I Expect This One To Be The Best One Yet!

In this discussion Melissa and JJ discuss outcomes and expectations.

December 15, 2020
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:17  
Well, Melissa, I have been back into playing tennis pretty regularly.

Melissa Albers  0:23  
Good, that's good.

JJ Parker  0:25  
I've kind of like moved into a routine. And I love tennis. I've been playing tennis for years. And I started back in my USTA League, which is like it's competitive tennis, but it looks like amateur competitive tennis. I mean, like, you want to win, but it's not the end of the world. And then you usually go drink beers after?

Melissa Albers  0:48  
That sounds like Mike.

JJ Parker  0:50  
Yes, good. So I was in a match this weekend. And we, my partner, and I, it was a great match. I mean, the ball was back and forth, the teams were evenly matched, we're having a great time, right. And we were playing a set point, which means that if we won that point, we won the set. And in that case, if we had won that set, we had won the match. So there's a match point. Now that I think about it

Melissa Albers  1:20  
is a big deal, point, really big deal point.

JJ Parker  1:23  
All right. And for those of you that don't know, tennis, tennis is kind of a fun game in the scoring, because you get these opportunities to like, win the entire thing. But then if you miss that point, like, then you have to get two more points to win, right? Like it. I mean, it just like the back. If you miss one of those key points, the whole thing sort of like

Unknown Speaker  1:44  
falls apart, apart.

JJ Parker  1:47  
God so here I am, we're in the match point, playing for that set, the balls going back and forth. And I knew this team from playing that day knew that if I dropped that ball short, in the court, they were gonna pop it up, because they'd been doing it all night. So I sliced a nice little backhand short, the opponent ran up, they pop that ball up. And it's like, when that ball comes up, and it just gets blogged to you, like softball, lobbed, your eyes become like cartoon eyes, you're like, Oh, my God, there it is. Right? And the things just floating in slow motion, and you had to go back and get set to just just rip that ball through, like the ground, right? Like, I was just going to hit the crap out of that ball, and I was gonna win. And it was gonna win the match. And it was going to be so awesome, right. And the entire time, I'm thinking that that ball is just so floating there that I go back, and I smack that ball, and it goes straight down into the net. And we lose that point.

Melissa Albers  3:00  
We didn't do then

JJ Parker  3:03  
I just like looked at the ground and hung my head in shame and walked back. But that happens all the time. In tennis. Like in tennis, it's the funniest thing because you get an opportunity. And you have this just like grandiose expectation about what's going to happen. And you play through, like, you play through the point and the celebration and everything and like a split second, it's over and then you and then you screw it up, like every time or it just doesn't happen the way you think it's gonna happen right now.

Melissa Albers  3:36  
That's actually just like being a salesperson. It's exactly like being a salesperson, the entire month. You're just like, on the ragged edge, right? Until the 30th on the very last day of the month. And and it could you don't know what's gonna, what's gonna happen, like, you don't know what's gonna happen. And you're and then when you when you celebrate, you celebrate. But then it's the first of the month and you're back to

JJ Parker  3:58  
the very next day, right.

Melissa Albers  4:01  
The very next day, you're back to zero. Well,

JJ Parker  4:05  
I think it's really interesting to talk about outcomes and your expected outcomes. Right? Yeah. Because, like, my experience, and in just simply playing the game of tennis is a lot of times when I go back for those kinds of shots, and I have these expectations, they almost never come true. Right? And sometimes, yeah, when I go and hit a ball, and I have no expectation it works out. Well. So I like better most of the time, which is weird.

Melissa Albers  4:40  
Yeah, yeah. I yeah, I think that I think that what we're talking about here is outcomes and expectations and the combination they're up. And I think like for me because I too am a really competitive person. Not in tennis. I'm not a good tennis player in sales. sales. Like, really bad, not, maybe maybe getting a little more relaxed in my, in my advanced age. But early on that I would really set such extremely in such extreme expectations for certain outcomes. And when they didn't happen, it would be devastating. Mm hmm. Like I would be so emotionally rot over not getting what I had in my mind pictured was an absolutely sure thing. Yeah. And I always say now, like expectations are resentments waiting to happen. One of my coaches used to say that to me, Susan, and, and I just at first, I would be like, I don't like when she says that. However, it's so true. Like, a lot of times we set ourselves up, you know, where we just get like, super interested in something like super. We just play it in our minds over and over again, we don't, we're not really checking in with ourselves, we're just in our own heads like, this is gonna happen. And we get all this energy and momentum going, and then boom, nothing. It doesn't work. And we're just just kind of devastated.

JJ Parker  6:08  

Melissa Albers  6:10  
So I think that that, you know, like, as you're talking about outcomes, it's like those are there's like certain outcomes that we do try to plan all the time. And I think we don't even really realize that we're doing that a lot of the times.

JJ Parker  6:23  
Yeah. The other thing I think is interesting about outcomes, is a lot of times we set them, right, I think this is going to happen. Yeah. But the amount of control you have over those things is really low. Right? Yeah. Like I see that in a work context, a lot like, Okay, we've got this whole plan, we expect this to happen. But then the amount of control we actually have over customers and the market and all these different moving parts is surprisingly low. So

Unknown Speaker  6:53  

JJ Parker  6:54  
when we don't maybe hit our mark, we blame ourselves, when in reality, there's so many other things happening there that that's kind of a misattribution.

Melissa Albers  7:04  
Oh, that's so true. I do a lot of strategic planning with my clients. And I'm just like, kind of thinking about what you're talking about right now. Because we're just coming off of strategic planning season where everybody is trying to get their whole game plan set for their company for the next year. And sometimes even further out than that. And you're right, like now we're talking about expectations of whole groups of people, and expectations and outcomes based on what feelings Yeah, ideas. Theory. So why is it that we were there's such a, why is it that we have such a strong need to set really strong outcomes? And how disappointing it is when we don't hit them? Isn't that an interesting thing?

JJ Parker  7:52  
It is interesting. It makes me think about the idea of an outcome. Maybe versus a dream or a fantasy? Or, like a really grand plan. Right? Yeah. Because you know, it my tennis does have like expected to hit the ball. Super awesome. And when the point, right, yeah, but yeah, that's pretty like simple. Yeah, simple expectation.

Melissa Albers  8:22  

JJ Parker  8:23  
I've only hit 40,000 of the same ball. This one just happened to go into the net. But then we have other expectations, like I expect to be retired by the time I'm 50. Or I expect, people, I bet I expect my children to behave in a certain way

Melissa Albers  8:41  
I expect it to happen. I expect to go into target and buy the three things that I went in there to buy. And that's it.

JJ Parker  8:51  
So expectations are kind of like a continuum. There's some like real just like, on the ground kind of expectations, right? Yeah. And then there's really big expectations, which almost move into something more like a fantasy, right? Like, yeah, like you maybe are just wishing or hoping something's gonna happen.

Melissa Albers  9:11  
Yeah, I think it's interesting to bring in the whole notion of the self awareness journey, right? In this point, though, you know, as we're talking about, like setting expectations in our brain, there has to be a connection, right? between how you feel about something as you're setting that target and what that outcome should be. Like, you know, there's, there's got to be a feeling check in there. Like, sometimes we create these wild things in our head, like you're saying the word fantasy, and that's true. And then we actually know that they're not going to be we're not gonna be able to hit them. Like we know that and yet we force feed ourselves this idea that, well, if we just try harder, yeah, we can. Like we're in our heads a lot. It's like we're in our heads a lot.

JJ Parker  9:59  
Well, But it's, it is the idea. Okay. So like this idea that we have these expectations if they, if we don't meet them, we, you know, get upset, we judge ourselves about them. But then setting those expectations, you have to be realistic about it. Mm hmm. Right. Right. And where that line is for different peoples is, is interesting because like in one way, like what you're saying is like, hey, if I expect nothing, yeah, happen, nothing good. Nothing, just nothing good. Passive about everything. Yep. Well, the fear is that then I'll never achieve anything.

Melissa Albers  10:42  
Yes. Right. Yeah, that would be I think

JJ Parker  10:44  
our cultural fears like, Hey, if you're not setting goals, if you're not really reaching for the stars, and right, you know, you're not going big, then you're not going to achieve anything. And I don't know that that's true. Actually, I know that that's not true.

Melissa Albers  10:59  
Right, right. It's all the relationship with our own internal. It's our own. It's our own makeup, though, isn't it? It's like, it's our own expectations of ourselves as we're pushing these outcomes out. And how many times are we setting these outcomes and expectations? Because we care about what other people see?

JJ Parker  11:19  
Yeah. Oh, that's true. That's a really good point. It's more like an external thing. And then an internal thing,

Melissa Albers  11:25  
right? And and I think what happens then a lot of the times as we start to try to really control like, we're trying to control everything in that way again, and we just know, there's really no such thing as controlling a lot of those outcomes. There really isn't we really feel like there is, if we just push harder if we just think about it more if we just do more planning, if we just force people into thinking the way that we think or we sell people on the way we want this to look, then we can really manually get there.

JJ Parker  11:57  
Yep. Yeah. You said another thing that's really interesting about external, right. Didn't it made me think of last weekend, we watched The Breakfast Club? Oh, my God,

Melissa Albers  12:09  
I love that. course I do. Do I remember it? Silly.

JJ Parker  12:15  
And the whole thing, I was one of the things about The Breakfast Club movie is that, like, they're all stereotypes, obviously. Right? Yeah. And they're all expected to think and behave in a particular stereotypical way. Yeah, you know, you've got the jock and the nerd. And yeah,

Melissa Albers  12:33  
yeah. The God girls, right. They

JJ Parker  12:36  
got like, I've got them all there. And they all expect they're all expected to act the same way. No. Moral, I guess, of The Breakfast Club is that, that they don't like they don't have to, they can break those expectations. Right.

Unknown Speaker  12:48  
Yeah. Which,

JJ Parker  12:50  
yeah, that is interesting. And so but you can see in that movie that even those characters, they feel pressure to stay in their expectation,

Melissa Albers  13:00  
should they should do self self pressure, as well as social pressure. Yep. Yeah, that's really interesting. You know, we're talking a lot about, you know, our own what we expect for expectations, like positive or negative, like, they happen, they don't happen or outcomes that we want are achieved or not achieved. But then, and we have a certain relationship inside of ourselves with that with those things. But then, what about outcomes that happen to are around us? That we didn't even know was a were a thing.

JJ Parker  13:36  
Yeah. Well, so let's let's chat about this very project, the self awareness journey, because, yeah, you and I, in the last podcast, we talked about our startup core ology that we had a few years ago, right? Yep. And I bet if we go listen to that, all we're going to hear is a whole ton of expectation. thing was gonna be

Melissa Albers  14:02  
Yeah, right. Yes, exactly.

JJ Parker  14:04  
So when you and I came together again, to work on the self awareness journey, yeah. We sat down and we were so intentional, intentional about the expectation, right?

Melissa Albers  14:17  
Yes. And we were

JJ Parker  14:20  
specifically not like, Hey, what's our big grand expectation of this project? It was all around, staying extremely grounded. Yes. Say, Hey, we have no expectation, right? Are we're gonna make some podcasts. We're gonna see what happens, right? We're gonna make some videos. We're gonna see what happens. We're not putting expectations and then as soon as you and I got into our business, see person planning mode? Yeah. Where we started putting, yeah, expectations on the whiteboard. Yeah. All the energy shut down.

Melissa Albers  14:51  
Yes, immediately.

JJ Parker  14:54  
That's why earlier I was saying that, that you don't have to have big grand plans in order to create great work or produce? Yeah, right.

Melissa Albers  15:07  
Yeah. And you know, in expectations like social pressure expectations, as soon as our circles of influence heard that we were working on something together, boom, everybody started asking questions, what are you going to do what's happening? Like, because they know what kind of stuff we make. And I think there's a huge expectation around that. And, and we hired a publicist, the publicist is like, well, what's your goal? And we're like, well, we don't we don't have. We just want to gain we just want to gain a tribe of like minded people. That's really what we want. And she's like, Uh, huh. Give it but what what are you gonna do that? We're like, we don't know.

Unknown Speaker  15:43  
I don't know.

Melissa Albers  15:46  
And that was not Yeah,

JJ Parker  15:47  
just as,

Melissa Albers  15:48  
and that wasn't a popular answer. It's never a popular answer.

JJ Parker  15:51  
No, no, yeah. What I told, told some of my business colleagues about this project, the first thing Oh, you guys are starting a business? No, we're not starting a business. It's not business. We don't.

Melissa Albers  16:02  
We don't know. And we keep saying we keep saying it's not a business. This is our project. We're having fun. And we're really,

JJ Parker  16:09  
she'll understand. Well, so to me, as an artist, when I know I want to create something, the act of creation, right? Yeah, those expectations are really hard on ours. They're really hard on the art of creation, because you get so in your head about what you think something shouldn't be. Yeah, that it pretty much cripples you, right?

Melissa Albers  16:37  
Yep. Yes. And if one little bead is off, then it seems like it should be scrapped, or it's a failure.

JJ Parker  16:44  
Yeah, I, I did a lot of volunteer in the elementary school, as my kids were going through in art, right. And the kids, the kids would do these projects, and then they they'd mess it up a little bit. And they'd be so devastated. Because they all I screwed it up, and they'd crinkle up the entire piece of paper. And it was always so heartbreaking. And I'd always tell the kids, there's no wrong way to do art. Sometimes those mistakes are the best thing that could have happened. Yeah. To your piece art.

Melissa Albers  17:14  
Yeah, it's really true. You know, I really like this idea of staying in the energy of creating it instead of instead of pushing your energy towards its conclusion. because it keeps the energy more open, right. It's like it allows movement, it allows for all sorts of unintended consequences and outcomes, as well, like we just had this week. Mm hmm. What the exact same thing as you're talking about the self awareness journey, you and I have have been building this wonderful thing for us to learn from and hoping that other people can learn to, and really focusing on individual development, like this is a really this is for us, like you and I this is for us as for other people. And we've been focusing on it that way, when suddenly we got approached by one of our corporate clients, and they said, We love this work. We want you guys to curate a whole corporate plan around the self awareness journey for us.

JJ Parker  18:25  
I know there's a blue like, like, Hey, we're sitting down to do the podcast, then all of a sudden, yeah, like, yeah, hey, wait, this thing just happened? Like, what are you even talking about? I

Melissa Albers  18:34  
know. So like there's an outcome we had absolutely no plan about, we had no intention. And yet, what a beautiful outcome and what a beautiful idea. So we were just like, rock sideways about that outcome. And because it came in, and we hadn't even considered we hadn't considered that.

JJ Parker  18:54  
Yep. So two things about that particular incident for me, as I call it, it is like an awesome thing that speaking of that horrible accident, huge opportunity fell in our lap. There's two emotions that I felt like first I was, you know, obviously, like really excited and proud of the work we're doing like, wow, someone noticed they Yeah, yeah, resonates with them. They want to do it. And then my second wave was like, oh, now, now we actually have to make something. Yep. For somebody. or money.

Melissa Albers  19:36  
Yeah, x. Yeah, right

JJ Parker  19:37  
there. That last word. is the expectation is like, wait, no, our project doesn't have expectations around it. Yeah. That's part of its magic.

Melissa Albers  19:46  
We had an he had a day and a half of being time is.

JJ Parker  19:50  
Yeah, we couldn't do any like we were just completely

Unknown Speaker  19:53  
Yep. Yeah. I

JJ Parker  19:54  
stopped like in our tracks. Yeah. Like it was. It was. It was amazing to be Mike observe,

Melissa Albers  20:01  
I would say we weren't stopped in our tracks, what we actually did is we left the trail that we've been on, and we tried to find the corporate development trail, like we had done in the past. And we did a whole try to do a whole planning session. And we just got, we just got over our skis in expectation and a little bit of stress. Mm hmm. You know, because we immediately went into weight, all of our energy around this, oh, my gosh, we must be wrong. Because look at someone else loved it. We should, we should change everything. And then after, and then we kind of got over that, like, give it took about a day and a half. But we got over it. And then we were like, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. And you had framed it in a really different way. And then we were like, kind of back on we were back on and and what's so wonderful about this, too, is not only this client have interest in it, but this client had interest in it fast. Like so there wasn't a there's not a lot of time for us to wander around and create more expectations and to create, you know, strong concerns for outcomes not being perfect, but there just isn't time for that. And that's actually helping us stay open in the mind of the creation.

JJ Parker  21:17  
Yep. Yeah, so that I like the idea that even if something unexpected in a positive way, happens, it still knocks you off balance for a little while. Yeah. Right.

Melissa Albers  21:30  
Yeah. Yeah. And and I think, you know, if we're honest, I think that when an unexpected outcome comes to us in in this case, it was it was a beautiful, really awesome one. It the energy that kind of rocked us was we did not have the control, we did not push that expectation. We didn't push that outcome at all. That outcome was a natural byproduct of some of the other things that we had done, but we weren't thinking about that. So we felt out of control. Mm hmm. We felt out of control.

JJ Parker  22:06  
So if other people's expectations of us, make us feel like we're not in control, I think about that, how often does that happen? To you? Just on a personal level? Yeah, everyday, we're talking about a big project here. But if you just bring that down to like, I know, other people expect me to act in a certain way. I don't or I don't want to, or I don't like the expectation of that.

Melissa Albers  22:36  
Yeah. It's, it's that's real. We all have that. We all have that. And I think as we've been talking in previous podcasts, we talk a lot about validation, getting validation, external validation. Well, that's, it's right here, isn't it? It's like, I expect you to do this for me. And if you do this for me, then I will validate you and say, good job. Thank you for being a part of this house. Thank you for being a part of this work team. And there it is, it is a it is a really interesting thing to think about other people's expectations on the front end of that, and what does that do to you? What does that

JJ Parker  23:19  
mean? And sometimes if someone expects something of me, and then I don't do it, then I feel guilty. Yeah, right. Yeah. And there's the judgment part.

Melissa Albers  23:30  
Yeah, or shame. I always do that. Why can I never? Yeah.

JJ Parker  23:36  
Why can't I ever put the dishes in the dishwasher?

Melissa Albers  23:41  
Why can't I have a conversation? Why can't I ever shut the cupboard door all the way?

Oh, this is interesting. This is an interesting topic topic to talk about what we believe our expectations for ourselves and for things that we're a part of and, and how we try to muscle and control outcomes of things. And sometimes they're really not the right outcomes. And we know they aren't, but we still push them because we feel like we're supposed to have some sort of expectation in the queue or we're not producing. And then we have outcomes that happen to us that are so unexpected. And that rocks us too because we haven't been in our minds trying to control all of that. It's very interesting to think about that in the day to day just in living day to day just straight up regular living.

JJ Parker  24:35  
Yeah. And so maybe we just adjust that everyone tried to relax some of those expectations, right? Yeah, not saying like, don't do anything. Don't sit on the couch all day, but like, just to like release some of your expectations and just see, yeah, where life takes you.

Melissa Albers  24:54  
Yeah, and I even think like take out a sheet of paper and and like, take your own inventory like What expectations are you living with? That you're creating? And and are they right for you? Like, do they feel right? Even like, do they exist? Or are they just existing in your picture of your brain but not not about you in your feelings, you know that you're never, like, I'm gonna lose 20 pounds by Christmas, you know, stuff like that. It's like, those things sit in the background, and they constantly play that tape over and over again. And we know in our hearts that it's not likely that's going to happen, or it's not really actually meant for us, but we just continually play those loops over and over again, creating even stronger and stronger expectations. So then when the outcome isn't that we feel really bad. So it'd be interesting just to take your own. You know, think about what kind of thing that you normally expect in your life and just check in with yourself. Are they really right and I like what you said it's like, it's perfectly fine. To take your foot off the gas a little bit. It's perfectly fine to do that and not not push yourself. So hard.

Discussed in this episode

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Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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