Imagine your partner focusing all of his energy on you, watching for constant feedback, setting immensely high personal expectations to take care of you, sacrificing himself to provide everyt hing you need. While this may sound exciting short term, this intensely focused energy would grow uncomfortable and boring long term.
Where’s the intrigue? You are far too free-spirited to be watched this closely. And, without asking, how could he possibly know what is truly important to you?
This focused energy is what many of us believe we must give our patients, teams, clients and customers. We live this lie daily. “They need me to take care of them and their every need.” Those who rely on you need you to provide a specific service, not sacrifice yourself. This fact applies to both parents and to CEOs.
How much focused energy is enough? Lately, I’ve heard these statements: I get worn down by my clients; expectations for me. There’s nothing left for me at the end of the day.” “My clients expect me to perform miracles. The problem is that in trying so hard, I make mistakes, which frustrates me, causes guilt and resentment toward them.”
Who is setting these expectations, you or your customer? Assuming what another needs from us is dangerous in any relationship. This causes all or nothing thinking, leaving no room for creativity, experimentation, even fun in your relationships. “Either I am all things to my clients or they’ll leave me for someone who is. I will have failed.”
Is it important to exceed our customer’s expectations? Absolutely, but not at a cost to you! The mastery is in creating a balance between their needs and your own.
In truth, do you really expect any individual in your life to sacrifice himself for you? Do you want a service provider to have sleepless nights over you? Do you want anyone to assume what you need? Is that their role or is it yours to communicate this? If they are in doubt, wouldn’t it be prudent to ask you rather than assume?
What keeps us afraid when it comes to asking this question: “How can I best serve you?” “What part of my service can be improved upon?” “Each year I like to reevaluate the service I provide. How can each of us make more money?Let your client tell you how to grow and improve. You need to cut yourself some slack.
I can assure you that their expectations of you are not nearly as high as the ones that you’ve set upon yourself. The struggle is in your mind, not in their unspoken word. Even if there are no suggested changes, you’ve certainly communicated that you care.
Examine how you are using your energy this week. Do you focus it upon unrealistic expectations? Do you save some of that energy for yourself? How can you best serve ‘you’ in each interaction? Perhaps choose your battles? Perhaps be very clear on the outcomes you seek with certain individuals or situations? Allow your learning to come, ask questions, and listen to the answers.
Enjoy your discoveries and have an outstanding week!
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