On High Expectations

  • Dad wisdom: On standards
  • Free workshop: Unlocking Habits
  • Fitness: Rehab like a champ
  • Bonus stuff—including a dad joke

On high expectations

As a dad, I often walk a tightrope between too much and too little. I don’t want to be a petty tyrant in my own home. Yet, I also don’t want to look back on my son’s first decade and change and think, “I would have better served this kid by asking more of him.” I’m not going to pretend to have solved this problem but, as a coach as well as a dad, I most certainly have thoughts.

High expectations are an act of care. The opposite of high standards is to say, “It doesn’t matter to me what you do and I have zero standards for how you do it.” So, out of respect and out of love, we instead work together to to map out what someone is capable of. The caveat is that this is what they want—you are an ally here, not a manager or a boss or a benevolent dictator. You are, if anything a co-conspirator.

We can scaffold the process through planning and skill building… sometimes pointing the final gap they need to bridge in order to execute at a new level. However, my favourite thing is to find places where I see that a person’s capability exceeds their own awareness and then to create enough emotional safety for them to push through and achieve it.

These thoughts are based on a recent Dad Strength weekly call.

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Unlocking Habits

Spoiler alert: knowledge isn’t the issue

A big part of my career has been devoted to the question of why we struggle to do things that we know are good for us. I have trained and mentored under Dr. BJ Fogg, director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford and author of what I consider to be the GOAT habit book (yes, better, even, than Atomic Habits).

There are four major things holding us back:

* We choose strategies that depend on consistently high motivation

* We leave too much to chance (real skills will outperform luck)

* We don’t build high performance practices around things that seem easy and obvious

* We don’t tailor habits to the unique details of our own lives

Given the new year, I feel like it’s good timing to host a free workshop on unlocking habits on Tuesday, December 19th—at 3 PM EST. I'll be holding this in place of our weekly call.

Register here

How to rehab like a champ (podcast)

I recently spoke with Dr. Judy Oskam about rehabbing an injury. I discuss why the research no longer recommends RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), some frameworks for progression, and a critical nutrition tip. You can listen to the episode here.

The simplest way to reduce mistakes: slow down

We often think of high achievers as having a particular type of genius. The far less sexy truth is that high performance is most frequently characterized by a lack of unforced errors. In other words, it’s less about being smart and more about avoiding stupid mistakes. One of the key ways to do this: avoid rushing.

Not rushing seems almost too simple. You don’t need to find a master on a mountaintop for this kind of wisdom; everybody already knows it. The real trick is in applying this concept with utter consistency—meaning that you have strategies to deal with different types of rushing. Like when Nobel Prize winning economist, Daniel Kahneman shares his favourite rule is to never say yes to a request on the phone or behaviour design expert, BJ Fogg, says that when he notices that he’s rushing through things, he will say, “I will slow down 10%.”

It’s easiest to avoid rushing by getting ahead of it. So, here’s my question for you: what situations are most likely to have you rushing—and what prompts can you locate ahead of these to use as tools for preemptively slowing down?


“The Starter Step is a kind of mental jujitsu—it has a surprising impact for such a small move because the momentum it creates often propels you to the next steps with less friction. The key is not to raise the bar. Doing the Starter Step is success. Every time you do it, you are keeping that habit alive”

—BJ Fogg

Dad joke

I, for one, like Roman numerals

Da brie was everywhere

Thanks to Jordan for this one

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