Your Realistic Expectations are Unrealistic

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you bit off more than you could chew?  

Or had your expectations turn into more than you bargained for?  

When the opportunity to move Jacoby Expo to a convenient downtown location, it was too good to pass up.  

It was more than just expanding the business, it was a chance to set down roots in a city that held memories and possibilities.  

After realizing that the endeavor was an extensive undertaking, help was called in to help with the renovations.  

The project resulted in a beautiful and functional workspace.  It could have turned out differently had the expectations been unrealistic, but, thankfully, rational prevailed.  

When Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Stomach

Sometimes our eyes can deceive us and we don’t know when to stop and ask for help.  

We want to do it our way, even if it means doing it alone.  

And, in the meantime, rational goes out the window.  

That can be a problem, especially when you aren’t aware of it.  

If you don’t realize that your expectations are unrealistic, you could be setting yourself up for a world of disappointment.  

Failure to Launch

The job of a show manager is a demanding one; one that requires you to possess a wide range of skills and traits.  

An important trait a Show Manager should have is the ability to distinguish between realistic expectations and unreasonable ambition.  

Realistic expectations keep you on the right track while sticking to goals and priorities.  

A warning sign that you could slip into the realm of ill-conceived expectations is when something doesn’t make sense to you.  

If you don’t understand a certain process and can’t see how you are going to get from point A to B, it’s time to take a step back and bring in someone who has the experience and objectivity to help.

Bringing in a partner who has more experience does not mean you have failed.  On the contrary, it means that you are wise enough to acknowledge when you need help to keep you from failure.  


That is a sign of strength, not weakness.  

This partner can help you set goals so that you can avoid these mistakes:

  • Not understanding the goals of the show and not reading your audience correctly.
  • Being too optimistic.  An example of this would be renting two halls when you only needed one.
  • Not following a budget.  
  • Not selling out the floor.  
  • Unrealistic timelines on building structures.  There is a process involved, from making sure the drawings are precise and engineered properly, to negotiating for materials.  It’s a science and failure to understand what goes into that process can give you unrealistic expectations.  
  • Expecting immediate results.  
  • Thinking that you are the only client.  Rationally speaking, you know that you aren’t, but is it possible that your actions say otherwise?  Hawking over someone isn’t going to ensure that it’s done properly.  Patience coupled with it being done right, not rushed, is best.
  • Thinking that everyone is on call 24/7, 365 days a year.  Not that you would ever engage in that kind of thinking.    
  • You get pressure from everyone around you, from exhibitors, contractors, and clients.  Don’t fall into the trap of getting caught up in having to solve everyone’s issues right away.  Sometimes it is urgent, sometimes they just need to wait for the process to take place.  If an exhibitor has some adjustments that need to be made and is expecting you to wait around all day to make sure it’s done, you need to let them know how unrealistic that is.  You are not at everyone’s beckon call.  
  • Not trusting your partner can set your show up for failure.  Launch shows can be especially problematic since it’s harder to gauge expectations because you haven’t been through the experience yet.  Trust your choice in your partner and rely on their judgment to assist you.  

A Commonsense Approach

A commonsense approach to avoiding unrealistic expectations is to always think before you act.  Identify and set goals ahead of time so that you can be methodical in your strategy.  

A great tool to help you set and achieve goals while adhering to proper time management is the SMART method.  It’s an acronym that stands for:

  • S- Specific
  • M- Measurable
  • A- Achievable
  • R- Relevant
  • T- Time-based

Sticking to this method can be a great way to help you stay on track.  

While some have argued that this tool doesn’t allow for much flexibility, once you gain experience, flexibility and creativity will become second nature.  

As they say, Rome wasn’t built overnight.  

Start small and build on your experience and success.  

And if you run into a process that doesn’t make sense, ask for help.  

No one expects you to know everything.  

That would be too unrealistic 😉