Focused Energy: When is it Too Much?
By Ann Golden Eglé

Imagine your partner focusing all of his energy on you, watching for constant
feedback, setting immensely high personal expectations to take care of you, sacrificing
himself to provide everything you need.  

While this may sound exciting short term, this intensely focused energy would grow
uncomfortable and boring long term.

Where's the intrigue? You are far too free-spirited to be watched this closely.  And,
without asking, how could he possibly know what is truly important to you?

This focused energy is what many of us believe we must give our patients, teams,
clients and customers.  We live this lie daily.  "They need me to take care of them and
their every need."  Those who rely on you need you to provide a specific service, not
sacrifice yourself.  This is as true for the leader of a corporation as it is for a parent.

How much focused energy is enough?  

Statements I've heard lately are: "My clients wear me out with their expectations of me.
 There's nothing left for me at the end of the day."  "My clients expect me to perform
miracles.  The problem is that in trying so hard, I make mistakes, which frustrates me,
causes guilt and resentment toward them."

Who is setting these expectations, you or your customer?  

Assuming what another needs from us is dangerous in any relationship.  This causes
all or nothing thinking, leaving no room for creativity, experimentation, even fun in
your relationships.  "Either I am all things to my clients or they'll leave me for someone
who is.  I will have failed."

Is it important to exceed our customer's expectations?  Absolutely, but not at a cost to
you!  The mastery is in creating a balance between their needs and your own.

In reality, is there anyone in your world whom you expect to sacrifice for you?  Do you
want a service provider to have sleepless nights over you?  Do you want anyone to
assume what you need?  Is that their role or is it yours to communicate this?  If they are
in doubt, wouldn't it be prudent to ask you rather than assume?

Why are we afraid to ask the question: "How can I best serve you?" "What part of my
service can be improved upon?" "Each year I like to reevaluate the service I provide.  
How can we make more money for all involved?"  Make your client accountable for
helping you grow and become better.  Take the pressure off  yourself.

I can assure you that their expectations of you are not nearly as high as the ones that
you've set upon yourself.  The struggle is in your mind, not in their unspoken word.
Even if there are no suggested changes, you've certainly communicated that you care.

Take a look at where you focus your own energy this week.  

Do you focus it upon unrealistic expectations?  Do you save some of that energy for
yourself?  How can you best serve 'you' in each interaction?  Perhaps choose your
battles?  Perhaps be very clear on the outcomes you seek with certain individuals or
situations?  Allow your learning to come, ask questions, and listen to the answers.

About the author: Fresh changes in your career will help you accelerate your success.  Enjoy
Master Certified Coach Ann Golden Eglé's weekly Success Thought for the Week as an aid to
success. You can sign up here: or email:

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