Behind every story of disappointment, lurks a failed expectation. Expectations are outcomes that arise out of assumptions, a way of exerting control over life – people mostly but also experiences. And as we all know, life rarely agrees to meet our expectations.
There is another way though.
Janet had a fledgling commercial photography business. She got a new client, a referral from a good friend. Since the referral (we’ll call her Irene) was a friend of a friend, Janet decided to sidestep her usual written agreement (that felt too formal). Janet also decided to give her new client a significant discount on her services, as this new client was ‘a friend of a friend’.
Irene turned out to be a demanding and difficult client. She cancelled their first meeting at the last minute, then, after re-scheduling, she showed up at the planning meeting unprepared and unprofessional. Janet had to work within these limiting conditions to do her job. When Janet delivered her photos, Irene was critical of the results, and asked Janet to reshoot the photos.
Janet was resentful of Irene’s demands, and angry that she was being paid far short of her usual fee for a lot of aggravation and extra work. She only had herself to blame, so she was silent and took the criticism without comment. She ended up feeling both used and discouraged. Since Janet had given Irene a discount, she had expected her to be easy to work with, and abide by the ‘rules’. Except that Irene had different expectations for this business transaction.
Dashed expectations have consequences. They don’t feel very good.
A clear agreement in the beginning of the relationship, laying out the framework of expectation, would have helped Janet begin this business relationship. If (when) problems arose Janet could refer to this agreement, and get buy in from her client. This is an assertive policy and could have salvaged Janet’s self esteem, and her bottom line. Mutual agreements are so important to any relationship, whether they are business or personal. Knowing that everyone has a unique perspective on expectations is important. Being aware of your own expectations are vital, to avoid disappointment and broken relationships.
I like to share stories. Most of the articles I share here are taken from my own life. Those are true. I also write about other people, and their learning experiences. All the people I write about here are fictionalized, to protect confidentiality.