I recall the boom days in telecoms in early 2000’s that we look back on with nostalgia and yet, at the time, I also recall the pressure to do better. Because the norm was almost exponential growth, even excellent growth was frowned upon as “not good enough”. One of the exciting things about business opportunity is there is no ultimate standard. This sense that the sky is the limit drives companies to achieve a lot more, with less, thus driving profits up higher and higher. Being a leader is tough as you have to balance your leading role, with your follower role. The follower role is the one where you are responsible to your bosses for their expectations of you.
Often these expectations are unbounded!
The expectations are based purely on a desire to do better and many targets have no objective science behind them to prove that they are realistic or even possible. We are driven harder and harder to achieve goals that may not even be possible. This the reality of our society so there is no point in challenging it, and it is this constant striving to do better, whatever the odds, that drives progress, so it not a bad thing. Nobody ever achieved great things by setting conservative, and realistic goals.
The main point here, is that when you are in the team that is delivering these results, expect that whatever you do, it is not going to be seen as good enough – especially at the time. Years later, you may get credit for what was achieved, but at the time all you can expect on your score card is “can do better”. Set your own personal scorecard of success to value your worth as an imperfect, fallible human being who is doing their absolute best. Results, not trying hard are rewarded, but your personal sense of satisfaction will be measured by what you have achieved, against your personal goals - with the cards you have been dealt – not necessarily by achieving the arbitrary external measures of success that have been provided to you.