The expectations we set for ourselves can be more unforgiving that those others set for us. Oftentimes this can be good for us as we push ourselves further in our careers, exercise routines or other competitive situations.
This is true for me as well. Regardless of what sort of personality assessment I take, if there’s a measurement for “competitive,” it’s usually off the charts. The thing that’s interesting is that when people find this out about me they are usually surprised.
This is likely because my competitiveness doesn’t always show. If you and I were in a race or working together or playing a game, I would likely not be competing with you. I’m competing with myself. I’m constantly comparing the success I have now to successes in my past in just about everything I do.
Why am I telling you this?
How this translates is that my expectations for myself get higher and higher (at least that’s the goal!) and subsequently I am harder and harder on myself regarding the level of success I should achieve. And that can be incredibly difficult to maintain.
It doesn’t matter if I’m canning vegetables, getting a review score, or playing Solitaire on my phone, I want every batch, every review, every game to be better than the one before. That can be pretty exhausting.
The good news is that I know this about myself. Intellectually I know that every outcome can’t be better than the last. I’m able to remind myself of this when my expectations aren’t met which helps me move on to the next goal.
So set those expectations high but remember that there’s likely a point where achieving better results every time simply isn’t possible. When you miss the high bar that you set, recall your long-term ambitions and remember that over time you are improving as you continue to set high expectations for yourself.