I just experienced a powerful reminder of how expectations can shape reality. I am working on a training project for the County of San Diego. I’ve been focused on learning my part of the program and a couple of days ago I was asked to step in and help another trainer come up to speed. We train in teams and on my regular team I teach a certain part of the material. In helping this other trainer, I was suddenly asked to teach a different part, with virtually no prep time. The point is that someone close to me “volunteered” me for the job in the complete expectation that I would rise to the occasion.
When I walked into the room, the other trainer expected me to jump in. And I somehow expected him to do his part, again, with no previous practice. As it turned out, we each fulfilled the expectations that others had of us. And we found that we were able to stand up and do something that — had we given it any thought ahead of time — we would have expressed grave doubts about our ability to perform.
And yet, I found myself this afternoon teaching material that was brand new to me and apparently doing a pretty good job. The other trainer also did a good job and we both passed our “dress rehearsal” with flying colors — on little more than hard work and the faith that others had put in our ability to get the job done.
The lesson here? Raise your expectations of both your self and others. Odds are, you will both rise to the occasion.