How to Avoid Unintentionally Setting Low Expectations for Yourself

Setting realistic expectations is the best way to set yourself up for success. However, setting goals that are “too realistic” can lead to a lack of motivation and a dearth of accomplishments. If you want to make sure you are being honest with yourself, you need to find the middle ground between high and low expectations.

The biggest challenge to getting what you deserve can be your own mindset. You may not realize it, but the excuses you make are preventing you from achieving success. Excuses comes in all forms, shapes and sizes, and rob you of productivity in more ways than one.

Remember these important tips so that you can keep yourself honest when it comes to setting expectations for yourself.

Hard Work Pays Off

If you were told from an early age that you wouldn’t amount to anything, you’re not alone. Self-inflicted limitations tend to be a result. If your whole early skill set is based around making ends meet, you might be less likely to dream big, both for yourself and your business.

Industries can be unkind as well: The perils of unemployment and “dead-end jobs” may keep us operating within the status quo. After all, it’s better to have your bases covered than to take a risk doing something that might prove to be more rewarding, right?

When people inspect learned mindsets and make a conscious decision to try something outside of those limitations, success typically follows. Didn’t go to college? That might not matter. If you were told that you’d never be able to do something, try it anyway. Start small and build on your successes.

Take Control Over Outcomes

The “self-employment” trap can also negatively influence your mindset. What stands between you seeing yourself as self-employed and as a legitimate business owner, entrepreneur, or trailblazer, is a handful of fairly straightforward paperwork. Can you open a bank account? Can you navigate your local Secretary of State’s website and fill out a couple of forms? That is essentially all that separates what is essentially a freelance position from a legitimate business.

This is a problem that exists across industries: it’s about taking responsibility and control over outcomes. This may seem scary, but it’s a skill that can be learned. This is not about setting yourself up for obligations that feel burdensome; it’s about making things happen, and discovering the freedom that evolves.

The biggest problem here is your mindset. The distinction might appear subtle, but think about it. The successful stereotype associated serial entrepreneurs and startup founders can be used to your advantage. To consider yourself self-employed robs you of the rewards of being the boss. And remember, you are the boss.

Getting What You Deserve

Working for what you deserve depends on whether you have the drive to pursue every avenue and discover what’s possible. It depends on whether you have an itch that needs scratching, and whether that itch makes you strive for a legitimate, valuable and world-changing life.

Your potential is more than what you believe it is – even as you’re reading this. Your capabilities are likely worth 90 percent more than what you’re earning right now. Make a game plan to get yourself out there. Reflect on where you are right now. Consider what might happen if you believed you could achieve anything you can think of.

After you’ve done that, take a deep breath. You do deserve to achieve your dreams in business and in life. By believing in this, you’ll discover you are absolutely worthy of success.

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Nicole Smartt is the owner of Star Staffing. She is the youngest recipient to be awarded the Forty Under 40 award, recognizing business leaders under the age of 40. Her book, From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work can be purchased on Amazon.
Back to top