Creative people are often faced with boundaries and the difficulties that lie within the expectations of those boundaries. We often scoff at any idea of creativity sprouting out of confined boundaries, but then we are reminded of the visual illustration of the flower budding from out the cement cracks — and how that flower not only represents the idea of something, but the idea itself — confirming the belief that there are few things that are more delicate and yet more powerful than an idea.
It is our creative ideas that build, shape, influence, and most importantly inspire. That is why we protect and nurture our ideas — because ideas in its infancy can be polluted, neutralized and never reach its full potential.
Several years ago I was hired to work on a very exciting freelance project for a company in New York. Unfortunately the agency I was working for at the time went on a series of pitches that forced me to work four consecutive weekends, preventing me from making any significant progress. The client became frustrated and was no longer interested in designing a stunning masterpiece, but was now only concerned about meeting their fast-approaching deadline. I labored all night coming up with ideas and concepts to present the following day only to be disappointed with my final results. I emailed the concepts to the client attached with a sorrowful explanation, ashamed that I was unable to produce the caliber of work that I had proudly built a reputation for.
Later that day I received a call from the client expressing how excited they were with all of the ideas that I presented. “WOW!” I could not believe the concepts that I was so dissatisfied with could have excited and inspired someone. At that very moment, I realized that it was not the expectation that the client placed on me, but the true value was in the expectation that I placed on myself. Although my personal expectations were not met, I still exceeded the client’s expectations. In spite of the fact that I was only able to spend a short amount of time on the assignment, I pushed myself, working relentlessly to develop the best ideas within that timeframe.
We have an important responsibility as creatives to challenge and push expectations. Our personal expectations for our work must always be higher than the clients’ expectations — because that is where “value” lives. Value does not dwell within the scope of work, but outside the scope of work.
Our greatest advancements in society has always been created when someone decided that they no longer wanted to live within the expected, but into a breadth more challenging and innovative; teaching us that our ideas must expose, enlighten and engage.
It would be awfully problematic to produce value for others if the expectations you place on yourself are deficient. Never view an expectation as pressure — but the confidence through unlimited possibilities to surpass a promise.
Rise Forward shared quote:
“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.”
– Ralph Marston
Rise Forward Verses:
- It is my own eager expectation and hope, that (looking toward the future) I will not disgrace myself nor be ashamed in anything, but that with courage and the utmost freedom of speech, even now as always, Christ will be magnified and exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. – Philippians 1:20 AMP
- Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
– Matthew 5:16 NKJV
- Know that (skillful and godly) wisdom is (so very good) for your life and soul; If you find wisdom, then there will be a future and a reward, And your hope and expectation will not be cut off. – Proverbs 24:14 AMP