Raise the Bar

Right Now The World Needs You to Raise Your Game

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Jill Sylvester LMHC

I’m sure you’re aware of the 80/20 rule. 

The 80/20 rule is where you give 80% of your best and allow for 20% imperfection.

For example, my naturopathic doctor used to say eat well 80% of the time and eat not so great the rest of the day/week/month.

I followed that model for years until I decided I wanted to eat right 90% of the time, maybe even 95% if I stretched myself, while still allowing for “fun” and “cheat eats.” (Think salt and vinegar chips, chocolate, ice cream — mostly non-dairy but still…).

80% is a worthy goal in terms of exercising, healthy food choices, and time committed to certain passion projects each day, but what about when it comes to relationships?

Who do you give 80% to but could give more? Your spouse? children? siblings? cousins?

Where are you currently at 80% in your life but want to reach higher?

Where are you giving 80% of yourself but know in your heart that you could give more? What would your relationships look like if you did?

We’re not talking about giving yourself away or giving energy you don’t have to give. This means grabbing a journal, or reflecting on your next walk, and getting really honest with yourself where you are giving 80% and feel good about that fact, excccccept that you know you could give and do more and that this relationship deserves that effort.

Another way to look at it is to think about the scenario where your significant other or work partner or family member or friend was giving you 80%.

How might you feel about that?

This month, think of situations and relationships where you can stretch yourself higher, where you can give more. Maybe, too, it’s about asking others to give you more in a relationship, knowing when you use your voice you are respecting yourself greater than 80% of the time and that by asking you are setting the bar for what you feel you are ready to receive.

With regard to the world at large, we need to give more in order to receive more, to receive better from the world. We need to be the change we seek.

If we want to see a better landscape reflected back to us in the proverbial mirror of our souls, maybe we all need to reflect on where we are operating at 80% and where we could do, say, and be better on a daily, weekly, monthly, lifetime basis.

Jill Sylvester is a licensed mental health counselor, author of the self-help book, “Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health,” the Young Adult novels, “The Land of Blue,” “Awakening,” Book 1 in the Devon: Dream Agent series and host of the “Trust Your Intuition Podcast.” Her work has been featured in Well+Good, Bustle, SheKnows, WorkingMother, Parenthood, TeenMentor, and To receive her free weekly blog containing tips to better your life, subscribe at

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