Our own expectations hit the hardest.

As you move along through the start of your career journey, I bet you have an ‘ideal’ picture of what the next few years look like, right?

Whether that’s maintaining a certain GPA; passing all of your subjects; landing an internship; managing a side hustle; working on your networking skills, being on the executive team of your university club; graduating … the list goes on.

We ALL have expectations of ourselves – and so we should – because they go hand in hand with our goals!

The important thing to remember from the stage you’re at now, and as you move ahead, is that not everything will fall into place exactly as you planned it. In fact, sometimes your expectations and the reality (outcome) of a situation will be completely different.

The success of your ability to bounce back, change gears or do a u-turn all depends on your attitude!

Note: This isn’t about preparing yourself to ‘fail’, this is about perspective, and becoming a stronger professional by being able to adapt to any situation thrown at you.

Let’s talk about Katie – a final year Business Student, aiming for a 6.5 GPA.

Katie has absolutely worked her butt off for the last 3 years during her degree. She’s attended all the lectures, tutorials, been an active business society member, has volunteered at industry events and has a solid list of internships that have given her an experience-edge over her peers.

However, despite her extra-curricular activities, Katie has convinced herself that the only true reflection of her success will be graduating with a GPA of 6.5.

Have you spotted the pain point in this story?

Regardless of what Katie graduates with – she is only measuring her worth as a graduate by her GPA. If say, Katie happens to graduate with a lesser GPA, I think it’s fair to say her confidence and self-worth may take quite a hit.

But that’s only because Katie has put that expectation on herself … without considering the bigger picture.

First of all, I’m not discrediting the importance of a GPA at all! And for some career paths, they are a factor taken into account in your job application. But I want you to realise that you need to maintain perspective and a ‘broad picture’.

Throughout your career journey, you will have fluctuating short-term goals, long-term goals, priorities and opportunities. Try not to sweat the small stuff.

Katie’s value as a graduate is strong, not only because she has a studious attitude, but her skills toolbox contains motivation, grit, interpersonal skills and pride (just to name a few). You can possess ALL of these, regardless of your GPA … and you can tout them just as strongly in a job interview.

Here’s 5 things to consider when placing expectations on yourself:

1 //Whatever happens, it will not be the end of your career journey.

2 // There is always a side door to an opportunity that you may not initially qualify for i.e. if you don’t ask you’ll never know.

3 // The most successful people you know, have taken the hardest hits, and survived.

4 // If it’s not a win, it’s a lesson and it WILL help build your resilience.

5 // Place the biggest stress you have in your life, right now, into the ‘bigger picture’ … where does it sit now? Shave 10% of the expectations you’re placing on yourself to allow for breathing room!