Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Managing Expectations"

Hm. Did you ever hear a couple of words that kind of stopped you in your tracks, made you think, gave you one of those ah ha moments? I did. Yesterday. On the phone. With someone whose opinion I respect. We were talking about an important design project, but these two words, common business terms I expect to him, gave me pause:"Managing expectations. "

Apparently, somewhere between enthusiasm and reality is a sweet spot of reasonable expectations in business and media (his background). This is a pragmatic and practical man. Oh, he has his flaws, but that is a different story. When it comes to certain areas of my life, I trust him above all others.

Hm. I create. So I know that it IS possible to make a lot of things real, out of practically nothing. That's what I do. I realize ideas, turn 'em into something tangible. Or I capture something out there that exists and say, hey take a sec, look at this. I see possibilities, potentials, connections, everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Yeah, gets kind of noisy and distracting if I let it. So selection is important. Dialing back is part of the job. Letting go another. Leaping faithfully another.

So why did his words speak to me yesterday?

Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I expect a lot. Especially from myself. So those two words from this one person, who knows me so well, have made me think. Hm. Sometimes we are toughest on ourselves. And sometimes a cigar IS just a cigar.

I have been trying to get over my own self by going right toward my weaknesses and bringing them into some kind of presentable shape and I am kicking things up a notch in other areas. Moving on. Pushing, digging, going right toward the difficult parts to get to the other side. And I am expecting a lot from every day. A lot. Because I want restoration. Total. Total integration and magnificent restoration to something even better. There. I have said it.

It's hard. Restoration. Probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. And I am one hot mess of nerves at the moment. Phew, I said it. I am one hot mess of nerves. Not all bad ones, but enough to be on edge. And that affects my work. It's part of process too. I have some good projects going on. Some I am excited about. But I realize, wow, my expectations are way up there. I said to him, my media man, "I wish everything weren't so important to me. I wish it did not matter so much." His voice was reassuring, confident. Right on task. And in two words reminded me about myself and the projects at hand.

I look at that pan of color up in the photo, and I see an oasis, the sirens of my work. Colors. Pure possibility of flow. I also see things and events that I really don't want to see. But they are there. Real. No you can't see them. But what I paint lives, it breathes and all that was or is to be carried on is there too. I am invested, fully invested in the what behind what I paint. I am trying very hard to paint right past the ghosts. And to find something local, something not fraught, not so difficult. And I am trying very hard not to be so very hard on myself, but also to keep that standard held right up there, high. So the sweet spot, that sweet spot of reasonable expectations. I am looking for that today. Want to bet, I 'll be painting a bit of my island?

Thanks media man. Walls...we just push on through.

Brush, I hope this made some sense. Augh, Brush just held my hand. Come on buddy. Let's just go play with color.


Karen Swim said...

Janice, wow! I do not even think I can articulate how that hit me, but hit me it did. I too am over here tackling big things, looking back and forward at the same time, learning from the past and determined to do it different in the here and now. Taking steps not sure where my foot will land, big fat monster visions and expectations, and a jangle of excitement for the process mixed with nerves about it all. Yea, managing expectations. Wise man, your friend, wise indeed.

A Brush with Color said...

OMG, you have SO spoken to me today! I am feeling exactly this way this week--and having lots of frustrations about it all along the way. Glad to hear I'm not alone. Maybe the moon's in a weird place or Venus is ascending or something? Anyway, I hear you! Good luck with it all.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Phew! I was so anxious about this post. LOL duh. But it was one of those gut ones that had to come out.

Karen- I am right there with you. We want good. We want more than good actually. In spite of it all.

ABWC- I'll have to check horoscope LOL. But you may have something there. Hang in.

Kelly said...


So nicely said. Managing expectations can be an ugly phrase in business, as in, let's dial back what others are hoping for so we can deliver less, but for ourselves, yeah. Managing expectations, so we can just deliver without killing ourselves. Not ugly when you mean it like that.

I like to knock myself out now and then (just did today, in fact), but managed expectations on a daily basis, I suspect, will contribute to a longer life. Expecting to knock yourself out daily is a recipe for major stress.

I expect my best, but I don't expect to move mountains daily. That's probably my sweet spot. :)



Chris said...

Well said. This is what blogging is all about, stepping out of your comfort zone and revealing more of your story. Well done.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Kelly- Knowing the excellence you demand from yourself, I am sure that sweet spot is also high. Hope little one can sometimes read YOU a bedtime story.

Chris- This one was tough. One of those "ooh did I really hit publish?" ones. And it seems to have struck a chord. Thanks.