Our Table Topic today, Are You Following Up on All of Your Job Leads and Networking Contacts? raises a key challenge that everyone faces, not just active job seekers: How do you keep your commitments? How do you manage to do what you say you will do? Not just today, this week, but time after time after time?
For some people it’s easy. It’s built into their character, their sense of time, and their need to have closure. (My wife and most members of my family were this way.) They’re driven to be sure that everything is crossed off their To Do List. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, known to many of us as the MBTI, can often indicate whether you are good at getting things done on a timely basis or not.
Which means that there are many people out there (like myself) who are not and have to work at it, day after day, to stay up with their many commitments, often well intentioned, by the way. Coincidentally, The Cynical Girl, one of my favorite bloggers, spoke to this very point in her blog post recently.* Just insert the word “commitments” for “ expectations” and this really works for our Table Topic:
“Most people don’t understand how difficult it is to meet expectations. Spouses. Partners. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Colleagues. Clients. Friends. Children. Cats. Work. Life. Internal expectations.
“It is tough to be consistent. It is tough to do the right thing when you are constrained for time. It is really tough to deliver a solid quality, product or experience when you’re stretched too thin and struggling for scarce resources.
“Which is why I always tell people that you cannot exceed expectations before you meet them. First, try to deliver on what has been promised. Then do it again. Then do it one more time. Then wow me.
“This applies to your job where you are paid to do very specific things. Please do those things. Do them well. Be happy when you meet expectations. When you get into the groove and have a consistent track record, build on your success.”
What specifically can you do? I’ll have a better sense after the input from our meeting today. However, for those who are meeting all of their commitments, keep doing it…but try not to judge too harshly those of us who struggle. For us, it’s a matter of constant work, vigilance, and then, ultimately, forgiveness of our own selves. Which doesn’t give us license to stop keeping our commitments and learning new techniques to meet them. It just means we don’t need to slash and burn our sanity when we don’t live up to our own expectations—the ones that count the most…to all of us including those who already have this under control.