Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Lower Expectations

I read a great post a while (a few days?) ago titled, "How to Exceed Expectations". It was very inspirational. I highly recommend it. This post is not on the same topic. It's not even the opposite of that topic. It's just a desperate cry in the wilderness.

Okay, it's not really a desperate cry... not really.

I have a good sense of self-esteem (mostly).

This is me...just me. I don't have any illusions, or disillusions for that matter, about me. My vertical challenges are well outstripped by my intellect, although my height is much easier to view on most occasions. I top out at five foot, nothing. I would consider myself average in other physical aspects, including my average need to drop a couple of pounds.

So what's the issue with expectations?

I hear you asking. The issue is that folks get a different impression of me over the phone. I guess I have one of "those kind" of voices. I had an uncle years ago who told me that I would do well as a telemarketer. :^) My wacky sense of humor and other personality traits come through over the phone. I'm honest, straightforward, and transparent on the phone. The phone is my ally, if not my friend.

We're still waiting for the issue...

Sometimes I take a long ramble to get to the point. See, I know myself and I'm not ashamed of me.

The point is that I have a lunch meeting in about an hour and a half with someone I've been talking to off and on for a couple of years now. It's not a date; it's business - he's finally decided to make a job change. It's not a date; it's business - we've talked about his amazing girlfriend - I'm not her.

She's nice. You'll like her.

So why am I blind-date nervous? He said he's excited to meet me. I know he didn't mean that in the date kind of way, but still...should I warn him? I thought about replying to him email with a brief description, "See you there. Just look for the short, average black woman," or "You can't miss me...unless you look above five feet."

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

If I had any decent pictures, I might have sent one, you know, just so he could recognize me and make meeting up easier. I don't, and I didn't, and it would have been silly anyway...almost as silly as having butterflies about a business lunch. Maybe the butterflies rank even higher on the silly scale.

I'm probably not what he's expecting.

You might think that's a self-esteem issue rearing it's ugly head. It's not. You see, I've been "here" before, without the nerves. I was working with a client that I hadn't met in person. Actually, I had just taken over the account for someone who'd left the company. Everything was crossed and dotted when I got there, I just had to maintain (and hopefully build).

It's happened before.

After months of phone conversations (usually once or twice a month), we finally started really working together and decided to meet. I went to the company so that our meeting could also include a tour of the facility. I had the slight "don't get lost (that's another post, check back for it)" edginess working, as well as a little "first-time client meeting" nervousness. Overall, I was on an even keel.

I got to the reception area (after only one unnecessary loop around the block) and waited. My client came to the lobby to meet me and as he shook my hand he said, "You're absolutely nothing like what I expected." How do you respond to that? Say "Thank you"?

The clock is ticking...

It's too late for warnings now, or soon will be, so I won't be tempted. I'm going to make a valiant effort to ditch these nerves and walk proudly into that restaurant to face the verdict. Actually, writing this post has helped a lot already. If I have already acknowledged that I am probably not what he is expecting, there are no surprises in his reaction...and the restaurant is in a neighborhood I know well, so I can't (read shouldn't) get lost.

Maybe this post should be, "How to Overcome High Expectations".

Aww, man! This post almost reaches the borders of meaningful. Dare I hit "Publish" anyway?

I dare.


Steph VanderMeulen said...

So? How did the meeting go? You've peaked my interest!!

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer said...

Hey, Steph -- Nice to see you again!

The meeting was great! Thanks for asking. From the moment we shook hands, the guy acted like we'd been meeting in person from the beginning. He definitely didn't make me feel like I shouldn't be there.

So all the worry was just another one of those textbook studies on agonizing over perceived perceptions. :^)