Expectations are as important to define as goals

Heard a good question today to help one define one’s expectations.

Now to be clear, one’s expectations are different from one’s goals. A goal is something you don’t have but you want it. An expectation might be something you don’t have and you don’t want it — expectations sort establish the floor to your goals.

When defining one’s expectations, ask: “What would be really disappointing 2 years from now?”

“Two years” might be the time frame for a business plan. The time frame might be different if one was defining expectations for a party next week or how a child turns out as an adult.

But for a business, one’s goal might be: Have 10 ongoing customers by the end of 2012.

One’s expectation might be: I’d be really disappointed if I still have only the two customers I have now in two years.

Using the word “disappointed” seems to really help define the bottom.

I got this gem from a business coach named Lightning — what a great name! Click here to learn where a guy gets such a nickname.

One response to “Expectations are as important to define as goals

  1. Interesting. I’m not sure I define expectations quite the same way. I think expectations are things you do want (although there is also the negative sense; expecting to be punished for doing something bad). To me, that “floor” you mention is more a matter of minimal, or maybe even unacceptable, results of your goals. If I believe in myself, if I believe my goals are realistic, why wouldn’t I also expect to achieve the full measure of them?

    As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think about how my expectation of retiring after XX years of faithful service turned out to be (almost) false (and for many, absolutely false). Or how ones expectations of a successful marriage can turn out to be false. Goals are things we hope to achieve. Expectations are things we assume will happen. Disappointment applies to both, but it can be far more crushing in the latter case.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s