Awhile back, I had an enlightening experience with a local spa and wellness center that reminded me again of the importance of being clear in your wishes. A friend had given me a wonderful gift to pamper myself with relaxation and renewal. I called to set up the appointment, excited at the prospect of a fresh look. Do I dye? Highlight? Lowlight? Perm? So many choices, so unprepared to make decisions. I made the mistake of saying the forbidden phrase: "Oh, I don't know. You're the professional! I'd like you to recommend what to do."

Of course, I got exactly what I asked for--everything. I walked in for the hair appointment to find that the plan had changed to include a facial, a massage and makeup. Apparently, I really needed "the Works."Everything was wonderful, relaxing and unforgettable. However, had I given it some more thought and clarified my objectives, I could have gone back several times to enjoy the experience instead of in one swift (and overwhelming) occasion.

I use my folly to illustrate that it is imperative to know what you want from your landscaper, your designer, and your overall project. Things you don't want to deal with like

  • Budget
  • Maintenance demands
  • Final Outcome

Taking the time to know what you are looking for and expecting takes the disappointment out of the equation. A great project tends to feel overdone if you have exceeded what you thought was reasonable to spend. A project not taken up to the level of perfection that you expect, even though it stays under budget, will also leave you feeling less than satisfied. Either way, you can avoid these common pitfalls by taking a few minutes to discern your true intent and scope: is it a specific hairstyle or is it an open-ended 8 hour day at the spa? Save yourself the disappointment (and expense).

Don't expect the "professional" to make you happy . . . only you know what you really want or expect.