anything like that.” He’d been outside but not really in the wilderness, not in nature. You could see how this happened through his Five to Thrive and actually we call it the Core Eight. He’d actually been through the whole thing with fun, growth and wealth as well.

I ask you today, I ask you in your Five to Thrive, write it down, where are you settling? Where are you lowering your expectations to fit in with something you’re settling with? What is the cost of settling for you? My friend, he had aged and looks at least 10 to 15 years and my guess based on my experience is his health internally had aged at least the same. He had settled and the marrow of his life had been sucked out of him and it was obvious. Now, I hope he gets on the right path and he listens to these daily growth hacks. I’m happy to help you if you’re listening to this now.

What I want for you though, you the listener, if you’re sharing this time with me is I want you to learn and heed the warning that my friend went down. Do not settle and do not lower your expectations. The cost of settling is too great. Keep your expectations and your standards high. You deserve it. This is the author of your own story, and your story should be one that’s epic, one that you want to read, an epic page turner and that starts with keeping your standards high.

Grab your journal. Write out your Five to Thrive. What are your standards in each five categories, your mind, your body, your soul, your relationships and your business? Then where are you settling, if anywhere? Then I encourage you to pick one of those. Right here in this moment, take a stand and raise the bar.

That’s it for me today. Please share this with at least three other people so you can build your tribe. Have conversations that matter and remember do the work. If you’re not doing the work, it’s not helping. I’ll see you tomorrow. As always, go out, inspire somebody else by simply being the author of your own story.

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