This year I encourage you to manage your expectations. Yes Expectations!! Expectations are beliefs that a certain outcome or event will happen. Expectations creates stress and anxiety and may not be good going into 2019. Do you remember a time when you felt disappointed, when you did something great for someone you worked so hard either to get them a great gift, or finished a project on time, or even cooking them their favourite meal? And after all that hard work you got blown over, feeling unappreciated ? You felt angry, how dare they do that to you, where was the appreciation? They didn't react as you anticipated, they failed to live up to your expectations, but that isn’t their fault. The expectations were yours.
We’ve all had similar experiences, whether or not we realized at the time that expectations were the culprit. But you can manage the expectations that could arise in your life, so that your aren’t affected by their consequences. There are two ways that expectations can shackle you...it’s time to delve deeper into each of them!
The first type of expectations is when you have expectations of others, the second Is when others heap expectations upon you.
Knowing each of these potential pitfalls, and more importantly how you can avoid them, is a life skill that will serve you well as you go through your day, from business to family and everything in between. Once you being to recognize them, you’ll be surprised at how often throughout your day expectations are at play.
Once we understand that your own expectations are nothing more than your best guesses sculpted into theory. These best guesses are really at their core our deeply held opinions mixed up with a big dash of hope.
When in doubt, ask a question....ask what it is they want or need in any particular situation. It’s so easy to assume that your spouse is going to want their favorite meal for their birthday dinner. But really they might just want to take a quiet bath.
It’s easy to assume your assistant knows exactly to whom you want your memo emailed; but they might send it to the wrong department. Save yourself time and effort; ask in advance.
Realize that removing expectations, is not only wise, but kind.
Being misunderstood never feels good. Human beings, really thrive on feeling that they are connected with others. When expectations are projected onto others, the consequences can be very uncomfortable when the assumptions fail and they feel that they’ve not lived up to...well, expectations.
Enjoy what your life looks like today.
This isn’t about expectations of others; this is about having expectations of yourself. All too often we compare ourselves to others and fall short in one way or another. Then roll in those fantasies and dreams that really are just expectations in disguise, “As soon as I get that raise, I’ll be happy.” “Once we’re married, I’ll feel content and like my life has really begun.” “All I need to be fulfilled is x, y, z.” Nope. Revel in the day you have today. Don’t mistake expectations for goals. Goals are fabulous and as a coach I’m all for them; in contrast, expectations just make people feel bad.
Managing other's expectations is bit more difficult than managing your own expectations . But you can do it, and it is absolutely worth investing your time and energy into. How? By being proactive in key areas. Communicate like crazy. Over-communicate with others outside of work as inside. Just like you want to let others know what your boundaries are, what your plans are and your preferences, it is important to share all these things and more with your friends and family. If no one knows how to please you, then everyone loses. If Aunty Marjorie knows when you are coming to visit and exactly how long you will stay, then she is less likely to anticipate you staying longer and feeling hurt when you leave. Knowing where your friends and family stand on certain issues and their core beliefs can help you have compassion for and communicate better with them. Once you understand the role of expectations in your everyday interactions, you’re well on your way. Remind yourself...goals are not the same as expectations! Goals are concrete based upon reality and facts, expectations are beliefs based upon hope and opinions. Trade your expectations for appreciation. And if you’re up for a real challenge, try to take a whole day with no expectation, and respond to everything you possibly can with appreciation. It can be challenging, but it is also quite rewarding. Even if you mess up a few times, it will still be one of the best days of your life.