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How Do You Perceive Success in Business?

Published on Nov 2, 2011


A discussion on how we perceive success in our business lives and how we should shift our expectations from results oriented to self oriented.
Perceive SuccessI recently read a blog post called The Paradox of Expectations, by Seth Godin, which got me thinking about how we perceive success. Although brief, Seth’s post made a very relevant point: “Low expectations are often a self-fulfilling prophecy. We insulate ourselves from failure, don't try as hard, brace for the worst and often get it. High expectations, on the other hand, will inevitably lead to disappointment. Keep raising what you expect and sooner or later (probably sooner) it's not going to happen. And we know that a good outcome that's less than the great one we hoped for actually feels like failure. Perhaps it's worth considering no expectations. Intense effort followed by an acceptance of what you get in return ...” No expectations? This is easier said than done. Our expectations directly correlate to our perception of what we think is supposed to happen when we take a particular action. In other words, we associate success with our perception of what it should be. Whether it’s launching a product or an ad campaign, making SEO adjustments in relation to Google Panda, or writing a blog post on a topic that “will absolutely generate interest and traffic,” we have an expectation. The Shift to Self-oriented Expectations Instead of having no expectations, which could lead to us having no goals, how about we shift our expectation from results oriented to self oriented? For example, instead of expecting a certain amount of hits per day on a particular blog post, how about expecting ourselves to write the best blog post we are currently capable of. And if we’re not happy about our current writing proficiency, I think it’s completely legitimate (as well as mandatory) to expect ourselves to find a resource to help us become better. This philosophy holds true in all aspects of business and life. Seth alludes to this when he writes about making “intense effort.” But intense effort without a specific expectation (aka: a goal) could leave us working hard in no particular direction. A screaming child is making a physically intense effort. But they’re not communicating in a way that’s clearly stating what’s wrong. A fly makes an intense effort to escape through a closed window, but no matter how long it tries it will never make it through. Having clear, well thought out goals — along with the expectation that we’ll do our best to achieve them — is a much better way to perceive sucess. Business Blogs blog