Dear blog family, let's talk about EXPECTATIONS!!!
"Expectations" is a…I wish I could say 'little'…but it's actually a long word, that bears heavily on our dealings and relationships with others. Expectations also have a big impact on our happiness and overall mental state as leaders, which explains the need for us to check-up on them often.
Expectations usually project what we want, need or feel entitled to—from others, from life and from ourselves. The dictionary defines expectations as: "a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future." or "a belief that someone will or should achieve something."
Do you notice the commonality in both definitions? It's the word "belief".
Often we feel sucker punched in life because we have placed too much belief in a certain outcome which does not end up happening. For example,
- We belief that a business partner is going to include us in a lucrative deal. They don't. We feel let down and upset.
- We believe that somebody we have worked closely with will have "our back" and not throw us under the bus when our character is questioned. They fail to defend us; instead they side with our attackers. It stings. We feel hurt.
- We believe that our partner or spouse is going to do chores around the house. They are not inclined to. We become upset and resentful.
- We believe that somebody is going to love us and be there for us in a certain way. They do not, we get all emotional and hurt.
It was Douglas Adams who said, "A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment."
You see, you are hurt because you had certain expectations of other people. You expected them to act or react in a certain way. You expected a certain outcome, which did not pan out as you had envisioned, so it upsets you and throws off your energy…all of a sudden you find yourself in a negative state of being.
You start to quarrel with the person for "letting you down"; long drawn-out arguments over all the wrong they have done occur repeatedly; family members and friends get involved because you feel hurt, etc. Even then, you are still unable to control the situation or the person. If they are not interested, they are not interested.
You may have good reason to feel hurt or disappointed, you may be right that the person was wrong; however, this negative cycle is blowing up more and more dust and muddying up the waters around you and of your relationship to a point of total alienation.
They are only your expectations
Let's face it, you are disappointed because the other person did not live up to "your expectations"; you may even be trying to make them pay—you want to force them into fulfilling your needs or wants, or wish that they had. Be careful because you may actually end up morphing into a toxic person yourself – angry, controlling, and needy. It can be difficult and overwhelming. I know because I have been there.
- It helps to remind yourself that the main thing you have control over at this point is your expectations— trim them down, and readjust your beliefs toward that person (and the situation), keeping in mind that: "I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine." – Bruce Lee.
- Then decide how to move forward in a positive and productive way.
- Allow the person the freedom to move forward as they see fit…let them do their work on themselves, while you do yours on you.
Experience has thought me that a leader who is looking to function from a peaceful place needs to have higher expectations of themselves than of others, because we cannot control how others act toward us and we shouldn't even try to.
- You believe that you will pass all your school courses this semester. Expecting that of yourself, you work harder and you pass.
- You expect yourself to set boundaries that protect your dignity so others do not trample all over you, you do just that and feel more peaceful.
- You expect yourself to genuinely be supportive of your family and friends, you become that person.
- Your goal is to put together a team of quality individuals that have good energy and synergy. You keep an eye out for individuals who possess the qualities your team needs and invite them in. Your high standards as a leader guide you.
- You expect yourself to avoid negativity, so you minimize stressful interactions and become happier and more successful.
- You expect yourself to be a person of success, so you work hard and stay focused on your goals.
You see, having high expectations of yourself allows you to raise the bar as a leader and to operate within those high standards. Meanwhile your boundaries will determine what you tolerate or not tolerate, including who stays and operates in close proximity, and who does not.
There is nothing wrong with expecting love, loyalty, respect and understanding in life. However, we should avoid forcing people to give those to us, in a specific way that fits our desires because we "expect them to". Instead, we should expect ourselves to be all of those; for when we become loving, loyal, respectful and understanding, we become fulfilled and grounded in ourselves — and the right people are drawn to us and into our inner circle.
"When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are." – Donald Miller
"You can't expect everyone to have the same dedication as you." – Jeff Kinney