When I was going through professional freelance photography school back in 1980, my life was dramatically changed by a class in Positive Thinking. The course was 9 months long and at the beginning of the course we were told that a professional photographer could complete the final portfolio in 2 weeks. The positive thinking class happened early in the course and as a result of what I learned, I decided that I would wait until the final 2 weeks of the course to start assembling my portfolio. It was a make or break situation. If I completed the folio, I'd get my certificate. If I didn't complete the folio...no certificate. The work was hard but rewarding, and on the final due date I submitted my completed portfolio and received my certificate of completion and graduated. I was now a "Professional Freelance Photographer"...NOT!
Here I am 36 years later and I'm still learning different aspects of photography.
My take-away from the positive thinking class was PMA or Positive Mental Attitude and I apply it everything that I do. The main objective is to set a goal...and pursue it. The are no failures, just steps in the learning process.
My foray into ceramics happened at the prompting of an 87 year old ceramist whose bathroom I remodeled. She gave me a kiln and suggested taking a course through a local Learning Exchange, which I did. The instructor said that, over the span of the 6 week course we were expected to produce just four Items, primarily wheel thrown. He was astounded when I had completed 21 pieces. That was around 10 years ago. Since then I've aced Ceramics 1 & 2 at a local community college and have accumulated everything I need to make ceramics a paying hobby, including converting a small studio apartment into a pottery.
As for expectations...you can never shoot too high. With the right attitude, you will accomplish what is necessary to achieve your goal. It's just that some goals take longer than others to reach. Just saying...