Who sets your standards?
If you serve to lead at a high level, you’re envisioning futures that others can’t yet see–or that they simply believe can’t be brought to life.
You’re challenging the received wisdom. You’re challenging reality as most perceive it. You’re complicating things for all those who have a stake in preserving the status quo.
What about your own life and work? Who sets your standards? Are you limiting yourself to what most people assume to be reasonable? Are your standards set by voices from your past–voices that may well be submerged and hard to identify with the passage of time?
Are you attempting to set standards of your own? Whether you’re doing this for yourself as an individual, or for an organization, or a larger group of any kind, who are you looking to for guidance? What’s the line between aspirational and delusional? How do you make that judgment?
This plays out in many situations. A recurring one today is how older people set new standards for how to live and work. This is a situation that will play out for years to come.
There is no precedent for the immense numbers of healthy older people worldwide. They are, necessarily, pioneers. They are exploring unfamiliar terrain.
If the specific issues they face are new, the kinds of thinking they are applying is quite familiar to all who serve to lead.
Perhaps Yuichiro Miura, Mick Jagger, and Geraldo Rivera can shed some light.
80 Year Old Climbs Everest
In May 2013 Yuichiro Miura, an 80-year-old Japanese man, reached the summit of Mt. Everest.
Miura’s achievement occurred a mere sixty years after Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay undertook the first recorded successful Everest expedition.
Before Hilary and Norgay, Mt. Everest, like the four-minute mile, stood as unconquerable. Then, in a flash, what was possible was reset.
Now Yuichiro Miura has transformed our view of what an individual can accomplish at 80 years of age.
Inspired by previous explorers, Miura transformed himself. His daring thoughts will change what countless people are able to do.
Mick Jagger at 70
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger turned 70 in July 2013.
Might this be the same Mick Jagger who once mused that he could not imagine playing “Satisfaction” after he was 30?
Reactions to the Rolling Stones on tour for a sixth decade are decidedly mixed. Some reflect generational perspectives. Many people of Jagger’s cohort appear supportive. At least some younger people are put off.
The Rolling Stones maintain a large following. Their concerts are extravaganzas. Jagger performs with notable energy. His rehearsals are supplemented by an intense physical training regimen. Where he and the Rolling Stones (tragically including the late Brian Jones) were once linked to excess, Jagger now is manifestly disciplined. He refrains from smoke and drink like any other individual who takes their health seriously.
To whom does Jagger look for examples of late-life performing? Perhaps he thinks of blues singers and jazz musicians who’ve remained active and productive well into the ages where most people have retreated and retired.
My sense is that Jagger should not be underestimated. He’s intelligent, reflective, self-contained, and resourceful. He was in the vanguard of change in the arts in the 1960s, when popular entertainment was transformed as young entertainers wrote their own music, finding their own voice.
WIll Jagger help the same audience find their voice a second time, in late life?
Geraldo Rivera at 70
We’ve all cringed at middle-aged women who dress like their daughters–and who appear to misinterpret indulgent reactions as admiring. Ditto with middle-aged men who don Speedos years after their personal sell-by date for such display.
Histrionic Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera missed the memo. Declaring “70 is the new 50,” Rivera tweeted himself shirtless. The result is, shall we say…. memorable…. interesting….
Who sets his standards? Based on the negative reactions that lit up the Internet, Rivera acted entirely on his own. It shows. In terms of self-awareness, for Rivera, 70 seems to be the new 17.
Who Sets Your Standards?
What about you? Who sets your standards? Whose influence or example helps you to determine what is possible?
Whom do you consult to determine whether your goals and expectations are admirably unreasonable?
How will you know when you’re slipping into delusion?
How do you decide whom to heed?
Yuichiro Miura has served the world by his accomplishment. Mick Jagger has the potential to do something similar. Geraldo Rivera looks to be serving himself.
Who are you serving?
Who Sets Your Standards?