A Lesson in Expectations – a Tulip Farm

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Do you set expectations? Of course you do, we all do.

Have you been disappointed by the expectations that you’ve set? I have! All the time!

If you’re here because you got my email about the tulip farm – awesome…thanks for clicking over for the “to be continued” story.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me recap.

My husband and I went to a Tulip Farm. I’ve really been missing the bright green hills of the Bay Area and all the poppy’s.  It’s gorgeous this time of year there. Being in Texas now…there is not much green.

So I’ve been hearing about this Tulip Farm in TX where you can pick your own tulips and I’m so excited.  Not even realizing, my expectation is that it’s going to Amsterdam. So many tulips, a sea of color.

This is literally my vision!

BUT…when we got there – it was definitely not what it looked like.

Yup – this is what I saw. Ummm, where the heck are the tulips? We just paid $10 ($5 per person) to see this? My expectations…my vision of a sea of color were squished like a bug. I started walking down the paths and started to see some color. A little bit of purple…a little bit of yellow. My heart started going pitter patter.

What I wasn’t told was this was the “START” of tulip season. The tulip farm had only been open for a day. This was their second day. There were LOTS and LOTS of tulip plants…they just hadn’t all bloomed yet. So many different varieties, they just hadn’t peaked through…yet.

I had fun picking the tulips and even got a small bouquet of them to bring home. They were much smaller than I expected.  There is that word again! When you buy tulips in the grocery store – they are at least 10″ tall if not more. These were not. I think the longest one was about 6″.

Thought you would enjoy this photo for scale. 😂 I’m enjoying my tulips. They said to come back in 2 weeks and I will see a sea of color because so many tulips will be in bloom.

Here is the deal – I will go back in two weeks, but I’m going to try my hardest not to have any visions of how it’s going to look. I’d rather be happily surprised.

The lesson in setting expectations?

If you’re so rigid in your expectation, you’re going to miss out on the potential delight, joy and learning. We could have turned around when I didn’t see all the tulips, just dirt and some green. I would have missed the small babies beginning to blossom. I would have missed talking to the owner about his tulips. This is his 8th season.

So yes, the tulip farm didn’t meet my initial expectation, but it was so much more. Adding laughter to conversations, pretty flowers on my island in the kitchen, a precious memory and something to look forward to in a couple of weeks.

How does this apply to events?

Here are just a couple of examples.

What a hotel looks like – that’s why you always do a site visit.
Have the flexibility to switch gears quickly and another example of expectations- here’s an example.

Now it’s your turn, do you struggle with setting expectations?


You explained everything tremendously fabulous. I loved reading it. I am sure that it will definitely help me.

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