Addressing Approval with your Standards

By Eliot Clough | Posted 10/29/2019

When someone is new to a professional position or location, going along with what the majority wants or claims may be the general knee-jerk reaction. Seeking approval rather than what is best for a program or situation might be second nature.

Related Content: [Podcast] Leadership Journey Week 9 - Approval

According to Brian Kight, that isn’t always best, and won’t necessarily add value to your decision or who you are in the position. But how does one counteract this innate reaction? 

The founder of has got a few tricks up his sleeve, but it will take time. “When you know your standards and you’ve done enough work to live your standards, that’s what you answer to,” says Kight. “Here’s how you know you’ve gotten to the place you need to be at and cultivate … that is when you are living your standards and working hard to live your standards.”

But reaching that standard to its full potential and reaching the depth one would like to unfortunately is a difficult task. “You’ll never live [your standards] at the total level you want to be living them at at all times,” adds Kight. “You’re always working to live at your standards. I’m always working to live at my standards and I’m working to increase and be better at my standards.”

Humility is also key when addressing your standards and living up to what you’ve set before yourself. One must be aware of their lack of perfection. “Anybody, anybody could come into my life right now and quickly and easily point out areas where I am simply not up to standard on things that I teach, things that I live, things that I’m trying to do, ways I interact with people,” says Kight. “It would not take you long to come into my life personally and professionally and find mishaps. It just wouldn’t. What I’m going to do is I’m going to make sure that I’m aware of that, I’m not going to be defensive and I’m also not going to be upset or irritated that you pointed out where those gaps are because I don’t answer to your opinion. I already knew that about my life, I already know it right now. So you pointing it out doesn’t bother me.”

Kight then advises being open to the criticism, but also knowing when and when not to heed said criticism. “If you point out a gap in my standards and I see that also, I’m gonna say to myself ‘Yeah, absolutely!,’” he affirms. “If you point out a gap in my standards that I didn’t see before, I’d say, ‘Boy, you’re right. Thank you.’ If you point out a gap in my standards but it’s really not a gap in my standards, it’s just you think it is, or it’s a gap in your standards, but I don’t share your standards I’ll say, ‘Okay. Great, good for you,’ and I’ll move on. So you can go live your standards, but you don’t get to bring your standards and apply them onto me and then have me apologize for not living them.”

Identifying your standards and sticking to them along with self-awareness are clearly key here. “Eventually, people are going to approve or disapprove of you no matter what you do,” says Kight.