Sunday, April 15, 2012

Managing Expectations

As I reflect back on this week, it is quite frankly a bit of a blur.  I totally overscheduled myself with two events in one day and each miles apart from the other.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

My talk in Pickering had been scheduled over a year ago but the event in Cambridge was a relatively recent and quick booking and ended up on the same day because that was the only day that would work for the speaker, the venue and the facilitator – so I just decided to fit in with everyone else’s timetable.

Now, I could have chosen not to go to the luncheon, but the speaker had kindly rearranged her schedule to fit us in, and I felt my attendance was the least I could do.  But did I really need to be there?  No.   But I felt, rightly or wrongly, that she would expect me to be there.

It would seem that I am governed by my expectations of myself and my perception of the expectations that others place on me.   As a bit of a perfectionist, it is hard when people expect instant service, for example, and I just don’t physically have the hours in the day to deliver. 

Because of my hectic schedule, I know their expectations are unrealistic but I don’t share that information with them, instead I pretzel myself trying to accommodate, as otherwise I feel I have failed or let the person down. 

Perhaps also, from the outside looking in, people see what they want to see, rather than getting the true picture of what is happening in someone else’s life, not knowing or appreciating the demands on their time.  But they can’t know that unless you share the information or they take the time to find out.

So what is the answer?   I think I need to be more honest with myself and others on what can realistically be achieved.  I also have to lower my expectations and let go of the belief that I have to be everywhere, and let others, who are extremely capable, take over.

When you are a solopreneur, and apart from a few hours a week, that is basically what I am, it hard not to try to be all things to all people and as women we do so want to please.

My other piece of advice to myself -  I have to protect my Fridays, which for the past year, have been my gift to myself – time to do what I want – be it volunteer, visit friends or just read a good book.

But the only person I can change is myself.  So I am starting there.

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