I am a high achiever and one who has always had very high expectations for myself, personally and professionally. I can tell you honestly that this has worked both for me and against me at times. Sometimes I fall victim to self-doubt because my goals are so aggressive and I often lack empathy for myself if I don’t achieve what I set out to do.

 I recognize that setting high goals and working diligently to achieve those goals is a good thing. I encourage my clients to do this. What’s important, however, is that the goals that we set for ourselves are both realistic and manageable. Sometimes we beat ourselves up or become overwhelmed and paralyzed because we fall short of attaining certain goals. Managing our expectations is critical to not only our sanity but our overall success.

I have found from my coaching experience that there is a vast difference in the way women set and manage their expectations. Some women need stretch goals or they will never get from point A to B. Holding them accountable and easing them out of their comfort zone is then part of my work with them.

Other women have tremendous expectations for themselves that result is tremendous stress and self-imposed pressure to succeed. For these women, the goals may not be realistic or they may be realistic but perhaps the time frame is not. For example, someone who has set a goal to be CEO of a company within 5 years and because they did not achieve this, might consider themselves a failure. Well, maybe the goal is doable but it will take 10 years!

The point is that we need to manage our expectations and not use unrealistic expectations to sabotage our efforts to be successful. We need to be flexible and realize that life circumstances affect our forward movement sometimes and goals need to be adjusted. We need to forgive ourselves for being human and understand that managing our expectations is just as important as the process of goal setting.

What type of expectations do you have for yourself?

Do you meet these expectations?

Do the expectations you have for yourself often cause you anxiety?

If you are a high achiever like myself, make sure that your goals are realistic and be careful not to put unnecessary stress on yourself. Remember, managing your expectations is critical to your sanity and your success. Don’t fall into the trap of self-doubt and overwhelm that can hold you back from reaching your full potential.