Whether its marriage, school, or careers, most of us have timelines and expectations. This is why we one day wake up frazzled that we are 30 and not married or 35 and not VP of a company. With all the expectations we place on ourselves, it’s no wonder that we get overwhelmed. Think about it. We set our own deadlines for our lives then find ourselves on the verge of falling apart when things don’t go as planned. Why? We failed at managing expectations.
Our Thoughts on Goal Attainment Are All Wrong
Thinking back over my first two months of blogging, I had it all wrong. I focused so much on how far I had to go that I didn’t stop to give myself any credit for how far I’d come. It got so bad that I could feel my anxiety building as the days went by. The thought of failure was debilitating, making it virtually impossible for me to make it through the day without a headache…let alone accomplish my goals.
Isn’t it amazing how easy it is for us to do that? We frustrate ourselves by becoming so grossly annoyed with our expectations that it cripples us.
It wasn’t until I decided to flip through my notebook that I realized I had actually superseded my original plan of action. In fact, I’d made more than 5 new sets of goals since the time of my original list.
As I reflected back through the notebook, I smiled at the things I had no clue how to do but was learning to master. I did a happy dance at the idea that I launched my blog nearly a month earlier than expected AND doubled subscribers in just a few weeks of the launch. I was proud of the technological things I thought I could never learn, but I did.
Yet somehow, all of that had got away from me because I was struggling through a few new goals.
You know me- I am all about pushing hard and denouncing complacency. But I am also learning that it is equally important to pace yourself.
On your journey to greatness, success will often be incremental. Don’t be so caught up in making big leaps. Instead, remember that a thousand mile journey begins with one step.
I’m headed into my fourth month of blogging, and I am so glad I didn’t allow my fear of failure to make me quit. The little tweaks that didn’t seem that important made a major difference over time. I couldn’t see it then, but the work I put in from day 1-60 helped me establish a foundation I can build upon. There were lots of trial and error moments (and I’m sure there are more to come). But I’m making my dreams happen one day at a time.
Be Like Bey
A great woman once said, “Beyonce wasn’t built in a day.” And boy was she right! It took lots of incremental progress for Bey to get were she is today. And the same goes for us. It’s hard to beat the person who refuses to quit. Managing expectations helps us to attain success. How? A major part of success is the willingness to:
- Be patient with yourself
- Take it little by little
- Keep going
- Fight through the ugly parts of your journey without letting it overwhelm you
Most people never see success fully realized because they quit when the process doesn’t meet their expectations of how things should go. Managing expectations eliminates quitting when the going gets tough. It helps you stand the test of time when others throw in the towel because it just isn’t happening quick enough.
Trust Your Process
Every day I want you to wake up with a dream at the forefront of your thoughts. Think about your ultimate goal then chop it down to an incremental process that is achievable.
If for some reason you should fall short, grant yourself the grace to keep going. When everything seems to be falling a part, stay motivated by how far you’ll be next year if you refuse to give up.
A dream can never be realized if we get so frustrated that we quit. Trusting our process is key to managing expectations. When we stick to this principle, we are less likely to quit and more likely to reach our expected outcome.
The fact that you are conscious of your dreams and passionate enough to hold yourself accountable says a lot.
So long as you couple your passion with action, you are bound to be successful, even if you fall short along the way. Besides, our shortcomings only motivate us to get better, right?
Get a notebook and start tracking your goals. Write out incremental steps that you hope to achieve. Scratch them out when you knock them out. Whenever you get discouraged, looking at how far you’ve come will keep you motivated and focused on managing expectations.