You Get What You Tolerate

Are you frustrated at what people try to get away with? It's almost certainly your fault. What you tolerate sets the standard.

“When it comes to standards, as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.” — Leif Babin

What you tolerate sets the standard. Period.

As a leader, you can teach and preach standards until you are blue in the face, but people ultimately respond to your example. What do you tolerate? How do you treat people who can do nothing for you? Do you actually practice what you preach?

People always favor your actions over your words.

You may think people aren’t paying attention, but think again. They are subconsciously attuned to the example you set. We humans are so good at determining boundaries this way, it is automatic.

Even more interesting, you set an example for yourself. What your mind allows your heart to do sets the stage for future actions. You treat yourself as you would any other person.

  • If you can get away with skipping a workout today, it will likely happen again the next day.

  • If you watch Netflix instead of working on your side hustle, watching Netflix will become a habit.

  • If you curse like a drunken sailor with your friends, guess what is likely to happen when you lose your cool in public?

You can’t rest on your laurels. Each day requires the example to be set anew. Thinking otherwise is the equivalent of holding back the tide.

In many ways, you are a child constantly testing the limits of others and yourself. If you could turn a mirror on yourself in those moments, you would see a gleeful look of anticipation. What can you get away with next? How far can you push the boundaries of what is tolerable?

Pushing the limits is in your nature. A combination of curiosity and survival instinct compels you.

Master yourself. Practice what you preach. When there is no discernible difference between the two, only then will your expectations of others match what you tolerate.

Take the advice of Coach Mike Ditka: “In life, you get what you tolerate.