Episode 37 Creating Positive Expectation

March 27, 2023

Good morning from New York City. I’m sitting here thinking about a fun conversation I had last night with my friend Maya. She’s just written her second book and she was telling me it’s 80,000 words. It’s been written and completed in a rather unconventional way, of at breakneck speed.

We were talking about the woman she’s been working with. Maya went for a three-day weekend with her to share the idea and hash out what the book might look like. This woman is very talented at deep listening, while at the same time challenging the author’s thinking. She massages the outline in order to get authors to the start line in a unique fashion. Some authors go on to work to publish with her. Some don’t. Maya chose to do so and agreed to work within a fast, extremely intense self-publishing formula, with hard deadlines. She was telling me that she suffered, but that she had come out the other end on time with a final product.

The point of the story is that I was asking Maya about working with this woman and she was saying yeah, it was very tough, but I decided to trust the process. She’s very successful. She knows what she’s doing. It took me outside of my comfort zone and I didn’t enjoy it, but I feel like I got a good end product. It got me thinking about how I love to work with people that I deem to be really good at their craft, whatever it is – architect, real estate agent, body worker. They are who they say they are, and your job as the client is to trust, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes the professional’s tolerance or patience for your questions or indecision can create an adversarial relationship.

This love of trusting professionals probably came from when I was an executive recruiter. I was extremely invested and took my work very seriously. I didn’t want to disappoint. Now, that’s a theme in my life. I hate to disappoint people, but that’s fodder for a different time.  As an executive search professional, I had this thing about surprise and delight, and I tried to set up my relationships with positive expectation.  I love this phrase positive expectation because I think that people rise to their highest abilities when there’s an air of positive expectation. In my business, I worked hard to manage expectations, and to tell the client exactly what to expect and when it was going to come. Then if I couldn’t deliver I beat them to the punch and told them upfront that I was going to miss a deadline or whatever. I was attempting to avoid an adversarial relationship at all costs.

That is also how I work with professionals. I love to work with people whom I determine or believe will value excellence, and it’s my personal discernment. I like to think that they know more than me, that they’ve done their work, that they take pride in their work, and that they’re vested in delivering on their promise.  When I get uncomfortable or upset, what I like to say is I need you to manage my expectations rather than lashing out or accusing.  It’s not always easy. The things that immediately come to mind are when you’re building a house –  or when you’re working with a real estate agent – and you have some story in your head about how it’s going to work out, and then things go sideways.  It’s easy to lash out, and doing so kills the positive expectation.

The other day one of my friends said ‘have you ever noticed that clients call and always complain? They never say you did a great job, or that they love something you did. They tend to call and complain and whine and lash out.’ He was just venting, but bringing this story back to Maya she was saying that yes, she was uncomfortable and she got upset a few times, but she decided to trust the process. She signed up and delivered what was expected from her end, and the woman who’s helping herself publish delivered as well. They’re hitting their deadline.

So, I guess the point I’m trying to make here is choose your professionals carefully and do what you can to create positive expectation. Set it up in such a way that expect them to do their best work, and you can’t wait to see what they’re going to do for you. It’s so much better than having that adversarial relationship and complaining and being let down. You get to use your discernment in the selection process, and you can also set it up for success by asking them to manage your expectations, telling them how you like people to work with you, and then holding them accountable. It has a different energy. Speaking for myself, I know I worked a lot better when I felt like my clients had positive expectation. I simply didn’t want to let them down. I wanted to surprise and delight, and I basically wanted to hear them tell me that I knocked it out of the ballpark. Now, I didn’t always work out, but that was kind of the thing I was carrying around in my head.

I’m not sure who needs to hear that, but that was my thought of the morning. I’ll leave by asking you if you’re working with someone who you feel is letting you down? Are you feeling angry, having negative thoughts rolling around in your head, feeling like they’re not managing your expectations? How can you turn that around? Can you have a conversation to level set and start again? Or do you perhaps need to move on and hire someone else? It’s up to you if you’re the client.  I know when you are the service provider, it can be really difficult to reset,  but it might just be worth a try.

That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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