I think about what’s possible both personally and professionally all the time and for what’s it’s worth I sincerely believe there are few limits to experiencing and accomplishing just about anything you want.
For “most people” there are perceived limitations in what is and isn’t possible.
However, deep down in your belly I know you don’t want to lead a life like “most people.” Right?
As I say in the title of this post I believe that the mother of all personal and professional success are expectations, including the expectations you have for yourself, AS WELL AS the expectations that others have for you (especially the expectations that were instilled in you when you were younger).
Expectations are often influenced by the words that you use (or others use) on a regular basis to describe youself. For instance, “you” are bright, hard working, dedicated, driven, lazy, aloof, attractive, smart, talented, entrepreneurial, trustworthy, cunning, funny, depressed, shy, outgoing, high achiever, under achiever, average, above average…. Tell yourself these things enough and you’ll start to believe it, good or bad.
The expectations we have for ourselves impact who we become. The expectations others have for us impact who we become. It’s a fact. Self Fulfilling Prophecies have been discussed for hundreds of years and virtually every study ever done on the topic has confirmed the linear relationship between expectations and outcome.
Take a few minutes and write down the top 10 to 15 words that you believe best describe you.
Now find someone that is close to you (like a significant other, sibling, roommate, etc.) and ask them to write down 10 to 15 words they believe describe you.
Once you have your list I want you to circle the empowering words and draw a line through the disempowering words.
In addition to the long standing perceptions that you and others have for the type of person you are (i.e. high achiever, aloof, smart, he / she gets it done, etc.), expectations are also greatly influenced by perceptions (internal / external) of specific outcomes, typically based on your expressed goals and desires.
For instance, you’ve decided to run the New York City Marathon. Whether or not that actually happens is going to be directly influenced by your expectations for the likely outcome, as well as the expectations others have for whether or not you have what it takes to take the necessary steps to run the marathon.
The point here is that no matter what it is that you decide to do in life, when it includes a goal or requires action it will be directly influenced by your expectations and the expectations that others have for the likely outcome. In either case above, your success or failure will come down to the strength of your expectations, not your calf muscles.
So……what is my point.
Well, you now have a list of the top 15 words that you believe describe you.
I want you to work on this list so that you can begin the process of maximizing the expectations you have for yourself and what your are capable of. If you believe you are lazy, depressed, and shy chances aren’t good that you are going to accomplish goals that require you to be upbeat, positive, and outgoing. At the same time, it’s important that you become AWARE of your limiting believes that are associated with disempowering descriptions that you have for yourself. Cross those words off your list and begin the process of focusing on your strengths and setting expectations accordingly. You can have and accomplish anything you set your mind to and believe you can accomplish.
I’m not kidding about crossing out the disempowering descriptions – these words are absolute crap and do nothing to help you accomplish your goals and dreams. Get rid of these words now! It may help that once you cross the disempowering words from your list that you pull out a new sheet of paper and start a new list with only the words that empower you to set expectations for success.
Of course, the list of words from your spouse, significant other, etc. are equally important. My recommendation is for you to sit down with your loved one and decide on the top 5 most empowering descriptions from the list – make a commitment to focus on those empowering words and ask for the support of your loved one. Let them know you understand that you aren’t perfect, but you are absolutely committed to becoming a better person and accomplishing as many of your life goals as possible, but that you will need their support and believe in your potential.
Finally, what is it that you want out of life?
Don’t kill me here, but I’d love for you to spend some time on what it is that you really want to accomplish. Don’t just think it – write it down. Make sure your goal are as specific as possible. The more specific the better.
Make a million dollars by the time you are [insert age.]
Run the New York City Marathon in 2011.
Put 10% of every pay check into a Roth IRA.
Complete P90X from start to finish.
Lose 75 pounds within the next 18-months.
Buy a Bentley.
Reduce your Cholesteral by 25%.
Take a 4-week vacation to Europe.
Give away 25% of your net worth to charity.
Stop smoking, forever.
Start going to church at least once per week.
Open up college savings plans for your three children.
What is your list? What is it that you’d like to accomplish with your life?
Get clear about what you want….and then make sure you set your expectations for success.
Simply desiring something…..saying you want it….isn’t enough.
You’ve got to build as much leverage as possible and the secret to building unstoppable leverage is to make sure that you are absolutely clear on your outcome. Set your expectations for success and make sure that failure isn’t an option. Be aware of your expectations – write them down and go after your goal with absolute certainty of your outcome.
Most of all – enjoy the process!