“Always leave it better than it was” Four Tips to Holding Yourself to Higher Standards

In Blackbelt in Business by Chris Berlow2 Comments

Have you ever loaned out something of yours and it was returned in worse condition than when they took it. Or if someone left a mess with the expectation that someone else to clean it up. Oh, here’s a classic, letting someone borrow your car with a full tank of gas and getting it back on empty. Pretty frustrating for most, wouldn’t you agree?

Personally, I have been working sooo hard to teach my children this lesson for their entire lives. Actually, I think every parent works hard to teach their children this same lesson. The classic parenting statement, “If you make a mess, clean up after yourself.” I actually believe it should be a little more like, “If you make a mess, make it cleaner than when you started”. Think about how great that will serve them in their future. Think about how great it will do for all of us as adults and this is exactly what we are talking about today.

In the last blog post we talked about the need to calm down rather than slow down. Our society has become so fast paced that it will be impossible to slow down, but we could all calm down. Click the link and you could see what I mean.

Well, I think the challenge is that many people are so busy that they are on to the next thing before the initial task was completed thoroughly. It’s like writing a story and giving good content and forgetting about the conclusion. It seems to be a more common occurrence for expecting someone to come behind and either clean, finish or whatever it is. I believe it is extremely important that we hold ourselves to higher standards and become uncommon in our approach to this matter. How do we be uncommon? It’s simple, just do a little bit more.

prideHere are four simple tips to holding yourself to higher standards.

1. If you borrow something, give it back in better condition: We already touched on this. The person who you borrowed from was nice enough to give it to you, the least you could do is give it back in better condition then when you received it. The person will more likely want to loan it to you again. I remember using my friend’s mountain bike for a month while mine was getting repaired. I gave it back with a new tire, paid for it to be tuned up and it was in way better shape then when I started using it. His words to me, “Wow, you could use my bike anytime.”

2. Be a little bit early: Years ago I was notorious for arriving a little bit late to meetings. Truth is at the time I had three young children and would say I should be allotted five minutes for each child. While it was taken lightly, I learned later on how it was disrespectful for the others. Truth is, I should have planned better and been there on time. I now strive to arrive five minutes early and I have learned that it eliminates a ton of unnecessary pressure because I have given myself extra time. I actually used this as a New Years Resolution and have stuck with it. It’s been awesome!

3. Work hard to surprise people: Doesn’t it feel great that when someone is surprised by your “above and beyond” performance? Well, do it often and do it more. I learned a lot over the years in my martial arts training. One of the greatest epiphany’s I had was to always do what I do masterfully even if I am not at the master level yet. Whereas I am a Master in the martial arts, I am not in other areas. However, no matter what it is, I will put in 110% of effort and commitment. That is what I could consider as a masterful approach. With this mentality growth and success is inevitable as well as a great pride in whatever you do.

4. “Give without memory and receive without forget” How amazing is this statement. Grandmaster Byung Min Kim shared that with Master Paul Melella and myself at one of our Friday training sessions while having tea. “Give without memory” means to do good without any expectation of something in return. For example, go the extra mile because you take pride in what you do and not so they will do something for you. “Receive without forget” means to never forget the good that is done for you and pay it forward. Good deeds for others is essential for your mental and physical health alike.

In closing, I could proudly say that this mentality is something that I strive to live by in all areas of my life. I always work hard to over deliver on any promises or commitments that I make. As a result, I have developed wonderful relationships both personally and professionally that are centered around trust and respect. There is no better way to earn trust and respect by delivering more then what is expected.

Please, please work hard to follow these simple steps. I am sure you are already on the path especially if you are reading this article. If you go above and beyond, it will always come back to you ten fold so I challenge you to do so. At Empowered Mastery we always say that we like to “Over promise and over deliver”. The over promise part is a given, the over deliver part is a conscious choice we all make and truth is, it is a must. Even more importantly, share that mindset with your children and they will have an even brighter future.

Please let me know if you have any questions or have any topics that you would like me to write about. I truly enjoy sharing the lessons that have been handed down to me and the realizations that come to me through my experiences.

The team of Empowered Mastery will be hosting an event on March 31st in White Plains called the “Best of the Best”. If you should be interested in attending, please check out the link or email me directly at cberlow@empoweredmastery.com and I could give you further information.

With great respect,

Chris Berlow


  1. This is very insightful. Thank you for the motivation and encouragement…..The first step to a better society is for individuals to be better socially…

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