Don’t You Dare Adjust Your Expectations!

Being all of five foot and a very petite woman I have had a lifetime of misconceptions, assumptions and short jokes.  Lots and lots of short jokes – it is worse now that my son is over six foot tall; the fun never ends.

One of the biggest misconceptions is people assuming my strength matches my physique.  Not just physical strength, but mental and emotional strength.  At my age I have learned to come to some sort of peace about it and not feel that I need to correct them.  And it comes in handy because I rarely have to carry heavy stuff.

I was very fortunate that I had the dad that I did.  He taught me early on that my size and gender were NOT factors in setting and accomplishing goals.  I could do anything a boy could do and if I was too short for something then figure out another way, but still get it done.  In this lesson my dad taught me to be unexpected.  My dad was pretty awesome.

Too often I hear people talking themselves out of their goals, literally lowering their expectations to settle.  They are afraid of risks, afraid of failure and maybe afraid of ridicule for setting such lofty goals.  These fears are all based on other’s perceptions of you and what they might think.  When coaching my clients the perceptions and thoughts that matter the most are their own – and learning to embrace that.

If someone else is telling you to adjust your expectations then that should definitely give you pause about that person.  Sometimes people tell you to lower your expectations because they don’t believe in you or maybe they are afraid of you getting hurt if you fail.  This is the same as not believing in you.  Or it could be that they can’t see the value that you do in your venture.

It is hard to let go of those kind of people and their comments – those are the kind of things that stay in our head and rattle around for a good long while.  Luckily I’ve had two other people that helped me evaluate those type of comments and be able to act accordingly; maybe hearing about them can help you if you need a little push to let them go.

My best friend has never in all the years I have known her lessened any goal that I have had; quite the opposite – she has supported each one and even challenges me to go after them.  She might ask me what my plan is in order to help me see potential challenges that I might have overlooked.  There have been goals that seem pretty out there and her initial response is, “Ok…so tell me more.”  She is an amazing sounding board and supporter.

The other was a man that I was involved with who was very complimentary and sweet, yet basically told me my expectations were pretty low if I thought he was the guy to be with.  At first I thought this was an awkward way of telling me that he did not think he was “good enough” or I was “too good” for him; yet in reality it was a cowardly way of exiting the relationship.

Both of these people made me realize that my confidence in what I am is important and I should never forget that.  I utilize their lessons in evaluating potential business opportunities.  I know what I am brining to the table and I do my diligence in knowing what the other is bringing as well.

If they downplay their value or overplay mine then little red flags go up in my head.  If they do not feel they are good enough to partner then the truth is – they are not.  This applies to business and job opportunities.  If a potential employer tells you that they think you are too good to be at that company – believe it and walk away.  Don’t play the game and waste your time busting your butt trying to prove to them that you really could be happy there.  If you are truly happy then you don’t have to prove it.

Set your expectations and your goals high.  If you adjust your expectations due to anyone else’s opinions then guess what, you are going to be left in the dust.  Remember the wise words: “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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