Entrepreneurs, How Do You Manage Expectations?

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat! Ok, so I stole that line from the iconic, old school ABC Wide World of Sports intro:

 

 

But on the road to basking in your entrepreneurial victories and bouncing back from your agonizing defeats, there are lots of things you are doing for your business that you expect will have a positive impact on sales. It’s terrific when your strategies and tactics work, but how do you manage your mental health when things don’t go as planned? And if you’re anything like me, this happens a lot.

I started thinking about the psychology of expectations and stumbled across an interesting article by Tali Sharot, Ph.D., titled, Should You Manage Your Expectations?

I’d like to share a few interesting take aways from the article.

 

The psychology of expectations

Dr. Sharot says:

 

People with high expectations are generally happier, whether they succeed or fail.

 

OK. So far, so good. That makes sense to me.

 

Dr. Sharot then says happiness is driven by three things:

  1. What matters for our wellbeing is how we interpret the events we encounter. For example, she says students who expect to get an “A” on an exam, but get a “C” would work harder next time and expected to do better because of their hard work. While students who expected a “C” and got a “C” felt confirmation that they were mediocre.
  2. Expecting to do better yields better results because you are more likely to learn from mistakes, which leads to doing better.
  3. Having high expectations about the future makes us happier now.

 

I’m down with all of this, too; it’s macro stuff and makes perfect sense to me. I absolutely expect my business to blow up and sell for tens of millions of dollars. But what do you do when the present “conditions” are contrary your expectations and there is no real basis for your expectations to come to pass?

 

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Micro expectations

And what about the micro stuff? Like when you take your last $1,000 and invest it in a marketing campaign that if it’s not successful, you have no idea how your business will survive?

That’s real $h!t right there.

At the micro level, entrepreneurs do things that seem to make sense; they follow the data, they listen to customer feedback, and they execute to the best of their ability. But sometimes $hit just doesn’t work out the way you want. And all the positive expectations in the world don’t change that, at that moment.

So, in this case, what’s the proper way to manage expectations?

 

High expectations macro, detach micro

What’s worked for me the last three years on my entrepreneurial journey is to have high expectations at a macro level, but remain detached from the outcomes as I execute plans at a tactical, or micro, level.

For example, every day, before I get out of bed and before closing my eyes to go to sleep, I affirm that WeMontage will be acquired for tens of millions of dollars, within a specific time-frame. And I affirm that I AM a successful entrepreneur.

Yet, as I execute plans to increase product and brand awareness, and sales, I remain hopeful things will go well, but I have neither positive, nor negative expectations. Why? Because most times, best laid plans just don’t go the way I want. And I find if I’m too excited and expect too much, I get too disappointed if things don’t go as planned. And this is dangerous because it can lead to the “D” word, if it happens too often and is left unchecked.

So, to protect my own mental health, which keeps me in a positive frame-of-mind, I stay neutral at a tactical level; this allows me to remain open for inspiration and keeps my energy positive, which is important. I’ve also looked at other ways in which I can calm myself down during stressful moments, I don’t want to resort to normal medicines, but go more natural to help ease my mind. I’ve been directed to websites like https://www.edocbd.com/product-category/cbd-oil/ to check out how they can help me, it is worth a look definitely, especially if I want to keep myself at an even level calm wise.

 

What inspired this article?

I’m writing this article because I just learned a reporter from a very popular national newspaper wants to do a feature on my business. The feature will be about a marketing campaign I executed this summer, which I knew was brilliant at the time, but didn’t have much of an impact on sales.

I’ve read stories of how this newspaper has positively changed the trajectory of companies on which it reports. In my case, the reporter will interview a few customers, which needs to go well. Then there’s the issue of whether or not the story actually gets published, where it gets published in the paper, and on what day, and all of this matters. A lot.

So, yeah, naturally, I want this to happen, but I’m not excited about it yet. And I won’t be until the article gets published. And even then, I will be more hopeful than excited because just getting press doesn’t equal sales. I guess I won’t be excited until the cash register starts ringing. I mean, getting published in this paper will be a huge feather in my cap regardless.

But my twins don’t eat feathers!

Wish me luck.

 

How do you manage expectations for your business and your mental health?

 

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Feature image credit: Celestine Chua Set Expectations “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” ~ Michael Jordanl

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