Great sports teams—and industry leaders—must learn to cope with high expectations. If you don’t, this pressure can cause fear to ruin your team’s motivation.
We set high expectations on the basis of past success (we are at the top or near, and we want to stay there) or aspiration (we want to be at the top). Sometimes there’s even a chip on the shoulder (we should be at the top).
High expectations can come from inside our team …. From outsiders … or both. We carry them individually and as a group. This is true in business, sports and other arenas. For high achievers, high expectations come with the territory.
Sports fans, think about the Golden State Warriors for example. With two superstars on their roster, the Warriors are pegged as a possible “superteam” for the ages. (Las Vegas even made this team an odds-on favorite to win the NBA title. “Odds-on” means a team has a better than even chance to win—you win less money than you bet. It’s extremely rare.)
I for one am watching to see how they handle this, because I know that a team’s success depends on managing its talent and expectations. High expectations crush motivation when we think there is no safety net for failure. “There’s no where to go but down,” becomes the thinking.
Fear creeps in when high expectations remove any sort of safety net. The bar that has been set and anything below that is failure.
High expectations can exhaust your team. So how do you sustain what makes your team perform well?
A Fearless Mindset
The key to managing high expectations is approaching your goal with a fearless mindset. A purpose statement is so effective for this because a clear, concise statement of what matters to you and what drives you.
Here is what the purpose statement does to counter high expectations.
- Your purpose exists outside of the numbers by which others judge you.
- Your purpose helps internalize that factors outside your control (wins, losses, sales figures, etc.) do not define you.
- Your purpose goes beyond pleasing those that you don’t know.
- Your purpose is a compass for your time and energy, protecting your finite resources.
- Your purpose guides you away from distractions and the noise. You can concentrate better.
- Your purpose is a stake in your values apart from what others say or think.
In my experience working with team building, and as an agent to high-performing athletes, coaches and broadcasters, I noticed the power of purpose.
No matter how heavy the expectations, a high achiever who was clear on purpose was much more likely to stay humble and curious, to avoid defensiveness and fear, and enjoy the journey.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
When the tyranny of high expectations threatens your team, you can fearlessly respond when you are clear on your purpose. By focusing on fulfilling what makes your team distinctive, the purpose statement helps bulletproof your team from high expectations. Purpose makes high expectations work for your team.
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her e-learning courses spark both personal growth for individuals and corporate development for organizations. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.