“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” – Attributed to Archilochus, Greek soldier, circa 650 B.C.
One of the neat outcomes of these notes is that through the years of writing them and reading them, we refine our joint understanding of how best to think, believe, and work together. So, colleagues reach out often to share a quote, confirm an understanding, or reveal an insight. I frequently share them.
The quote above was sent by Al Holland. I’ve had the privilege of working with him for more than 35 years. Believe me, when I tell you that much of what I believe and understand about business success, leadership, and organizations have come from experiences where Al has been present.
First, this quote doesn’t diminish expectations. They are powerful factors in success. They clarify destinations and goals. They set standards. They drive ambition. They identify values that are important.
But expectations remain mere thoughts until you back them up with work. Effort. Practice. Learning.
You put your expectations to the test with your effort, not your thoughts. You find out what you know and what you need to know. You find out what you can do and what you can’t.
As you test your expectations, possibilities become realities. Progress builds on progress. Confidence grows as you begin to understand that goals backed up by hard work are a repeatable process that yields results.
Whatever your expectations are, the world keeps coming at us. The opportunities, the challenges, and the pressure are always present.
Archilochus reminds us that expectations get pushed aside in the press of daily events. They may have helped in our preparation, but how we do today has everything to do with our training up to now.
Our goal is to get better each day, so our expectations can be fulfilled. Be one who matches high expectations with an even greater desire to put in the work.