It is my belief that there are two primary types of people in this world - those whose expectations of themselves far exceeds that of what anyone else could possibly think to expect of them, and those who set the bar so low of their self-expectations that others are continuously trying to pull them up.
Both types of people are set up for disappointment, the first disappoint themselves and the second disappoint others.
That is not to say that disappointment is necessarily a negative thing; at times it can help us better recognize our strengths, weaknesses and limitations. In this way, we have the power to alter either our thinking or behavior to change future outcomes.
I am a classic example of someone who sets the bar higher than I can reach. However, I feel that as long as I am able recognize my limitations when necessary and forgive myself for my perceived short-comings (oh so important!) this quality of setting high expectations is a very good thing. It allows me to dream BIG. Most of these dreams remain in my head and I enjoy playing them out every once in a while (win Pulitzer, discover mosquito repellent so effective that insect-born disease is obliterated, win Oscar for Best Actress, encourage all citizens to take part in community building, and the list goes on and on and on).
Clearly these are not true expectations of myself, but when I find a dream that is important enough to grab onto, I try to convert it into a reasonable goal, with attainable results within a practical time frame. Sometimes, my goals will aim a little high to keep something just out of reach, so that I can keep striving and challenging myself.
Speaking of challenges, since I do love them oh so much, I've decided to check out the Group Blogging Experience - aka GBE 2 - brought to my attention by Marie over at Write, Wrong or Indifferent. It's basically a group of people who receive a weekly prompt to incorporate into their blog sometime during the week. Great concept. You can sign on to Facebook to receive the prompt by looking for a group called "GBE 2: Blog On." This week's prompt was expectations, which was very convenient since I was planning to write on goal setting anyhow!
Now that intros have been taken care of, onto today's writercize. Please post your writercize result as a comment!
writing exercise: Think of yourself ten years into the future. Allow your mind to wander and dream to identify your achievements - personal and professional alike. Identify 3-5 of these achievements that you would like to pursue as a goal, and write it down.
I like the ten year time period because it allows you to dream bigger than short-term one or two year goals. It also allows you enough distance that if for whatever reason you are unable to achieve the goal, you haven't fallen as short of your own expectations as a short-term goal. You can always chock ten years up to a different path life decided to take rather than a personal failure, and that flexibility feels good.
Click "read more" to see writercizer sample response.writercizer response:
1 - Publish article in Vanity Fair.
2 - Work on (and have begun publishing) a book series.
3 - Act in community theater.
4 - Pay off student loan.
5 - Own home.
Other front runners - maintain flexibility to travel frequently (foreign and domestic), learn to sew, study Swedish, run for local government.