The Expectation Game Part 1

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Now I’m going to go in a little different direction, although I have to tell you, this is still foundational stuff, so I’m only laying some ground work for this. By the way, even though I say I’m going in a different direction, please keep in mind – ALL of this is related. It’s all designed to work together in a relationship of sorts.

So now I want to get into something I’ve always referred to as “The Expectation Game” and again, this phrase is not original to me, but how I use it and put it together may be.

Most of what I talk about comes from many years of doing and learning, doing and learning, over and over again. Lots of trial and error. Sometimes it felt like a lot of error and often that turned into something we could definitely brand as failure. Most of us have had those. If you think you haven’t, you may be delusional, but at the very least, you’ve missed out.

I say that, because I learned, maybe 10 or 15 years ago that it was time to remove the word failure from my vocabulary. And again, I credit a great friend and teacher for this incredible piece of wisdom. But at that point, it became clear to me that everything I thought was a failure was in actuality, Research and Development. That’s right, R&D. Think about it.

Now in the real world of R&D, there’s always a ton of things that don’t work out. But if we’re doing it right, we’re learning something from everything that goes wrong. And over time, the sum totals of what we learn turn into knowledge and expertise. And remember, in a previous post, I said knowledge and expertise are gained in a manner that is gradual, sequential and cumulative. And this too is from the same knowledgeable source.

So try looking backwards at the things you may have seen as failures, and start relabeling them as R&D. Then recognize all that you’ve learned from that and what knowledge and expertise you’ve gained as a result. This can be a very uplifting and positive exercise. Let me know what you think.

Now on to the Expectation Game. Again this is not complicated at the foundational level. But let’s think about all the expectations most of us have. I’ve just arbitrarily divided them into two kinds, Primary Expectations and Secondary Expectations. Again I don’t know that this is original to me but it’s a simple process that makes things a lot easier.

I think it makes sense that we have operational expectations. You know, like the airplane will fly properly, the toaster will toast, the smart phone will be smart and work as it should – as long as you pay the bill and have a signal. You get the picture. Those are my primary expectations. And for sure, there are lots of them.

My secondary expectations are not really expectations at all, but really it’s just one giant generic expectation that you might look at as operating in the expectancy of the best possible result. And I try to apply this principle to anything that has a variable outcome. And for sure, there’s a lot of those in both our business and professional activities as well as our personal lives.

When I speak about keeping your eye on the destination, and keeping all your options open on how you’re going to get there – for me, that means, I’m operating on the idea that in most situations, there are always multiple pathways that will get you where you want to go – or, someplace better. When we create a very narrow expectation of how something should happen, we all too often set ourselves up for, at best, a disappointment, and at worst –  a failure. Sound familiar?

When we can let go of these kinds of secondary expectations, and adopt a view that is more like “this, or something better” especially when something along the path doesn’t seem to be working, we are then, in my opinion, far less likely to be derailed in our journey.

In the next post, I’m going to talk more about how all this can affect your business or professional career, both negatively as well as positively.

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Jeffrey D Brown

Founder and CEO of Guitar Business Media and host of Guitar Business Radio, the Podcast for the Business of Guitar.

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