#215 The weight of expectations

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Wherever you go in the workplace, you will feel the weight of expectations. It can be inspiring and energizing, and you can raise your performance because you are expected to. It can be crushing, and many high profile careers have imploded under the weight of fan expectations.

The following points are worth noting about expectations:

  • Expectations exist because people tend to “judge” quickly and have difficulty suspending judgment. This is natural, don’t make it worse by judging people who have expectations.
  • It is prudent to set expectations before your audience sets one for itself. This is easier said than done, a diverse audience and limited time means you will pick and choose the audience for which you will set expectations. The ones you ignore will be disappointed.
  • Don’t make it worse by setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
  • Setting the right expectation is more trial and error than science. This means, learn from your mistakes, apologize and adjust quickly. Prepare diligently to have a better shot at setting the right expectation.
  • You may have no expectation of yourself. This is a state of mind that requires complete openness and flexibility.
  • If you think to yourself, “I cannot do it,” you have negative expectations of yourself.

Not meeting expectations can be demoralizing. Unfortunately, the negative feedback and “judgment” received over he years leave scars that are hard to ignore or remove. The first step is to stop the “self talk” in your head, both positive and negative. Be in the moment and go with the flow. The proper expectations will begin to reveal themselves.


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