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Last week, Southwest Airlines got voted best in customer service. The weird part is that Southwest does not have first class. It doesn’t offer meals on the flight. The only thing that is offered are cheap flights and free checked bags. Nobody who flies Southwest expects anything more.

Life is about setting expectations. People expect what is promised or at least people expect to be treated like they’ve been treated in the past. Managing expectations is one of the most important parts of life.

For example, if you tell a friend that you will call them on Thursday and you don’t call them until Friday, you might let down your friend. But if you call them on Wednesday, you might surprise them. Right now I am talking to colleagues and one of them said that he wants to talk every day, and one of them said that he can’t call me until early July. I get that both of them are busy, but I have different expectations of them. I hold the first friend to a higher standard than the second. In fact, I don’t hold the second to any standard until early July.

Lowered expectations are not always a good thing. In my case, growing up disabled, and still to this day, people don’t have much expectation from me. Although it’s fun blasting expectations, it’s also difficult at times because nobody has greater expectations for my life than I do. At times, it’s challenging to get motivated without external expectations. Even to this day people tell me I’m doing a great job and that I need to relax. It’s flattering, but there are times when I need people to say, Hey, work harder. You’re lazy. Let’s face it, nobody can be 100% self-motivated. No matter how self-motivated we are, there are times when we need external motivation such as a friend telling us that we’re not working hard enough.

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