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  • Lacy Starling

#96: Release Your Expectations

Yesterday, I wrote about a client who was allowing fear of failure to stop her from pitching her product to a potential big client, and how I advised her to simply take the leap instead of waiting for the fear to abate. (It never does.)


We also, talked, though, about how she was allowing her expectations to affect her mindset about this sales call, and the benefit of releasing those (and any other) expectations we might have about results, in order to be able to focus on effort instead.


You see, we often build up expectations in our mind about how certain events are going to go—sales pitches, first dates, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.—and then, when those events don't go exactly to our plan, we are disappointed. Or, we build them up so much that they take on outsize importance in our minds. Example for my client: "This deal is the most important deal I'll ever have, so I have to do it perfectly and I'm not ready for that, so I'll just wait." The expectation being that this deal will make or break her company. Which is never the case.


This brings up two pieces of advice. First, have enough going in your pipeline that your expectations around the result of any one sales pitch aren't so high that you are afraid to tackle it. If you have multiple major deals, you can release the expectation that any one is going to be your whale and that you have to close it, or else you'll go out of business.


Second, just release the expectations altogether. Prepare, sure. But be in the moment and understand that you can't force someone to do business with you. Or fall in love with you. Or plan the "perfect" birthday celebration. All you can do is be present in the moment, enjoy it for what it is, and then whatever the result is, it is. I know I've walked into too many deals to count thinking that this was the BIG ONE and when it didn't work out, I was devastated, even if the reason for it not working had NOTHING to do with me, or my product or service. (And don't get me started on the number of birthdays and anniversaries and etc. that I've ruined with my expectations.)


Just go with the flow. Fill your pipeline totally full, do your best work, and let the chips fall where they may. Overwhelming yourself with outsize expectations for the result of an interaction will never help you make sales, or have a great birthday, or meet the love of your life. It'll just make you miserable.

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