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Biting off more than I can chew

I’ve always had a hard time saying, “No” to new opportunities.

You could say I’m addicted to the rush that comes with a new project or idea.

However, as many of us learn (the hard way), saying, “Yes” to everything is one of the quickest ways to welcome disappointment.

Personally, I thought I could handle my new job, freelance work, new projects with my company Viabl, and writing while somehow still balancing my relationship with my fiancé.

As I’ve quickly found out, I’m not doing as well as I thought.

I received my first email from a client mentioning the timeframe built into our contract.

As someone who prides myself one helping others take their ideas from zero to one quicker than anyone else, reading this was both a gut punch and a reality check.

I’ve always focused on successfully managing the expectations of the people I help. When I fail to meet a certain expectation I set, it communicates a lack of professionalism.

Now that I have less time each day, I have to be even more realistic with my commitments.

That’s why, once I finish my outstanding freelance work, I’ll be taking a small break to reevaluate where I want to go and, more importantly, how much I can take.

For all of you who have never worked with your own clients, I can’t stress enough the importance of managing expectations (and clear communication).

It can make or break your career.

Lower your expectations

I’ll be the first to admit - I have unreasonably high expectations for myself.

So much so that I often find myself coming up short.

Usually, when you find yourself disappointed, there are two things you can do:

  1. Rise to the occasion and align your actions with your expectations

  2. Lower your expectations

Depending on whom you talk to, this can be a slippery slope.

In theory, option one is ideal because it forces us to grow and allows us to take action without compromising. However, as someone who has tried this over and over again, I can say it’s much harder in practice.

I’m learning that lowering my expectations in small doses can be okay, especially since they are astronomically high.

When done carefully, lowering our expectations can allow us to still make progress without burning out or being constantly disappointed.

We just need to make sure that it doesn’t become our default setting when things get hard. 


Start a coffee meeting fund

I used to hate coffee.

In fact, in order to drink it during my first internship, I had to cut it with a pack of hot cocoa (I know, adulting on a whole other level).

As I've gotten older, coffee plays a much larger part in my life.

It's not that I'm a coffee snob (my "refined" palate stops at cold brew), I just love using it to meet new people.

If you ask me, grabbing coffee is a perfect, low pressure way to meet up and connect with others. From dating to networking, it takes the pressure off and makes things a little more approachable.

Plus, if things go south, it doesn't take long to finish a cappuccino.

If you haven't already, consider setting up a coffee meeting fund for your or you college grad. 

I guarantee you won't regret the money you spend while learning from others.

Managing expectations

I tend to be pretty hard on myself.

I frequently think that, after fumbling through the past decade, I should have more figured out.

Then again, I bet everyone feels this way, no matter how successful they might be.

We all have expectations of who we should be - funny, smart, talented, good in bed. Unfortunately for us, they usually fall short when it comes to who we are in real life.

Personally, I want to be known as an empathetic listener who is confidently creating my own path while helping others to do the same. Sadly, I can be impatient, scatterbrained, and extremely stubborn.

As you can see, expectation and reality don't always see eye to eye.

In the past, this disconnect caused me a lot of frustration and disappointment mainly because I wasn't aware it even existed.

I've learned that part of growing up means acknowledging this discrepancy while being more realistic when it comes to managing my own expectations (even more so when working with others).

Now if only I could manage my expectations when it comes to the size of my puppy's bladder...