Would someone please just tell me who in the world thinks lowering expectations is a good idea? Where does it get you? What has it done to our country? Our ambition and achievement? Our independence and freedom? I am livid at the the nerve of anyone saying that to someone who has the vision and courage to have high expectations, given what they have to go through to get anything done! The only reason they have the nerve is there are so many of them, those who relish the land of the middle, of the mediocre. These are the ones who didn’t want to go the extra mile to make something happen, who hate those that do. By out numbering the achievers, they believe themselves to be legitimately entitled to procedures and “movements” that blur the distinctions between the achievers and themselves and also just make it so difficult to get anything accomplished.
I am about to celebrate my 30th anniversary in performance consulting. I have been involved in the battle between the visionaries and the champions of busyness the entire 3 decades. Instead of the usual thoughts like where did the time go, I think a lot about how fascinating this has been. The variety of assignments, places and challenges has been most gratifying and exciting. The absolute best part has been having the honor of working with leaders who are true visionaries, who really have made a difference wherever they have been and who never left the path the same way they found it. Trailblazers, for sure.
A lot of things have changed since I started my business, and my professional journey, many of which were unimaginable until someone did imagine them. Others were unimaginable because no one ever thought we would do anything but get better and certainly never envisioned there would be such strong forces relishing mediocrity and worse, failure.
I was fortunate to grow up in a time when achievement was important, and rewarded and when heroes and visionary thinkers were admired. It was also a time when America was accepted as being exceptional and known to have an exceptional destiny and role to fill. None of that is different, but the forces that resent achievement, trailblazers and an exceptional America have grown in number and power. Ironically, they have grown primarily because of the opportunities given to them by the efforts of those exceptional leaders they resent. They think the fog of grayness and sameness is prettier than the blue skies of vision and pushing the boundaries.
When I grew up the message was “you can be anything you want to be” if you are willing to work for it and care enough about it. It was always assumed you would want to be something special. Now the message is that we are all the same and should not want anything that everyone cannot have or be. Worse, we should stifle our enthusiasm, vision and dreams and apologize for talent and desire.
A case in point is that virtually every one of my dynamic clients, who by their accomplishments, risk tolerance, and courage have created companies of integrity and value, have all been told over and over that “their expectations are too high.” Many of them admit that they have, at times, almost believed that, and they have tried to subdue their vision of how things could and ought to be to be “less threatening” to others.
Anyone who has tried to blunt vision and achievement by ever saying “your expectations are too high,” needs to assess where that comes from. Why are their expectations so low. Shame on them and God Bless you for ignoring them and pushing on. I am blessed to know many of you. Your expectations are a gift, and you have been given the talents to achieve them.