Thursday, February 2, 2012

Great Expectations

A few years out of college, I was working as a news producer/anchor at a small radio station. I was asked to speak to a group of high schoolers for career day. Several of them balked at my modest success. They were destined for greater things. They laid out their plans for me: go to college, get a job at the college station, graduate, ease into a morning or afternoon drive slot on a major radio. 

When great expectations are also unrealistic expectations, frustration and disappointment are the outcome. There is nothing that says those kids couldn’t end up as major market deejays, but it was going to take work, sacrifice discipline and time. It wouldn’t always be easy and it wouldn’t always be fun.

Great expectations require great effort.

Some people who harbor great expectations expect a lot but don’t expect to do a lot to get it. They often believe in the myth of the Overnight Success. It sounds great … the starlet that was ‘discovered’ in the coffee shop, the inventor who made a million off of his simple gadget, the basketball phenom. The only problem is the Myth of the Overnight Success is just that, a myth.

Ask any Overnight Success and they will tell you that their success occurred over many nights, often years of nights. They had sleepless nights wondering how the bills would be paid, after they sunk all of their savings into the business. They had nights on just an hour or two of sleep because their work had them waking up early and staying up late. They spent nights tossing and turning because they lost the game or got cut from the team or didn’t get called back after the audition. Yet they preserved, they kept going and eventually, they became Overnight Successes!

For me, great expectations also require a great deal of gratitude. Gratitude gives perspective. Gratitude keeps one grounded in the now. Gratitude allows you to be thankful for what you already have. Without it, those with great expectations don’t see all of the blessings that surround them. They stay transfixed on the pie in the sky and don’t see the feast spread out before them.

Expect the best. Put forth the effort and do the work. Be grateful for what you have and the people you meet along the way. You'll be a success (maybe not overnight, but you will succeed)!

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