Meat ThermometerI ordered a small breakfast at McDonald’s while on vacation. While waiting for the order to come to the counter, I watched the manager.

She cradled a clipboard in hand (which had dozens of rows and columns). Moving to the preparation table, she began opening the warming trays holding food like meat patties or chicken breasts. In each, she stuck an electronic thermometer and wrote down the reading.

Those numbers would determine whether the food was safe to be served or should be thrown out. McDonald’s is fanatical about adhering to prescribed standards.

You life should mirror the manager’s actions. It needs constant examination to stay on track. Yet, such a philosophy requires three things.

First, you need to have the standards in your life. Are you honest? Is being punctual important? Do you care about your appearance? Do you want to be known as competent? All values and standards need etched into a life and written down.

Second, you must review. A busy life nudges out the time to take inventory of who and what you are. Phones ring. People step in our office doors. The internet, Facebook, and messages woo us to their arms. We think, “I will get to that,” but never do. What is unexamined is unknown.

Finally, you have to winnow the crop. What works and doesn’t work? Where are you sloppy? What needs to change? What do you do well? What steps will you take to change this week/month/year? When will you review it again? The best of intentions doesn’t take place unless you are prepared to (as McDonald’s would) throw away the bad meat.

Some would argue the food is not as good at McDonald’s, but that is beside the point. They do check to make sure it is up to standards.

When was the last time you asked of your life, “what’s the temperature?”