How often do you go to networking events only to be filled with horror each time someone asks you what you do? 

First, you’ve got a split second to decide if they are one of those people who want the facts – what do you actually do, not the marketing babble about what you do for me; or actually will their interest wane the second you tell them you are a coach, consultant, accountant etc. Even worse, once you’ve decided which way to answer, perhaps the story comes out jumbled, apologetic or vague. The result, you lost your moment to make the impression you wanted to.

I was at an event the other day and someone asked me a great question – What are you about, what’s your thing? How fabulous, this gave me an invitation to talk about what I love – what you expect of yourself.

When you read pop psychology, inspirational quotes and the like, the views are mixed. It’s easy to find people who say ‘expect less and you won’t be disappointed’, ‘lower your expectations you’ll be happier’, ‘the route of all heartache is expectation’ etc etc. If you are away from motivated, ie you are driven by what you don’t want to happen or fear of something, then this may work for you to some extent. It isn’t a great way to achieve what you DO want though.

The mantra of many successful leaders and business people is quite the opposite. It is very much about expecting more of people, believing in their ability and expecting them to come up with the goods. Yes, sometimes you will be disappointed, more often you’ll be amazed at just how good they are. Rightly or wrongly, most people are influenced by what others expect of them and raise or lower their performance to meet that expectation.

This is also true for what we expect of ourselves, we live up or down to those expectations. The difference is, and this is key, we have total control over what we expect of ourselves. Yes, it might take a lot of conscious effort and some time to change our expectations but it is possible. We can also choose not to live our lives by other’s expectations of or for us.

While we have an infinite capacity for self-deception, why would you settle for less than you want, then spend your time trying to convince yourself that it’s OK? Next time this happens to you, stop & think for a minute – are you really ready to give up on this particular dream or aspiration?

Change your expectations:

  1. Pay attention to what you are thinking and the results you get.
  2. Be clear about what you do want and focus on that, not on what you don’t want.
  3. Remember that you can’t control others expectations you can only surpass them.
  4. You can think you way into success just as easily as thinking your way into failure.
  5. Practice, practice, practice – and don’t wait for perfection!

For those who hate networking, ask yourself what you are expecting. Do you expect to get tongue tied or vague when asked what you do? Do you expect to find it difficult to meet interesting new people or even potential clients? Do you expect to see someone you know well and spend the meeting with them?  Most critically, do you get what you expect…..

Perhaps this is a good place to start changing your expectations, be clear about why you are going to the meeting, expect to meet interesting people, expect them to be interested in you and ask good questions – ones that encourage others to talk with passion.

So my thing ….. Expect more – of yourself and for yourself, you may just be surprised by your own brilliance!