Tag Archives: expectations

Can *anyone* really have it all? And what is “all” anyway?

A friend of mine – with her own business and two children – pointed me to this article today http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/why-pepsico-ceo-indra-k-nooyi-cant-have-it-all/373750/

It’s great to see a point of view from someone who can give an informed opinion, but maybe we should quantify what “all” is. Can a person – male or female – have a career and a family? I think generally the answer is yes. Can this person give as much attention as they would like to every aspect of this “all”? Can they be the perfect parent, succeed to the highest levels of their career, look after their own parents plus ensure they too are supporting themselves with the best diet, exercise, emotional support etc.? No, I don’t think it’s possible.

You make decisions on a day-by-day basis and you do the best you can. Everyone makes sacrifices and everyone sometimes has things they feel guilty about. Maybe if you decide what your personal “all” is, that will help with both the decisions and the guilt.

Try, try again

I’m in the process of leaving a project this week and my successor has been coming up with suggestions on how to improve as the team goes forwards. It’s tempting sometimes to say, “I tried that already and it didn’t work,” but I stop myself if I can.

I have to remind myself that the fact that I tried something and it wasn’t successful is not an indicator of potential failure if someone else tries something similar. The project has continued to develop, the participants have changed, maybe the approach is slightly different – who knows? Maybe this time the outcome will be better.

This is not to say we should mindlessly repeat ourselves, expecting a different result every time, but we can sometimes be tempted to squash other people’s ideas on the basis of our own experience.

Let’s not do that.

You just don’t know what the future will hold for any attempt at a leap forwards. It’s better for everyone to stay positive on possible outcomes and avoid letting our own experiences jeopardize someone else’s opportunity for success.

Expectation Management

It’s tempting sometimes to not tell a client about something that may come up during a project. After all, if whatever it is doesn’t happen all the time, maybe mentioning it will alarm a client more than simply dealing with it if it comes up. This can sound like the right approach but now I have a personal perspective on this.

A few weeks ago I had two wisdom teeth removed. I’d been told there was a risk of nerve damage, that the recovery would probably be painful and that it might take longer than I’d thought, so one could argue I was prepared.

However, on about the fifth day after the surgery I woke up with the taste of dead rat in my mouth. It was awful. I rinsed, I took drugs, I even ate something (difficult as I was still basically on a liquid diet) but the taste remained. I couldn’t sleep at night as every time I swallowed, I tasted dead rat.

So I went back to the surgeon, who had a quick look and said,

“Oh yeah, that’s pretty normal.”

In conversation with others I’ve discovered that it happens to at least half of those people whom I know have had wisdom teeth out. I’ve concluded that it must be some sort of chemical the body makes to aid in healing, as it gradually faded away over about a week.

Normal? Ok, I guess I have to readjust, but I confess I felt quite betrayed that no one had thought to tell me ahead of time that this was a more than 50% likely outcome.

So, next time you’re doing a project with a client and you think there’s a chance that what you’re doing will give the client the taste of dead rat, even for a short time, tell them. Better to know ahead of time that it’s a possibility than to suffer dead rat surprise.