Clarifying our expectations begins with a simply yet critical question: “What do I expect?”
In order to get what I expect, I need to clarify in my own mind what it is I want. In doing so I need to be as specific as possible. Being vague only perpetuates my confusion and leads to frustration for all involved. Whether it is for just for myself, or for others, I need to ask the question that unlocks what the real expectations are.
The same is true for discovering what others are expecting from me. It may seem awkward to inquire, but by asking “what is it you are expecting?”, you are honouring the other person. You are telling them you want to know and accommodate their wishes, if at all possible.
In my years as an artist in a publishing company, I sat in on design meetings for the next book I was to work on. When the subject came to the cover, I would always ask what was expected by the others involved. I was the creative specialist, but I wanted to know what boundaries I was working with. For instance: Two colour or four colour? Hardcover or dust jacket? Only type, or will we require a photo, or an illustration? There was simply no point going off to work on designs that were going to be rejected because I was not meeting the expectations of those who would ultimately approve or reject what I was giving them.
Learning to ask the question before I set off to work saves much grief and disappointment. Going into any activity, project or decision having clear expectations sets us up to get to the answer faster and with a greater sense of collaboration.
What are you doing today? Whatever it is, make sure you first ask the right question.
© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2013
“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press (www.scarletcordpress.com).