Do You Have Realistic Expectations?

Support another local business and just buy the cake!!  Cuz you might not have time for this!

Support another local business and just buy the cake!!  Cuz you might not have time for this!

September was a crazy month for me.  It blindsided me with it’s neediness.  August was amazing, full of fun and adventure with my family.  My business ran smoothly, I served all my clients well and was just content with it as it was.  

I was excited to shift into fall and start digging into my business, developing some new things and acting on ideas that I had.

And then September arrived and had different plans….

My five year old started kindergarten and the transition has been bumpy.  My older daughter had an easy breezy transition. Of course the writing was on the wall that my son would be different but I didn’t manage to read the memo.

So while he is great during the day (his teacher described him as a dream student), his meltdowns at home are epic.   Little things set him off.  I’ve had to shift my parenting style and learn new techniques to help and support him.  I’m actually reading a parenting book.  No joke, first one I’ve read. I usually go to other trusted parents who read all the good stuff and get the low down from them.  It has been an intense, emotional month.  

The first two weeks were extra tough.  I started realizing that my kids needed me more than I had expected and I also found that emotionally I was pretty tapped out at the end of the day.  

And at first I felt frustrated.  

I have so much to do….
I don’t have time for this…..
I want to work on my business...
We need to go to soccer practice…..

So rather than feeling annoyed and resentful to the new demands from the family, I had to pause and shift around some things in my work.  I didn't attend a few events that I had hoped to.  I switched my morning meeting times back by 1/2 hour so I have more time in the morning. I didn't work after bedtime since I was too tired (and took the pressure of myself thinking I would get work done).  I had to shift my expectation so I wasn't frustrated and disappointed.

As entrepreneurs, I know that you want to do it all.  Business, family, personal development…. Of course you can do ALL THE THINGS.  But you may need to have a reality check with your expectations.  Do you need to change the pace or the quantityof things you are trying to pack into a day, week, month, year.  

Expectations determine our satisfaction.  

There are three things to consider:

  1. Is the time frame correct?

    Often the project / goal / plan is great and you are fully capable to accomplish it.  But I see people have some crazy expectations for themselves in terms of how much time it will take to complete something, especially when juggling 10 other things.  

    Don't compare yourself to the person with minimal other responsibilities.  Put those blinders on and focus on yourself and your family.  What is a realistic time frame? Take an inventory of all the other things going on in your life; personal, family and business.  

  2. Is this a Curveball In Life

    There are certain times in my entrepreneurial journey that I’ve had to put my business on autopilot because unexpected things came up in my personal life.  And the worst thing we can do is be in denial about where our efforts are needed the most. 

    Here are a few biggies:

    When my daughter broke her femur at the age of 2 and had to be in a full body spica cast for 2 months (oh and I had a 7 week old at home - the most challenging summer of my life). I had to step back from many responsibilities in my business and just focus any effort I had on maintaining rather than growing. 
    When my brother in law was dying of cancer, we put our business on hold for months so we could help care for my sister and her four kids.  We stopped the entire online part of our coffee roasters because we didn’t have the capacity to run it and needed to turn our attention to our family. The business goal at this time was again maintain. 

    These are big examples, but the example I listed above regarding my son needing me a bit more as he transitions to kindergarten is a pretty typical example. I’ve cut back on some of my work things I had planned. But I’m still working and moving forward and I see this as a shorter term thing than a longer one. 

    Once we recognize and accept that we need to shift things, a weight can be lifted and we can go forward without guilt putting our attention to the places that need it most right now.  

  3. Progress not perfection.  

    What would happen if you started doing things that were good enough rather than perfect?  If you expect perfection from yourself you will have a constant struggle with being let down.  Let’s cut ourselves a break, we’ve got so much we are trying to do!  You have a limited amount of time and energy - make sure it goes to the important things and don't get hung up on the little things that don't really matter. 

What challenges are you facing your life right now?  What expectations could you shift to simplify your life and help with your sanity?   I'd love to hear from you.