Managing your expectations can be an important skill in any aspect of your personal, or professional life. It is important to set your sights high, but also to keep your expectations grounded in reality.
The loftier the goal, the better. I maintain a few of these myself. However, you must be able to accept the fact you may not achieve each and every one of them. Find joy in your day-to-day, and reimagine success as the never-ending attempt to reach your goals. They’ll be even sweeter when you do, and way less tart when you don’t. Maintain a diverse portfolio of goals and expectations, the more you have—the more you’re likely to obtain.
Minding Your Own
It is not selfish to put your own goals before those of others. Who else will? There is a difference between disregarding others’, and prioritizing yours. Try not to impede on anyone else’s journey, and always offer support when you can. However, don’t feel bad for spending an extra bit of time on yourself.
Before you can provide clarity and vision to any organization’s role, or even just to another individual, you must find your own. Know what you want to do, and what that will take to accomplish. Then, you can ensure that every position you hold, action you take, and decision you make is setting you in the right direction.
You will perform better knowing that you are working towards goals in line with, or adjacent to, your own. This also ensures your effort towards the goals of others, gets you closer to your own as well.
Controlling Those Others Have of You
It’s likely not personal. Most roles, in any field, are results driven. There’s got to be some return on investment to impress, or even just to satisfy. However, there are many important efforts that don’t have the clearest ROIs, if any. And, there are a myriad of minutia that make achieving and measuring each ‘result’ its own unique challenge.
It is important to ensure that you never commit to expectations you know you can’t deliver. This is perhaps the easiest way to manage the expectations other people have of you.
Sometimes, it can be hard to say no. In these cases—make it clear what you see as feasible, and concretely adjust the expectations placed on you. It is much easier to explain a shortcoming before it occurs, than after.
This challenge can be much more difficult when those holding the expectations over you don’t really understand what exactly it takes to achieve them. Or even what exactly they mean. In this scenario, it’s important to communicate thoroughly with the superior. Ensure that they trust and understand you, then hold your ground. Work with them to set expectations that challenge, but remain realistic. You’ll both be happier.
Review & Adjust
Like many other aspects of business, and life, the expectations that you and others have for yourself should be constantly considered and adjusted. As your success and experience grows, so should the range and scope of your expectations. This is how we continuously evolve; bettering ourselves (and those around us).
Most of the time, we do actually have control over the expectations placed on us. Whether because we place them on ourselves, or because we are independent beings capable of dictating our own past, present, and future.
Expectations are meant to motivate and inspire. They can, and should be used strategically. Expectations should never be set to insight fear or disrupt feelings of job security.
What are some of the craziest expectations that have been placed on you? How were you able to deal with the situation? Please: share your own tips, tricks, and insight below!