Friday, December 10, 2010

Managing Expectations

Monkey + Seal hold ourselves up to high expectations. While this is usually a good thing to strive and work and bust your behind to make it to the top, it's always a good thing to make a clear distinction in what expectations you hold to yourself. That distinction is doing your absolute best, and doing your best given the circumstances.

The difference is that your absolute best is probably a near-impossible level of work to keep up with any sort of consistency. If you were doing your best 100% of the time, you wouldn't have time to eat, sleep, or do anything that is remotely relaxing. Your stress levels would be so high you wouldn't be digesting your food (assuming you ate anything). It's an unrealistic expectation.

This is not to say that you shouldn't try, or that you shouldn't push yourself. Especially with working with clients and deadlines, sometimes you do have to push past what you think you can do and do that 30-hour day, or finish those five paintings in twelve hours. However, when you work yourself that hard, you're going to burn out. The crash isn't fun, and the whole experience generally isn't that fun either.

What you should aim for is that you do your very best given the circumstances. If you forgot the box of your highest selling comic and only brought the old stuff that no one buys, you can't expect to do the sales that you would have. But, you can do your very best given the circumstances and figure out how to sell what you do have. Or you can lose an hour of sales to leave and go get the comics. Or you could buy some paper and a pen and start selling one-of-a-kind comics that you draw there and then.

Basically, while we strongly promote setting lofty goals and expectations, make sure you realize that sometimes life doesn't always work out the way you want it to, but you shouldn't let those bumps derail you. Do not let missing a mark end your career. Use the missed goal as a learning experience, and as long as you did the best you could given the circumstances, you can walk away knowing that you did all that you could.

No comments: