Expectations. What You May Not Expect When You Have Them.

Don’t expect to learn much from this article.

There, now I’ve set your expectations! How do you set yours – when you start your New Year, your day, your business, job, next sales call, meeting, goal or even your next relationship?

When a friend I made from networking asked me to start another networking event, I reluctantly agreed. I said I would do it, but expected to be able to run it my way. He knew that already from how I have run my Roswell Business Connect Meetup (Go to Meetup.com to find it) for three years. It discourages the elevator speech, the 30 or 60 second time limit and the predictable, structured, format.

Every ‘event’ at Roswell Business Connect is different. I dislike meetings; ‘events’ encourage meetings to become one! Meetings set different expectations.

My ‘event’ is an open, interactive, forum where natural conversation – not stilted prepared presentations, create genuine connections; not forced referrals or obligatory, insincere, follow-ups.

I expect everyone attending – with a little guidance, to rise to the occasion and they do – thankful, perhaps, to be given the chance to do so in a more creative environment than they are used to when networking!

People are creative creatures and thrive when given an environment in which to connect creatively. The dynamics shift, dramatically, when I expect people to constructively influence a networking event, not merely be influenced by how it is constructed.

I’ve been networking for over twenty years and taken many leadership positions; but I expect more from networking today and I sense others do too.

The networking arena has become stale; even worse it is now a business model that members must adhere to instead of a creative, flexible, enjoyable community gathering that naturally develops bonds and business. It has become something people feel they have to go to instead of something they want to be a part of. My events are never stale; they stir, stimulate and seed connections.

So now you may understand why – when my friend invited me to lead another new networking group, my expectation was to not only run it my way but to take networking to yet another level.

I had to offer an atmosphere that stimulated dialogue, provoked thought, promoted authentic community, built bonds and business and served those who expected more from networking. An event that didn’t just charge but got people charged!

What emerged from my expectations was something I didn’t expect: Cross Coaching! It’s an event that encourages members to develop their business by developing others. To teach what they know. To learn what they don’t. Everyone attending leverages on the topic I seed the event with.

The topic January 13, 2016 was: Expectations!

Part 1 – What do you expect from yourself and your business this year? How can Cross Coaching™ members help you attain it – at this event, or between events?

Part 2 – How do you stay honest with yourself and maintain balance, so that your expectations are aligned with your business potential and who you are, and expect to become, but still minimize frustration and disappointment when expectations are not met?

For some people this is the cycle: self-imposed expectations; disappointment; self-judgment; re-set expectations (often lower, but frequently higher). Some people replace the words disappointment and self-judgment with achievement and self-reflection (to re-set higher expectations). Everyone experiences both.

Cross Coaching members – still in the New Year goal-setting mindset, liked the topic but took a while to heat it up.  

Billy warmed up the imaginary crucible on the table by sharing the frustrations he didn’t expect from setting his expectations.

As a business leader, looking for potential leaders he can develop, Billy often expects as much from others that work with, or for him, as he does from himself; which forces him to re-set expectations – or fire people, in order to find people that will help him meet those expectations! He vows to be more honest about his selection process this year and expects to learn from and minimize his frustrations by monitoring his expectations of others better.  Perhaps by pursuing higher levels of personal expectation he may be surprised how others – who expect more from themselves as well, are drawn to work with him in order to be mentored by him!

Catherine’s situation is slightly different. She expects more for her clients than they expect for themselves. You know the next step in the cycle and so does she! She expects it will take a while to alter this behavior but discussions at the Cross Coaching™ event today helped her understand how to better address this expectation better to avoid its unexpected side effects.

Jennifer is really good at what she does but expects a return on the time she invests in clients. Most of us know clients don’t have the same expectations, so her unexpected side effect is that she doesn’t in fact get the return she expects because people don’t always respond to fitting into someone else’s expectations of them!

Greg now employs strategies that define his market and who he invests time in to help him reach his goals. He got tired of learning from the unexpected, necessary, lessons the sales business teaches and re-set his expectations! The result? He seems to be getting more of what he expects as a consequence.

Reaka turned up the heat on the topic and dug deeper. She thinks being too goal orientated and over-expectant can create stress on you and your client. Expect too much from others, or your next appointment and you will get caught in the frustration cycle. Show up instead with a clean slate and less of an agenda; but stay on point. Fleek!

I like her point! Explore, don’t just expect. Create don’t control. Remember, I expected to change how networking looked; together the members explored what that might look like. It became Cross Coaching – an unexpected outcome, but one that serves the expected outcome.

Many members felt that a written, measurable, plan of what you expect your business to create is essential and intend to use this method again this year to track actions and results and keep them honest.

I agree and disagree. Yes, track  your actions and measure your results. I do. But, again, people are creative and can lose touch with the unexpected outcomes that an encouraged creative process can produce if they adhere too strictly to the written plan to reach an expected target.

I believe that in today’s market you have to be creative, flexible and willing to leave room for the unexpected. You can still reach your expected goals, but often in the most unexpected ways!

Careers have to be creative, not concrete, today. Determination and drive have their place when striving for planned, measurable, expected outcomes, but when goals become the sole focus they suppress the unexpected “Eurekas” that could have emerged; the ideas that could have surfaced if you had balanced drive with flow, action with conscious awareness, attachment to outcome with an equal measure of letting go of how it should look, or how clients or consumers ought to respond. Ideas that get you to your expected outcome in unexpected ways – perhaps even faster and with less stress!

The branch that bends with the wind blooms many more seasons than the rigid one that is broken by that wind.

John continued to heat up the topic when he shared that his new business venture was a result of listening to what his soul expected of him. He responded to this calling and is now learning how to communicate his vision and build a worthwhile business for himself. It’s interesting that John left the measured structure of the company that provides the job security people expect, to dig deeper into his soul and uncover what else it expected of him.

The topic heats up even more when Cindy vocalizes that she didn’t expect her career change from the operations side of the industry to the sales side, to create the unexpected frustration and inner battles that took her off balance and made her question her decision.

Cindy was very quickly guided to see what she wasn’t seeing through supportive Cross Coaching. She learned to trust herself more and to embrace these unexpected frustrations as guideposts toward personal development and signs that she was staying honest and true to herself  – while still satisfying expected company sales goals.  

If you expect to maintain an honest balanced approach to reaching goals or targets, you must constantly, consciously, check in with who you are in the process; and ask if company expectations align with what you expect of yourself. You must operate from an authentic base and know that by doing so you can leave space for and invite unexpected ideas, guidance and serendipitous events to be a part of you reaching your expectations.

This approach can lean you more toward the achievement and self-reflection cycle, I mentioned above, and away from the disappointment and self-judgment alternative.

So, out of the heat of the topic today the unexpected did emerge; that expectations – measured or creatively pursued, are important, but allow the unexpected to emerge more! Balance the dogged pursuit of your expected goal with a conscious expectation that more creative, unexpected ideas can surface to help you too. What a great way to stay honest and true to you and what you expect from you!

I said earlier that what emerged from my expectations was something I didn’t expect: Cross Coaching! What emerged from this event was what always emerges: the unexpected! It’s what I’m digging for anyway and what I think members enjoy about the format. Yes, it’s about developing your business by developing others, but the discovery process; the exploring of ideas and each others minds and experiences is what constantly uncovers the unexpected. Business and bonds are honestly built – in unexpected ways, too. By not having the expectation that you must get something out of attending a networking meeting, unexpected benefits come your way anyway!

I set your expectations at the beginning of this article. I hope I disappointed you!

If you are ready to make contact with others and create a ‘committed conversation’ in order to truly connect, because you care about how your networking experience contributes to the community, then come to my next Cross Coaching™ event.  www.mycrosscoaching.com or www.meetup.com

Cross Coaching™ Contact. Create. Connect. Care.

Peter Gibson. Harry Norman Realtor, Speaker, Author, Creator of Cross Coaching™

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