Friday, August 8, 2008

Managing Expectations

In approximately 40 days, I will be attending the ACFW's annual conference.

It will be my first time, and I am so excited! I've 'virtually' met so many awesome people and can't wait to put faces to names. I know some people approach things like this with trepidation, fear, nervousness, and caution.

What if no one likes me? What if no one talks to me? What if they all hate me? What if I embarrass myself? What if the agents/editors laugh at my idea? What if I come home and have gotten NOTHING out of the conference and have wasted my money?

Basically, what we want to know is, “What if I’m disappointed?”

What do we do to answer these questions? We attempt to lesson our opportunity for disappointment.

Now, don't tell me you don't do this. I think most people do it. They lower their expectations to the point where almost anything could happen and their expectations will be met. That way, if they come home and that is all they got out of it, it's ok. It's what they expected.

There is actually some merit to this, in the business world anyway. My CEO quoted one time, which was funny because this has been my motto for a long time, that you should "under promise and over deliver".

If you promise, or expect little, then when you give (or get) more, you aren't disappointed!

Makes sense huh?

NOT.

Ok, well, I do think sometimes it does. In business, I follow this principle many times. I don't make a promise I’m not sure I can't deliver. I tell them they can have their report by Friday, when I’m pretty sure I can get it by Wednesday. So when I get it to them Tuesday evening, they are wowed. I got it to them 3 days early! WOOHOO!

In payroll, when things go 'wrong' and someone doesn't get paid right, they want the dreaded 'manual' check. I have pretty strict rules about when we allow manual checks, probably more strict than most companies. Why? Because when the situation merits, I can meritoriously make an exception and ok the manual check even though it isn't within our normal guidelines. They are happy that I made the exception, but I still have the bar high as to what is normally allowed.

They feel good that we have been flexible for them, and they know we care about them and listen to their concerns. They also know that I DO say no sometimes, so are selective in their requests. Payroll Specialists are ALWAYS complaining about the gobs of manual checks. I don't complain, because we have it under control. We manage expectations.

Restaurants do this as well. Have you ever been told that the wait will be 30 minutes, then 10 minutes later your table is ready? They are managing your expectations. If they told you 10 minutes, and it was 15 minutes, then you would be upset that they are late. But when they are expecting 30 and you do it in 10 - 15, wow, what great customer service!

So, what is my point?

I think we naturally manage our own expectations in life. We set our goal lower so we can feel good about hitting it. I know I do this.

But should we be doing this? Most times, no, I don't think so. I think this is vastly discrediting God. Because in the end, I'm not lowering my expectations of MYSELF, I'm lowering my expectations of GOD.

God wants to wow us. We should be expecting great things from our mighty God. Does that mean bad things won't happen? Nope, because we all know they do.

But I serve a mighty God, who is bigger than my wildest imaginations. I can never set the bar too high.

So I go into this conference, expecting God to do awesome things. Am I expecting a contract? Not really. Well, I am hoping, and praying. But what I AM expecting is for God to give me the words to say, and for him to WOW me. Writing is my calling, and God gave me clear direction to go to this conference. He has given me a story, and miraculously the time to write it. He has already wowed me beyond what I would have ever expected, so I won’t be surprised at all if someone agent or editor wants to hear more about my book. Not because it is MY book, but because God is just cool like that.

So, what if I don’t get that “call back”? What if no one likes it?

Will I be disappointed? Probably, but who cares? Life is full of disappointments and we gotta learn to take it sometime. I think there are times that God allows us to be disappointed to make us stronger, and learn to trust in him.

God has a purpose for our lives. We don’t always know what it is. I’ve heard this in sermons so many times I could probably preach it myself, but I think God tells us the current and the end. The current is our next step. The end is Heaven. It is the path between the two that only God knows. We are on a ‘need to know’ basis. It’s what makes us HAVE to trust God.

So, here I sit, anxiously waiting for the conference. I am nervous, but amazingly, I am not fearful, which is weird for me. I have this bubble of excitement in my belly. I KNOW God has something awesome planned for that week, and I am eager to experience it.

Discussion time! What fears do YOU have that you need to give to God? Do you like to ‘lower your expectations’? Do you think I’m dead wrong?

It’s ok if you think I’m wrong. I’m a big girl, I can take it! I just love a little healthy discussion!

2 comments:

Jen Stephens said...

I'm not afraid of being disappointed as much as I am of disappointing others. Oh, and I'm terrified of flying and tornados, too. I'd love to conquer those last two, but I guess that would mean I would have to fly and . . . um . . . stand out in a tornado??? :)

Don't fret, Krista! You are very talented and if everyone at the conference see in you what I have come to see in you, you will wow them!

Love,
Jen

Krista Phillips said...

Jen, you need to get your rear-end on a plane and get over it...

and make sure you have either a tornado shelter or a safe room. I'm scared of tornado's too! LOL

Speaking of fear, I forgot to blog about my fright last week when I was home alone... It wasn't pretty. That might be tomorrows blog:-)