How do you manage expectations as a mompreneur?
Productivity guru David Allen said “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything”. And yet as moms and business owners we continue to push ourselves to the breaking point to do everything. I’ve done it. And I see it in my community. I also know from what I’ve done and what I’ve seen that running ourselves ragged trying to do it all only leads to burnout. And stress. And potentially health problems…again speaking from experience here. That’s why I’m here to help you develop a better way to manage expectations.
I’m totally former president of the “trying to cram way too much into a day because I think I have to” society. Those expectations we think we have to meet can really do a number on our stress levels. Our self-esteem. And our sleep patterns. And our relationships…you name it.
To be completely honest, I wrestled with preparing this episode. And I think it’s because this is an area where I regularly find myself needing to reinvest in my mindset. So often, all that added pressure is entirely brought on by our own minds. And by no means am I suggesting we settle for less than we absolutely desire or deserve. I’m just saying, let’s take a minute to realistically evaluate our schedules, lists of tasks, and expectations for work and home life so we can confidently stay on track to achieve our goals and desires.
Entrepreneurship as a mom can be a rough road. Especially when you’re first starting out. Once the initial excitement wanes, you may find yourself continually thinking “what the f did I get myself into?” The sooner we learn to realistically manage our expectations when it comes to what is successful in our business and our mom life, the sooner we can learn to actually enjoy the life we are creating as a business owner.
Managing expectations comes down to a brutally honest review of your skills, your time, your support system, your finances, and your desires. Remember, we can do anything just not everything. The sooner we learn to ask for help in our home and business life, delegate tasks that aren’t in our skillset, spend money to make money with systems or automation, and set manageable goals aligned with our vision AND time available, the sooner we will crush those previously held expectations of who we should be and how we do it. And we will start to relish in the here and now, which sets us up for future success.
Currently, you may be running your business and home life based on how you perceived an entrepreneur life looks like. Or maybe you are trying to be your own mom, who kept an immaculate house but did not work additionally outside the home. Maybe your favorite online business building guru is full of amazing strategies but also single or childless.
Benefits When You Manage Expectations
You are 100% unique when it comes to your family, your business, and how they all work together. There isn’t a single mentor, regardless of their yearly income, Instagram followers, or number of team members they have, that shares the same needs as you. And yet we often model our view of “success” after these other people. No wonder we are struggling to recognize the difference between actual and perceived expectations as a mom and business owner.
But when we start to manage our expectations on a realistic level that is based on our goals, our values, and our time available, we can stay motivated. We learn to accept a range of success and celebrate it. Rather than the constant belief we are failing or missing the mark.
We are better prepared when life happens…like a sick kid or your internet’s out before a big meeting. The adage “Done is better than perfect” could become a sort of mantra. Helping you complete the work and home tasks that are required while leaving you time and energy for yourself and your family.
And speaking of your family…if you were to ask them, do you think they would be more concerned about a perfectly kept house that you spend hours maintaining in the evenings after work and school. Or would they rather have you present for a board game or a movie night? How can we get to a place where we can better juggle all the things and the perceived expectations we have for our home and business life?
It’s helpful to think of success in a range rather than black and white. There are so many tiny victories to celebrate that will keep us motivated and lead us to greater success.
If we only focus on reaching the big, hairy goals or celebrating life working out exactly how we planned, we miss the opportunity to revel in the abundance of the great things we are doing along the way. Instead, let’s think of our “successes” on a good, better, best scale. I learned this as a goal-setting method from a former coach. And it’s a great way to help manage expectations and create a more abundant attitude toward success.
How to Manage Expectations on a Sliding Scale
Here is your action step to start using a sliding scale to manage your expectations. I recommend starting this exercise by working through a couple of stress points. Use a journal, a piece of paper, or the notes app on your phone. After a while, you’ll start noticing your reaction to perceived expectations in the moment. As GI Joe used to say “knowing is half the battle”.
Let’s start by writing down a perceived expectation. What is an expectation you believe is required of you that feels overwhelming or impossible? Let’s use the example of tackling a sinkful of dishes at the end of a very long day. Your perceived expectation may be that despite feeling exhausted or wanting to hang out with your family on the couch watching “Lego Masters”, you need to spend your time in the kitchen doing these dishes. That’s the perceived expectation which is causing stress or overwhelm.
Next, let’s look at the actual expectation. Did someone, other than yourself, tell you to complete this job or action? Or is the expectation of completion coming from you? Back to the dishes example…Did your mother always had clear counters and a clean sink before going to bed? Do you also feel like that is expected of you? Did your spouse ask for it? Or your kids? Most times they did not. And yet the expectation is there. Deeply rooted in your daily routine creating stress and potentially resentment. Chances are that the expectations that cause the most stress in our daily lives are coming from our own mind. Which is great because it means we have an opportunity to evolve our thinking.
Using our good, better, best sliding scale…how can we meet the expectation of doing the dishes and not go to bed resenting the fact that your spouse and kids are enjoying their evening on the couch while you do the dishes. The “Good” option may be your put the dishes in the dishwasher and call it a night. “Better” may be you get the dishes in the dishwasher, soak the pans, and wipe the counters down. And “Best” might be you complete all the actions. Most nights you may be ok in your better to best range. But on the days you don’t have it in you, and you really want to snuggle down with your family, good is also ok.
How about a quick example from the business world. Let’s say you have a perceived expectation that you need to post 6 days a week on Instagram. As well as creating 4-10 stories a day. Creating that much content requires you to stay up very late after the kids go to bed. You’re losing sleep. Missing out on time with your spouse. and have found yourself generally cranky trying to meet this perceived expectation. What could a good, better, best scenario be for this situation? “Good” could be you create just the posts or just the stories for the week. “Better” is you create 4 posts instead of 6 and 2-5 stories per day instead of 10. “Best” is you create all the content you perceive necessary to grow your business and increase your income.
Regardless of completing your “good”, “better”, or “best” goal, you’re still producing content that will help grow your business. But now you are better managing expectations so you can juggle your need for downtime. And reduce the resentment that life is all work and no play.
How are you feeling about managing your expectations on a scale from good to better to best? Changing up years of patterns and thoughts can feel daunting. As I said in the opening, managing expectations is mindset matter I am constantly working on. If you’re also feeling overwhelmed or still aren’t sure where to start, I’d love to help you. Let’s evaluate the tasks on your to-do list and come up with your range of success for those tasks that wear you out. Click the link below to schedule a free clarity call. And discuss how I can help you manage expectations, reach your goals, and still spend time watching Lego Masters on the couch with your family.
Ready to experience better mental, physical, and emotional health without sacrificing additional time and energy? Let’s jump on a free, no-obligation 15-minute clarity call to see how I can help you experience more fun & fulfillment in your work and home life.