Expectations…you’ve felt the weight of them in your life since as far back as you can remember. Whether from a parent, coach, or even yourself – improper expectations can be crippling to success. If they’re set too high, we can crumble under the pressure. If they’re set too low, we will become unmotivated and lackadaisical. So, something MUST be done to manage the expectations in our lives. Otherwise, we are setting ourselves up for stress, disorganization, and failure. Yeah, it’s that serious.
First, let’s talk about what (or who) should be setting the expectations in your life. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you may think that your customers or clients set the expectations and you meet them, but you’d be wrong. The only person who should be setting expectations for you is YOU! Sure, you can gather advice from others about the kinds of expectations you should have for yourself, but only YOU should be setting the tone that you live by and the goals you work toward.
YOU need to decide what “winning” looks like in your business and life. Don’t let someone else tell you that you need to earn a certain amount of money or fit into the typical business mold. For you, winning could be earning less money, but having more freedom. Whatever it is, YOU set the expectation.
YOU need to decide when you will be available and unavailable. Don’t let other people place their expectations upon your schedule. Decide at the beginning of every day what you will and will not be doing with your time. This is especially true to to incoming emails or calls. Answer them when you DECIDE to answer them. If you answer emails the second they come in, or if you respond at 10:30pm on a Sunday, you are setting your clients up to expect that from you. So, don’t be surprised when they expect too much.
YOU need to decide what your product or service will ultimately look like. Market feedback is always good to consider, but ultimately, what you sell is who you are. Don’t let the expectations of others mold your product or service offering. Make it uniquely you, and make sure it meets your expectations first.
Bottom line – When we allow customers, clients, or competitors to dictate our actions, everything we do will be a REaction – which makes it hard to take any real sort of ACTION.
YOU need to set the expectations in YOUR life. That’s a huge responsibility, but when you get it right it will set you free.
If you feel like others are setting expectations for you, then take a step back and make a plan to regain control. And the next time you feel the weight of expectation, ask yourself,” Who is steering this ship?” It should be you.
Action Step: Write a list of expectations for yourself. Start small. Test and see what it looks like to set an expectation for yourself and stay true to it.