Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Art Costello, Founder of The Art of Expectation, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I offer entrepreneurs and business owners a path to freedom and stressless entrepreneurship. Learning to manage the day-to-day expectations and challenges of owning a business will be the greatest lesson they could ever learn.
Tell us about yourself
Expectation Therapy was crafted on the basis of my own life events when I realized that we as human beings complicate life too much. I’ve learned that if we identify what we need to change, clarify it with certainty, then solidify it in our minds with actions, it will manifest itself in our daily living. My journey began at the age of nine when my family uprooted and moved from suburban New Jersey to a remote little town in upstate New York. There were no children living close by, just a mountain overlooking our new home so dilapidated and filthy that it was nearly unlivable. Without friends and feeling lost, I would trek up that mountain and collapse in the tall grass to feel the breeze gently blowing over me. There, I would stare up at the sky, wondering what was to become of me and what would my life would be like in the future. Thinking about my dad, who had just been hospitalized with a ruptured ulcer due to stress, doctors telling my mom they weren’t sure if he would pull through, and I wondered if I would ever feel safe again.
It was a conversation with God—searching for the Creator of the Universe—when I heard a voice speak to me in a way I had never experienced before. It told me that I would be okay and that if I remained faithful to stay the course, a beautiful future filled with good things would be mine. Just like in the movie Field of Dreams, the voice assured me that there was a greater plan in place. I just couldn’t see it. It was then that I realized in order to stay the course, I needed to be more than a passive spectator, but an active participant in moving forward. Soon, my dad recovered but was unable to find work. He moved to the big city sixty miles away, which added to my loneliness.With many journeys to my mountain top over the next few years, at the age of seventeen, I made a decision to join the United States Marines.
In 1965, I left that little town and all of its painful memories. Life in the Marines changed me from boy to man overnight. Soon, I was diploid to Viet Nam, and as dawn was breaking after a short-range night patrol, we came upon a shanty hut—an orphanage—surrounded by a wire fence. Through that fence, my eyes caught the gaze of a young girl staring into me. Youn was very small, but her haunting stare hit me like a cannon. A blast from the past! This little girl needed me, and I was going to do something to help her. When we got back to our compound, I approached the Chaplain to ask if we could have the orphans spend Thanksgiving dinner with us, and he arranged it.
When Thanksgiving Day arrived, little Youn found me immediately and ran into my arms. In the twinkle of an eye, my life was changed. I instantly realized that the world didn't revolve solely around me, but there was so much more. I had been self-centered and thoughtless. I thought I was the most important person in the world. Oh, how wrong I was. You taught me that a life filled with love and direction could quickly turn into satisfaction and achievement. Helping others always brings with it rewards and adds purpose to our lives. It fills us with compassion and purpose. If life is a work in progress, then the expectation is the seed from which it grows. Suddenly, things become clearer and more manageable. It creates a pathway to transforming your inner dreams into outward reality—your destiny.
In 2003, my wife of 33 years was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and fought heroically for three years. Several weeks before she passed, she told me, “Art, you’ve been so good to me over the years, and now I want you to find someone who needs and loves you as much as you have needed and loved me.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My wife was giving me permission to love another. I didn't want to believe it, but I realized she was giving me a gift. I can't imagine the strength it took to say those words to someone you love, but she did it. When she left us, it was a tremendous blow to our family and me. My children were devastated, and I was without the love of my life. Without her, I struggled to find a new sense of “normal,” but in the years of emptiness that followed, I began to make poor choices and behave in ways I confess I’m not proud of. I felt much like that 9-year-old little boy from so long ago—abandoned and scared. I finally ended up on my knees when I cried out to God for an answer. And again, I heard that same voice from inside saying, “Be faithful, stay the course, and all that I have for you will be yours.”
After 51 years of believing in that voice, I couldn’t deny it now. It was still true, and it rejuvenated me to start living again. I joined several dating sites but was disillusioned by the outcome. Still, I continued to press on in my quest to find love when one day, I came across a photo of a woman. Her eyes, her smile, and her inner brightness captured my attention. We began corresponding, and a year later, we were married. My prayers were answered, and God’s promise came to pass. I just had to stay the course. The key to living a happy and fulfilling life lies in the processing of our expectations. How we create this self-fulfilling prophecy starts with expectation!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think the biggest accomplishment has been watching all aspects of my business grow, revenue, employee development, and my own personal development.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Management of expectations is by far the hardest to control! One thing to remember is that everything starts and stops with an expectation, so management becomes paramount.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
5 Benefits of Expectation Therapy.
- You'll experience increased insights into the causes and effects of expectations on your daily life so you can live a life of your own creation.
- Your expectations influence your emotions, creating a better way to handle your expectations intelligently so you can identify the key factors that drive your actions.
- Your expectations influence your creativity and productivity so you can have focus and direction, which clear the path to a purpose-driven life.
- Your expectations can steer the course of your life so you can thrive in any situation living a fulfilling life.
- Your expectations create the life you desire, better relationships, better human communication, and higher levels of confidence and self-awareness.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Expectation transcends gender, religion, ethnicity, economic status, and physical abilities. Every one of us has the power to set high expectations, and in doing so, it helps us to blossom as individuals. Expectations can be our best ally or our staunchest critic. If we diminish or destroy someone’s expectations, then we undermine their potential. And if we continue to lower our expectations for ourselves, we soon deny our own higher purpose and passion. As a result, imagination and hope wither. We lose our motivation and drive to become something more. We must water the seeds of our dreams with high expectations in order for our creativity to flourish. It enables us to reach further, see clearer, move with determination, and ultimately accomplish what we long for.
We were designed to create. Now…
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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