I’ve been blessed with many great bosses and great mentors throughout my life. They taught me not only the value of setting high but realistic expectations, but also how to achieve those expectations.
Two of my first—and most influential mentors—were my father and my high school football coach, Pete Rich. They both talked about setting and reaching high expectations for myself, but more importantly they taught by example.
That is what a true mentor does.
As I mentioned, I’ve had many great bosses over the years and they did something that also contributed to me being able to set and reach great expectations or goals for myself: they gave me a reality check and busted by chops when I needed it! Being realistic is another major part of successfully reaching our goals and expectations.
The truth is, I always expected I would find success because people in my life taught me that true failure is not an option. Notice I said true failure. Sure, I’ve had plenty of setbacks. But I’ve kept the attitude that setbacks are just that…something that has forced me to stop, re-evaluate and the move on a different path towards what I wanted to accomplish.
The problem becomes when people view setbacks as sure failure. I choose to look at setbacks as inconveniences, not failures. Some people look at things in life that didn’t go as planned and they think they have failed and that they are permanently thwarted. Too often people quit or give up right before they become a success.
I’ll use a somewhat sensitive personal story as an example. As long as I can remember, I’ve battled with my weight. I’ve gained weight, lost weight, and regained weight over the years. I may have setbacks but I continue to work towards my goal of being healthy. My weight is my biggest “inconvenience” and I will fight that challenge until the bitter end because I want to live a long life.
I ask you now, what is your biggest challenge? What is your biggest inconvenience that prevents you from reaching your personal and professional expectations? Do you set high expectations for yourself and take the right steps to achieve what you want in life?
I know life and success are not easy. But keep this in mind: some battles and some setbacks are just preparing you for what’s up ahead. I’ve found it’s so important to learn and grow from every life lesson, whether it’s something we asked for or not.
We’ve talked so far about the importance of setting high but realistic expectations and how to deal with setbacks. Now I want to talk about setting those expectations and goals in the first place. The biggest thing is, be realistic and realize that what you want to achieve may not look just how you envision it initially.
For example, say I would love to play in the NBA for the Mavericks. Let’s just say I’m not expecting to be drafted any time soon! But what I can work towards is owning a team or being a team manager. That is more realistic. It lets me be a part of something I admire but with a realistic expectation of my capabilities and talents.
So, I close by saying: set realistic goals and then work your butt off to hit those goals. One day I assure you that you will grow old and look back over your career and think, “wow.”