Expectations are a part of our personal and professional life. Our parents had them while we were growing up, as well as teachers, coaches, and so forth. In the workforce, employers set expectations for our performance, typically established in the form of annual reviews or evaluations.
Let’s be honest, expectations are found throughout all facets of life. There are just certain things people expect from us and likewise, things we expect from others.
Allow me to share a story with you.
A few years back, I recall a Friday afternoon at the airport waiting on a flight to Dallas. I hadn’t been home in almost two weeks and I was eager for the trip to be over. It was stormy throughout the western United States, but since I was flying from Boston, I didn’t think anything of it. As I checked the monitor, however, I noticed that my flight had been delayed forty-five minutes. Of course I was annoyed, but that’s how it sometimes goes when you’re traveling, right? Unfortunately, the forty-five minute delay turned into a three-hour wait! By this point, I wasn’t just annoyed, I was mad! Looking around the gate, it was clear that all the other passengers were angry as well.
In spite of this, something started to happen at the gate. Airline workers began handing out drinks and snacks. I noticed a slight shift in the mood of the delayed passengers, including myself. In fact, I actually heard a few laughs. Eventually, we all boarded the plane and headed south. The general mood brightened when the flight attendant announced that due to the delay, all drinks were free. Sweet!
The crowd buzzed a little louder and the overall atmosphere was a cheerful one. People seemed happy and the flight, thankfully, went very quickly. Before I knew it, we were in Dallas.
The airline not only met my expectations, but exceeded them as well! My initial expectation was just to get home safely. Even though I didn’t arrive home as scheduled, I observed an airline that went above and beyond to accommodate a situation that ultimately, was out of their hands.
How is it that expectations are exceeded? Generally speaking, it’s easy to meet expectations, but what if you knew how to surpass them?
I’ve established a list of personal insights and thoughts that I truly believe will help you not only meet expectations, but exceed them. Listed below are the things I use as a reminder when I set expectations for myself.
These work for me. However, I hope my insights inspire you to try some as well in your own life. Read through these and decide what works for you and then us them.
- I recognize disappointment is simply the gap between expectations and reality
- I consistently strive to exceed expectations
- The only person that can raise my standard of expectations is…ME!
- I expect more from myself than others expect from me
- I realize that it’s impossible to offer excuses and still exceed expectations
- I recognize focusing is the single-most important skill in exceeding expectations
- I constantly reflect upon the statistic that only 2% of people consistently exceed expectations and 80% don’t even meet minimum expectations
- I understand that simply meeting expectations is average. I don’t want to be average
- I will never be excellent in my weaknesses
- I expect more from myself than anyone else
- I refuse to live in the past
- I don’t use relationships to cover your failures or shortcomings
- I understand respect must be earned daily
- I continually ask for feedback
- I only travel the high road with others
- I give 100% at key times with key people everyday
- I value people too much to not give them my best
- I exceed expectations because I surround myself with those who exceed expectations
I once heard John Maxwell tell a story about his grandson, Troy. Troy had recently graduated from college and attained his first job. As they were having lunch one day, John asked Troy if he knew how to set himself apart from the rest of the other employees. He said you have to set yourself apart; otherwise, you’ll just be another employee. Here are the things John told Troy to do:
- You must work harder than everyone else-come in early and stay late. Eat in for lunch most times.
- Do something for somebody, even when it’s not your job-Make it a point to do something for someone everyday, even though it’s not technically under your job description.
- Make an appointment with your leader (boss) and thank him/her for your job-Express gratitude and humility.
In my opinion, these three things will exceed everyone’s expectations. Surpassing expectations will set you apart from everyone else. It opens the door for a bright and successful future.
If you’ve heard me speak, then you have heard me say,
PEOPLE DON’T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW, UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE!”
I also state, “People aren’t going to care how much you do or accomplish, until they know that you are better than average”.
DON’T BE AVERAGE, AVERAGE IS BORING……………….EXCEED EXPECTATIONS!