There are two forms of expectations – what we expect from ourselves, and how our expectations can influence others. How we manage those expectations is critical to how we view ourselves, our relationships, our experiences and pursue our goals. As parents, employees, even pet owners, we need to recognize how much control we actually do have.
As the son of a high school football coach, setting expectations (goals) was core to our household. My dad was always pressing his team for more… casting a vision of future success. He sold his players, their parents, his assistant coaches on the idea that future success was possible. Naturally, the same discipline applied to my siblings and I. We knew what our parents expected of us, and they managed those expectations as we grew into adulthood. I’ve heard the old adage “your kids will turn out just as you expect them to”. This could be restated as “your kids will turn out to what is acceptable to you”. If it’s acceptable for your kids to achieve C’s and D’s, skip class, hang around with “the wrong crowd” and not put forth any effort to do better, then that’s exactly what they will achieve. If I expect my kids to do their best, go to class, be involved in positive extracurricular activities, that’s exactly what will happen. This can also be extended to other parts of our lives, your pets, employees, employer, business, and interactions with others. You decide what is acceptable for you, but it is your responsibility to see your commitments through to the end. Notice that you are the common factor.
On the other hand, setting low expectations can be a two way street. It’s great that you accomplish everything you set out to do (not much) however, you haven’t had to commit, you haven’t had to sacrifice, you don’t accomplish anything or pursue a true goal. Personal confidence isn’t gained because very little is actually accomplished.
In business, setting higher expectations will provide a goal for us to work toward. Setting that goal too high can become discouraging because it’s truly unreachable. In stretching toward a goal, we need to be flexible in the recognition of the higher achievements, even though our results may not be 102% of the stated goal. 98% is still much more than we’ve ever accomplished and it still deserves to be recognized and celebrated. This allows the children/group/team/company to see the benefits of their work and feel the satisfaction for going above what they ever thought was possible. Confidence in themselves and their team follows, and that’s never a bad outcome.
Think about how you can reset expectations for your current situations. The opportunities to pursue success are all around us, in every aspect of our lives. Start small with goals you can directly control. Once you have met your own expectations, move on to other goals that you feel need to be elevated. Soon, you’ll feel like a coach on the way to winning the championship.