Have you ever found yourself wanting to make significant changes in your life, whether in health, career, or relationships, but consistently falling short? You know you need to do something, but there’s no urgency driving you. It's a struggle many people face, myself included. We often wait until a crisis forces us to act. The challenge is to develop that sense of urgency before hitting rock bottom.

Take health, for example. Almost everyone wants to be healthier, lose weight, or get in better shape. It’s a common New Year’s resolution. However, the lack of urgency leads to inaction. We delay making changes until a health scare or a stern warning from a doctor pushes us to take it seriously. Similarly, I see men who desire to get married but spend their singleness without preparing themselves for a great marriage. It isn’t until they meet someone special that they feel the urgency to improve themselves.

Why do we wait for a crisis to act? How can we develop the urgency to make necessary changes before we’re forced to?

John Wooden once said, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” Matthew 24 echoes this sentiment, urging us to always be ready. This is what separates great men from average men: the ability to do what’s needed without external pressure.

Raising Your Standards

In life, we get what we expect. If your standard is to be in average physical shape, that’s what you’ll achieve. If your goal is merely to find a job, you might do just that. High standards transform “shoulds” into “musts.” They elevate your expectations, driving you to achieve more.

Think about the areas in your life where you’ve set low standards. Have you settled for less in your relationship with God, your interactions with others, your career, or your health? Reflect on these areas and ask yourself if you’ve allowed limiting beliefs to set these standards. Maybe past failures or negative comments have convinced you that you can’t achieve more. Identifying and challenging these beliefs is crucial for raising your standards.

Pyschological necessity

Brendon Burchard describes necessity as the emotional drive that makes great performance a must rather than a preference. Here are three ways to raise this necessity:

  • Link It to Your Identity: Your actions align with how you view yourself. If you see yourself as someone who pursues excellence, you’ll consistently strive to do your best. Vince Lombardi said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence.” Make excellence a core part of your identity, not just in what you enjoy, but in everything you do.


  • Link It to the Service of Others: We’re more likely to fulfill commitments to others than to ourselves. Consider who needs you to be at your best. For me, it’s the men I serve, helping them overcome passivity and pursue their God-given dreams. When I frame my tasks as serving others, I feel a greater urgency to perform well. As believers, this includes our duty to God and stewarding the gifts He has given us.


  • Set Deadlines: Deadlines create urgency. Without them, important tasks get postponed indefinitely. Make your commitments public to add accountability. When your reputation is on the line, you’re more likely to follow through.

Practical steps

  • Identify Your Standards: Write down your current standards in four areas: your relationship with God, your relationships with others, your career, and your health. Reflect on whether these standards are holding you back.


  • Challenge Limiting Beliefs: Identify any limiting beliefs that are keeping your standards low. Replace these with truths that support higher standards.


  • Raise Your Necessity: Connect your actions to your identity and service to others. Set real, meaningful deadlines for your goals.

By raising your standards and necessity, you can develop a sense of urgency that drives you to make lasting changes in your life. This proactive approach helps you become the man God has called you to be, living a life of significance and purpose.


One of the main things that I have struggled with throughout my life and that I see and hear so many men struggling with is having the urgency to make changes before things get really bad. Or before some circumstance forces them to change. Or before some real deadline is forced upon them.

Think about health, pretty much everyone wants to be healthier…maybe lose some weight… get to the gym more. 

They want to look and feel better. Ask almost anyone what change they want to make in their life, and this is one of the first answers you’ll get. It’s on almost everyone’s New Years resolutions. 

But we see people continuing to not actually take the necessary action to make it happen because there is nothing forcing them to do it. But once something happens, like a health scare, a strict warning from their doctor, or they sign up for a race or something with a real deadline, people usually kick it into gear

I see men all the time talk about wanting to get married, they want to find an amazing girl that checks all the boxes. But in their singleness, they are just sitting around not working on themselves, not using this time to prepare well to go into marriage ready.

It isn’t until they finally get that girl that they start to make changes. 

There are so many things that we know we should be doing, but just can’t seem to get the motivation to do them.

So why is that?

It is a question I have been wanting to answer for myself and I have been desperately trying to find the answer to be able to help other men who are struggling with the same thing. 

John Wooden has a quote where he says, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” 

In Matthew 24 it says to always be ready, because you don’t know the day your Lord will come. 

You must develop a greater sense of urgency in your life to make changes when no one is forcing you to. You must develop a greater sense of urgency to make the most of your life even when there is no deadline or no catastrophic circumstance making you do it.

I think this is what really sets apart the great men from average men. Can you develop the ability to do the things that you know you need to do…and want to do, without anyone or anything forcing you to do it? 

Alright so how do we do this?

I want to introduce you to two concepts today that will help you live with greater urgency. These are going to be fairly high level concepts today and we will dig deeper into them more at a later time.


2 Ways to Raise your Sense of Urgency

  1. Raise Your Standards

We get in life, what we expect to get out of life. What you decide you can tolerate is usually what you will get.

So what do I mean by standards? We all have certain standards that we set in our lives in different areas. If all I really expect out of myself is to be in average physical shape, then that is most likely what I will get.

If all I expect out of myself is to get a job that earns minimum wage, that is exactly what I am going to do.

If all I expect of myself is to get married but don’t have a greater vision for being a great husband or a great Dad, that is what I will get.

You aren’t guaranteed to reach your goals, but you are guaranteed to get your standards. 


Ed Mylett says, “If you want the best possible chance of reaching your goals, you need to adjust your standards, and reaching your goals will become almost automatic.”


We are constantly told to upgrade our goals, which you should, but you also need to constantly reflect on your standards and upgrade those as well if you want to move to the next level. 

Think about the question I asked earlier…what is something you want to change in your life but just can’t seem to do it. Now think of that in terms of the standard you have set for yourself.

Have you settled for a low standard in that area? 

Because higher standards change things from “I should” to “I must”. Higher standards pull us up to that level whereas low standards pull us down.

If you have always thought that you are not a healthy person, that is what you will get.

If you have always figured you would just be someone who doesn’t have good relationships, that is what you will get. 

If you are willing to tolerate something, that’s probably what you are going to get.

So when you are setting your goals, you must ask yourself what you are willing to tolerate? You must ask yourself what you are standards are. 

The greatest individuals, the greatest companies, and the greatest sports teams always set higher standards than the others.

Coach Nick Saban for Alabama is a good example of this. Where must coaches say we are going to practice something until we get it right. Nick Saban said we will practice until we can’t get it wrong. 

He has a higher standard for his team and it shows with their play on the field.

It is fully up to you to decide what your standards are and what you can tolerate. I am not going to tell you what that is. It is between you and God. 


But it is critical to understand that you will get the level of your standards in the different areas of your life, so you must upgrade your standards if you want change

So real quickly, I want you to write down what you think your standards have been in 4 different categories.

  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationships with others
  3. Career/Finances
  4. Health

Quickly jot down what your standards have been in those different areas. What have you been able to tolerate? What is just good enough?


“We only get what we believe that we deserve. Raise the bar, raise your standards and you will receive a better outcome.” - Joel Brown


“What changes people is when their should’s become must’s.” - Tony Robbins

If there is a gap between what you are getting and what you want to get, most likely you need to upgrade your standards.

What you can tolerate is ultimately what you are going to get

1 thing that you can do to help upgrade your standard is to identify the limiting beliefs that are causing you to set the standard where it is. 

Usually something is holding you back from believing you are capable of the next level or deserving of the next level.

This is a thought pattern that was created because of the way you were raised, or something that happened when you were younger, maybe a moment of failure, or something that someone said to you.

There is usually a limiting belief tied to that standard

For your health, maybe your whole family has always been out of shape and so you believe that is going to be your story.

For your career, maybe someone said something to you when you were younger that made you believe you weren’t good enough or didn’t have what it takes.

For relationships, maybe you ruined some past relationships and so you think you are going to ruin this one so you don’t invest enough.

Whatever it may be, there is usually a deep rooted belief that is making you choose that standard for your life.

Take a look at those standards you just wrote down for those 4 areas, and see if there are some beliefs that are tied to them

And maybe some of the areas are great and that is totally fine! Look at the one or two areas you know you want to make changes and see if there is a belief there causing you to settle for that standard.


Ok the second part of raising your sense of urgency, and it goes hand in hand with raising your standards is something called psychological necessity.

Raising the necessity in your life

“Necessity is the emotional drive that makes a great performance a must instead of a preference.” - Brendon Burchard

This is where you can force yourself to do things even when you don’t want to do them.

This is where you feel the necessity to be great, even when you don’t feel inspired or motivated.

Necessity demands that you take action

Necessity inspires a higher sense of motivation than usual because it is a value of yours. 


3 Main ways to Raise Necessity

  1. Link it to your identity

We’ve talked before about the power of identity. We will always behave in alignment with how we view ourselves. We will act in congruence with what we value.

If you place a high value on excellence in everything you do, then you will act more consistently with excellence. You must develop the identity of someone who consistently takes action. You must develop the identity of someone who does everything with excellence. 

When the personal commitment and drive to be great on a daily basis doesn’t exist, none of the tools or tactics will matter. 

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”  - Vince Lombardi

You must develop a deep care to perform well at any task or activity. It must become a part of who you are. Do you have the identity of someone who does their best whether you enjoy the activity or not? Someone who has a deep commitment to excellence does it in every area of their life.

Ultimately, how you do anything is typically how you’ll do anything.

If you are someone who cuts corners in one area, oftentimes you will cut corners in other things. The actions that you take on a consistent basis build your habits. The actions you take when no one is looking builds the habits you will have when you are in front of others. 

Commit to becoming a person of necessity. Tie it to who you are. 


  1. Link it to service to others

We are more likely to do more for others than we do for ourselves. Think of your life. Do you usually follow through on commitments you make to other people more than the commitments you make to yourself?

That is usually the case. We are way more likely to follow through with something if our reputation is on the line. We are more likely to follow through if it’s for someone that we love and care about.

An olympic runner was asked who he thinks is going to win the race. In sprinting the difference between the winner and second place is usually fractions of a second. So he was asked how he knew who would win.

And his answer was shocking. He said it’s most likely the runner that is doing this for his mom. Or doing it for someone else that’s important in his life. 

The people who are a great on a consistent basis, consistently tap into a higher sense of duty to others. 

As believers, this should absolutely be tapping into our duty to God. Our stewardship of the gifts, abilities, and opportunities he has given us. The more you can tap into that on a consistent basis, the greater urgency you will feel to be at your best.

We should also tap into our duty to others. The mission that God has on our lives. One of the most compelling things in life is to pursue God’s mission for your life. In whatever way he has gifted you or called you to serve others, tap into that on a daily basis and let that raise your necessity to be great. 

High performers often feel the necessity to perform well out of a sense of duty to someone or something beyond themselves. Someone is counting on them or they are trying to fulfill a promise or responsibility.

One of the best ways to do this is to consistently ask yourself throughout the day, “Who needs me at my best right now?”

Set an alarm on your phone asking you this question. Or every time you sit down at your desk, ask yourself this question. Before you prepare for that presentation at work…before you make sales calls. 

If you’re married, this could be to do your best for your wife and your kids. If not, it could be the people you serve through your business. Or it could be for the Lord.


  1. Set Deadlines for everything important in your life

Nothing drives urgency like a real deadline. I think we all know this. When there is a deadline that you have to meet, you will rise to the occasion and figure out a way to get it done. With every goal, with every change you want to make, with your dreams, you must start to put deadlines on them or a lot of them will get left undone.

This must be a deadline that actually means something to you. It will have to cost you something or you will not do it. 

The best way to do this is to put your identity and reputation on the line by making the commitment public. Tell someone you know what you are planning on doing and by when. Announce it publicly. It’s scary, but it makes the deadline real. Do something where you feel the consequences if you don’t actually hit the deadline. 

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