Quality Blog

High Expectations

January 18, 2011
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The other evening I enjoyed re-watching the Charles Dickens’ classic “Great Expectations.” Pip, the main character in the story, had expectations of becoming a gentleman. An anonymous benefactor, Abel Magwitch the convict (not Miss Havisham), gave Pip the financial means to achieve his expectations BUT it was as much Pip’s decisions and his character which made him successful.

Much like Pip in the Dickens’ story, when you discover that you've exceeded your own expectations, don't be surprised or experience a “let down.” Instead be curious, and get a little more ambitious and aggressive.

After all, you've accomplished something beyond your expectations. Think of what else you could accomplish that you may have never before considered.

Even though it's great to succeed beyond your expectations, as Pip experienced, it can also be very uncomfortable. That discomfort can pull you back down, getting you to underperform in order to compensate for your recent successful performance.

Instead of giving in to the need to seek a comfort zone, get excited about what you've just accomplished. Instead of bowing to your previous expectations, choose to raise your expectations even higher.

You just didn't get lucky. To achieve your “great expectations,” you took the steps necessary to accomplish what you set out to and maybe more than you had expected.

Now you have an opportunity to build on those achievements. Step boldly forward, don't look back, and continue amazing yourself, and others, with all that you can do.

Pip achieved his “great expectations,” with assistance from others, but he achieved so much more. He became a gentleman but along this journey transformed into so much more. You can do the same.
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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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