There's nothing wrong with holding onto your dreams and doing your damnedest to make them a reality, but expectations are the root of all failure. Mainly because there is no way for reality to hold up against them. Reality is messier. Reality is murkier. Reality keeps you real.
This year, we want you to dream big. But we want you to ditch these expectations that only lead you down the rabbit hole.
1. THAT YOU'RE OWED SOMETHING
You're not "owed" anything.
It's tough to accept that simply because you work hard, hard work doesn't always pay off-- at least in the immediate. But it's true.
There are plenty of other busy bees working equally if not harder than you. It's why every creative or successful entrepreneur we speak to tells us the same thing: work, work harder, and then by golly! work some more.
You're not owed a raise, a promotion, or a job. It's hard to argue with hard numbers. But in order to get a raise or advance your standing, you need proven metrics. You need case studies. You need to be able to not only show but prove your worth. Don't work for the congratulations, but because you enjoy it.
2. NEEDING TO "WIN"
Never take a deal you can't afford to lose. If you're expecting that your career or business rests entirely on closing ONE deal or making ONE sale, it is a one-way ticket to failure. Why? The energy you bring to the table will likely not be one of composure or clear-headedness, but they'll be able to smell that insecurity on you. People don't like insecurity because it makes them question not just you, but themselves as well.
More so, an obsession with winning can prevent you from doing so. You become so focused on advancing that you don't pay attention to what's in front of you: the small, over-looked details that will trip you up and allow others to get ahead. And when you do get tripped up... it's time to ditch this next expectation.
3. THAT YOU ARE THE SMARTEST
Self doesn't always know best. And most successful people will tell you to surround yourself with people smarter than you are. There is always something to learn, and if you think that you're the smartest person in the room, either look harder or find another room.
The expectation that you will be the smartest, the fastest, the [insert any est here], can actually be more detrimental than beneficial to your well-being. This article on women who regained their confidence after graduating to Harvard speaks to this. The three women describe the daily difficulties and high expectations as such: “Succeeding was the baseline. There were fewer opportunities to excel and do something praiseworthy.” It gave each of them a complex to get over, before they were able to get ahead.
4. THAT YOU NEED TO WRITE A "WAY WAY TOO LONG" GOAL LIST
Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group says, "Know what you're going to do," and that "goals are important and you need to set targets that also have deadlines associated with them."
However, the marketing guru warns, "You should not have more than three goals." The why of these goals are equally as important. "For every goal you set, you should have a reason for why you want to accomplish that goal," say Tina. "If you don’t have a reason, then it shouldn’t be one of your goals!"
If we set too many goals, we have the expectation that we will and can achieve all of them. But overreaching is the first step in over expecting. You don't have to aim low, but aim just slightly about where you want to go. That way, if you fall slightly below your expectation, which is common, it doesn't feel like a failure that stops you from moving forward.
You can land on your feet and your dreams stay alive.