Trapped in The Expectation Gap? How to find out & get out…ASAP.
Do you ever have a Brilliant Idea for your business, decide it’s Your Next Big Thing, and then…fail to pull the trigger?
You know how it starts.
In your mind, you can justify the delay.You’re busy. You’ve got kids, or friends, or cats that desperately need more snuggles.
In your mind, you’re like, “No, I’m not ready yet. Just…give me a few more days. NO, I’m not being a deluded perfectionist about this.”
In your mind, you make it a moral issue. “I can’t put it out there because I don’t know it’ll work. It would be out of integrity for me to promise something. I’m just TOO HONEST to share this Big Idea right now.”
So weeks pass.
A new year rolls around.
And all you’ve got?
Is a pile of Next Big Things.
Seeds of revolution…gathering dust.
If you can’t move forward because you fear self-sabotage…
But you can’t move backward because you’ve outgrown old skin…
You, my friend, are stuck in a dark, tangled place called The Expectation Gap.
I picture The Expectation Gap like the canyon in the movie 127 Hours.
Down here, you feel pinioned between past and future. You long to turn back the clock and resume ignorance, but really? You crave freedom like blue sky overhead.
When you’re trapped in The Expectation Gap, you’re being deluded by fear.
You think freedom requires death-defying action. Something as painful as (God help us) cutting off your own arm.
You expect perfection before you begin.
You expect confirmation before you ask.
You expect yourself to know the outcome…before you’ve done the work.
You understand why this is impossible, right?
Clients usually come to me when they’ve fallen into The Expectation Gap.
They’ve developed a vague hypothesis about who they are and what value they can give to the world.
But they can’t find the words to explain it without getting confused. They overthink things and second-guess themselves because they’re tangled up in fear.
I give them outside perspective. Confirm or reject their hypothesis. Show them the simplest path to progress, to action, to freedom.
You can tell some clients feel like they’ve done something wrong for falling into this gap.
They don’t realize how incredibly COMMON it is to get stuck when we’re evolving.
Do you know why Richard Branson named his business Virgin?
Because a colleague helpfully pointed out, “We’re complete virgins at this business.”
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers.
So are artists, and leaders, and you.
So if you’re feeling freaking out right now, welcome to the club.
Here’s how you can free yourself from The Expectation Gap.
- Write down your vision for your Next Big Thing. Describe the details of how it works, the results participants will achieve, the emotional and physical transformation they will experience once they’ve done the work. What do you want to be true?
- Notice the doubt that jumps up to bite you. What are you afraid of?
- Decide on the terms of this offer. How can you maximize client results while playing to your strengths?
- Publish your vision somewhere public and risky. Share it with your email list, a Facebook group, or mastermind partners who can connect you with potential clients.
- Work your ass off to make that vision come true.
When you rise to the occasion, the universe will HAND you opportunities to prove yourself.
At this point, you might be thinking “Wait! I can’t POSSIBLY sell something I’m not POSITIVE I can deliver! That’s out of alignment! It makes me seize up! My high-integrity worldview will collapse around me!”
Yep, I get it. I’m exactly the same way.
But here’s the truth you MUST internalize if you want to make progress:
Tattoo this on your forehead if you must.
So how to do people EVER sell new products in good conscience?
How do marketers sleep at night?
How can you debut with integrity?
You’ve got two options to minimize the risk of uncertain results.
- Are you inexperienced in this particular area? (Maybe you’re a writer becoming a photographer. Or a sales coach offering life coaching.)
If so, run a beta test. Offer to do your work for free or for cheap in exchange for honest feedback. Get as many beta testers as you need to develop a good idea of results.
- Are you experienced but worried you can’t live up to client expectations? (Maybe you’re a writer offering a new type of service. Or a sales coach teaching a new strategy.)
If that’s the case, talk honestly and openly with yourself AND your prospects. Make a list of everything you know you CAN deliver. Then make a second list of everything you *wish* you could deliver. Before you commit to doing a project, spell out Column #1 for your prospects. Ideally, you can get potential clients on the phone and tell them EXACTLY what you will deliver…and be clear about what you won’t.
Listen carefully to what clients actually want. (It’s usually way less than you demand from yourself.)
Perhaps, in the course of these conversations, you will realize you missed the mark.
Perhaps you’ll realize your copy is larger than life.
If so, feel free to tone it down.
Just give yourself the chance to exceed your own expectations.
The most powerful way to create a magnetic platform is to take your best guess, take action, and move on.
Your biggest mistake is stalling.
If you fail to act because you aren’t sure it’s going to work, you fail.
If you hold back because you aren’t positive X Y or Z is the best possible way to explain yourself, you will vanish.
Is this a scary practice? Hell yes.
I cried the first 3 [just kidding, 12] times I did it myself.
But each time you do it, you get stronger. Because you learn from ACTUAL CLIENTS where your true value lies.
The more you see yourself through the eyes of your followers, the more insights you receive.
The more you deliver in your unique way, the more expert you become.
Because as it turns out, YOUR Next Big Thing?
Is your biggest, boldest self.
Now tell me: Have you ever gotten trapped in The Expectation Gap? Or are you there right now? If so, what did you/will you do about it?