By Laura Rose, The “Practice” Coach

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Technique for accepting nothing less than you expect.

The old adage “You get what you expect” or at the very least “You get what you allow” is very accurate. I had a few situations this past week that reminded me to clarify then simply stick to my expectations.

Background on Situation 1: As a social dance instructor, I choreograph dances for various occasions like weddings, parties, talent shows, and special events. The last two seasons, I was asked to choreograph for a middle school choir. Although I have published rates for my choreography, I was very generous and gave this middle school choir director 45% discount on my choreography and lesson time. Their group won first place in one category and second place in another category of the county’s Pieces of Gold competition. This made the director very pleased and very excited to meet with me over the summer to discuss new songs and choreography for the next year.

For some reason, setting up the meeting was very difficult. We played phone tag several times. Then we were struggling to find a convenient time to meet. For me, when things are meant to be, they just fall into place. Since this was not falling into place for me, I was uneasy. So I stopped to consider why? What is missing?
I realized that I had not taken the time upfront to understand the expectations.


1) Clarify what I really want
a. I want my time and talent to be fully appreciated and valued.
b. It’s obvious that my skills are valuable and proven. Their team won a several divisions in their county competitions and took their performances on the road.
c. Dance choreography and practice sessions are part of my business. I want to be paid appropriately for my talent, skill and time.
d. I have already given them a large discount on my rates for the regular school year.
e. Since my value has been proven, I’m not inclined to give more of my time away.

2) Identify what the other person had intended or what he/she expected from the interaction
a. I need to clarify what his expects from these summer planning meetings.
b. If he was going to pay me for my time and talent, I would be happy to meet him at his convenience.
c. If he has no intention of paying for my time and talent, I have identified a gap.

3) If your needs and their expectations do not match, be willing to walk away.

Once I was able to identify the resistance in me, I was able to ask the director the right question. He then informed me that he was not intending to pay me for my summer planning and choreography time. Once he understood my expectations, he then said that he would have to re-evaluate how he wanted to proceed.


Do I feel bad that I won’t be working with him this summer for free? Not really. Whether in personal relationships or in business, we need to clearly articulate our boundaries. If we’re feeling resentment or frustrated in something, take the time to clearly articulate what you want from this interaction. And, if what you want and what the other person is willing to provide does not match, be willing to walk away. It’s simply not a good match at this time.

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