Making Par vs. Raising the Bar


When I was a kid, I practically grew up on a golf course. My dad loved the game and played often. I always wanted to tag along with my dad for the hopes that I could pull along my kid-sized bag of clubs and pretend that I could hit the ball as far as he did. (And getting to illegally drive the golf cart was an extra perk.)


As I grew into my teen years, I remember wanting to get more serious about the game. I started paying attention to the rules and objectives of play. That’s when I learned about making par. For you non-golfers, par (which stands for “Professional Average Result”) is the number of strokes it should take a skilled golfer to complete each hole. Essentially, the lower your par, the better your score.

When it comes to our work and relationships, many people seem to be living just to “make par.” We know the “professional average results” required of us to make it from paycheck to paycheck. We know what’s required of us to keep others satisfied daily in relationships. In other words, we’ve mastered the skill of making par.

But what if we lived in such a way that just making par wasn’t the standard?

What if our objective was less about making par and more about “hole in one”?


We live in a culture that says average is enough. And we’ve embraced the idea that if we just make par–each day, each week, each year–we’ll find contentment. Essentially, the concept of “raising the bar” is a lost art. Going above and beyond has become a hassle.

I’m thankful to be surrounded by a handful of friends and coworkers who live with a “raising the bar” mentality. For them (and for me), average isn’t enough. There’s a genuine sense of accomplishment and joy that comes with a “raising the bar” mentality in life. You begin to see transformational results in your work. You see beauty and depth in your relationships. And ultimately, you find purpose in who God created you to be. When you raise the bar, you raise your self-esteem and your character. Bonus: You raise up those around you.

When you think about raising the bar, what imagery comes to mind?

How can you raise the bar in your own life right now?

So here’s my challenge: Whatever your area of responsibility may be (leadership, service, family, etc.), find ways to raise the bar–and don’t delay. Not only will you see transformation in your own life, but you’ll be inspiration to someone else who’s striving just to make par each day.


2 thoughts on “Making Par vs. Raising the Bar

  1. I’m all for raising the bar. One of my biggest frustrations in working with youth has been the refusal of other leaders to expect much out of them. It’s my firm believe that when given the opportunity to shine, most people will rise to the challenge placed before them. If we never pick the bar up, no one will ever do any rising. Thanks for this reminder!


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